Following in the footsteps of the under 18s the previous week, the under 14 girls won the South Hockey Finals on Wednesday and so qualified for the National Finals at the end of February. It was however an unbelievably close tournament.
Having the majority of possession and creating half a dozen good chances against Wellington in the first match, we only managed to score one and Wellington got a breakaway goal halfway through the second half to earn a 1-1 draw.
So to a must-win game against Surbiton High who had narrowly lost to St George’s 2-1 in their first game. In an evenly contested match, which could have gone either way, we scored first, but they equalised. The game was decided by a goal worthy of winning a game as Catie Chauhan deceived the keeper from a great cross, to score a sublime goal and give us a 2-1 win – a fantastic team effort.
With St George’s only managing a 1-1 draw against Wellington, it left three out of the four schools in this pool on the same points going into the final games. The permutations were numerous and help was needed from the parents to keep us abreast of what was going on in the final game between Wellington and Surbiton High on the other pitch!
The standard of play in our final game was excellent. St George’s took the lead from a short corner whilst on the other pitch Surbiton High took a two goal lead, only for Wellington to get one back straight away. As Wellington were laying siege to the Surbiton High goal, with less than a minute to go, a great through ball from Mattie Hamilton found Eliza Wheeler who beat a defender and slipped the ball past the keeper to earn us a 1-1 draw and guarantee a passage to the Nationals.
However, we had to have a penalty flick-off with St George’s to determine the champions. With Liv Barker in goal making two saves, our quintet of Mattie Hamilton, Eliza Wheeler, Boau-Lilly Shepherd, Siena Keijsers, and Immy Pilling outscored the opposition to become champions.
Director of Hockey, Richard Organ summed up the day:
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After the first game left the team rather frustrated, they came together as a group to produce two high intensity performances that contained consistently good quality hockey for players of this age. It was a tense tournament, especially for the parents, and we thank them for their support and communication and look forward to seeing them at the Olympic park in a few months’ time.