A busy week for both girls’ and boys’ hockey resulted in both girls’ indoor squads qualifying for the National Finals in January.
The U16 girls had an extremely tough round-robin group of six, but they started with a strong 3-0 victory over Wellington before succumbing 0-1 to the talented St Teresa’s. A comfortable 4-1 win over Ardingly set up a big match against St George’s who had already beaten St Teresa’s 5-1. With a clever plan, a fantastic performance yielded an impressive 3-1 victory that set up a final match against the undefeated King Edwards, Southampton who had won two and drawn two.
The last game of the whole tournament could still provide any of three overall winners, but the loser of this game would not qualify for the Nationals. Unfazed by the pressure, the girls put on an absolutely sparkling performance that resulted in a 5-1 win, including the fairly rare occurrence of three penalty flicks – all skillfully converted by Mattie Hamilton – to become South Champions.
Just down the road, the U16 boys started with a comfortable 6-0 win over Lingfield but then just lost 1-2 to St Lawrence having numerous opportunities in the second half to wrap up a semi-final place. Their last pool game was a 0-3 loss to KES who went on to beat Whitgift to become champions.
Midweek saw the U14 girls compete in a high-class South Finals outdoors. A good start with a 1-1 draw with Hurstpierpoint was followed by two great quality games against Surbiton and Kingston that we lost 0-2 and just 0-1 respectively. This group of players have improved massively this term as shown by the fact that we had lost 0-4 to Kingston just a few weeks prior to these finals.
Later that evening the boys 1st XI travelled to Langley Park to record a really excellent 3-2 victory in their second National League match. It was a great exhibition of attacking hockey in atrocious conditions and set the team up nicely for next term’s matches. In their indoor pool on Sunday, they started with two very closely fought 2-1 wins over Sir William Borlase and RGS Guildford to set up a semi versus St George’s with a win qualifying us for the national finals. Going one down within 30 seconds, they played superbly to lead 3-1 at half-time. Unfortunately, a couple of lapses of concentration changed the momentum and we conceded three to lose by the odd goal.
The girls U18s had a slightly nervous 1-0 win over Hurstpierpoint to start but followed this up with another 1-0 victory over a very strong St George’s team. Coming from behind, a 1-1 draw against Beaconsfield High saw them top an extremely tight group and a semi against City of London Freemen’s School (CLFS) that they won 4-2.
So to the final against Wellington. A couple of goals down, Cranleigh staged a great recovery in the second half getting the equaliser with just under three minutes to go. Then with just over a minute to go, a stunning reverse stick flick high into the roof of the net sealed a great victory that left us as South champions.