Praise for Bulldogs trio after GB exploits

GB’s Under-18 silver medallists in Istanbul, including Bulldogs’ Under-16s captain Jess Wooding. Picture: Ice Hockey UK Media.

HEAD coach Andy Brown has praised Bulldogs’ trio Jess Wooding, Lydia Lutwyche and Grace Cooper after their recent outings with Great Britain.

The trio have all excelled for the Bulldogs’ Under-16 and Under-18 teams during the regular season, but found themselves with some extra ice this summer when selected for national duty.

Under-16s captain for 2021-22 Jess found herself in Istanbul for the IIHF World Championships Division 2A championships competing with eight other teams, while Lydia and Grace were with the Under-16 team in Bristol playing in the British Women’s Ice Hockey Friendship Tournament against a host of other women’s teams from around the UK.

After convincing 6-0 wins over Turkey and Mexico in the initial group phase, they then fell 4-0 to Spain but recovered to beat the Netherlands 2-1 to book themselves a rematch in the final against Spain.

Sadly, they fell again to the same opponents, this time going down 3-1 to finish runners-up overall, with the gold medallists earning promotion for next year’s round of tournaments.

In Bristol, GB secured second place after an unbeaten run in the group phase across both days, posting with 16 points from 10 matches, with six wins and four ties.

Bulldogs’ duo Lydia Lutwyche (left) and Grace Cooper both excelled for the GB Under-16 Women’s team in Bristol.

It meant a semi-final against Nottingham, which after ending 0-0 resulted in a shootout in which GB prevailed thanks to goals from Kingston’s Meeyah Forbes and Bradford’s own Lydia Lutwyche.

The final with Bristol also produced a tie, this time 1-1, and it was the same shoot-out combination of Forbes and Lutwyche which ensured victory for GB.

Bulldogs’ head coach Andy Brown said the success of the past few days for the Bulldogs’ trio was fully deserved.

“All three girls have worked really hard in the past year or two to get to the level where they need to be at in order to be considered by the GB programme,” he said.

“Jess and her team-mates in the 18s were particularly unlucky to narrowly miss out on gold in Istanbul, but coming home with a silver medal is still a seriously great achievement and a reflection of how well they played overall. 

“Lydia and Grace thrived at the tournament down in Bristol, playing against several other women’s teams and more than holding their own. 

“It was great that Lydia scored the winning goal in that shoot-out to clinch the tournament, it must have been a great feeling. 

“Both Grace and Lydia will be hoping they can follow in Jess’s footsteps next season and maybe push themselves into contention for the 18s, too.

“All-round though, it’s been a great year for all three girls and what they have achieved makes the club very proud.”

Head coach Nicci Wardell, head coach of the GB Under-16 Women’s team, added: “The girls performed absolutely phenomenally well across the whole weekend.

“From what we expected from the weekend, we have well and truly exceeded the goal that we went to Bristol with and we are so proud of each and every one of them and it is brilliant for GB women’s hockey going forward.”