Holder plays her part as England U18 win bronze

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Little Wratting’s Lucy Holder admits she is still on cloud nine after helping England Under-18 Girls to bag a bronze medal at the EuroHockey U18 Championships in Ireland, writes Russell Claydon.

Holder made up for lost time, having missed out on being picked for the championships last year, playing from the start in the three pool B matches before the semi-final and third-place play-off in Cork at the end of last month.

England began with a 3-0 victory over Ireland before suffering a painful 6-1 defeat to Germany.

But they bounced back with a 4-2 victory over Russia to progress to the semi-final with powerhouses Netherlands, who won 3-0.

There was a nail-biting third-place play-off with Belgium where their opponents equalised late on to send the match into a penalty shootout, with England holding their nerve to emerge 3-2 victors.

On winning a medal, Holder said: “It felt such a relief as we had been working so hard all year round.

“I was in the U18s squad last year but I did not get selected (for the Euros) so it meant so much for me.

“It was an unbelievable feeling and one I will remember forever.”

Her parents Tim and Helen Holder travelled over to Cork to cheer on the 18-year-old, who was playing for Cambridge City last season but is off to university in Birmingham ahead of the new campaign.

The former Culford School pupil said, despite the defeat, the Holland game, aside from Belgium, was their standout display.

“Even though we lost the other highlight was Holland,” she said.

“They are the best there is and we played the best we have ever played and were really unfortunate to lose 3-0.”