On Thursday the Under 14 boys played in the South Regional Hockey Semi-Final. They returned home as South Champions, so qualifying for the National Finals at Lee Valley at the start of next term.
Having been through Surrey heats, Surrey Finals, South heats and a South quarter-final, with a great 5-1 victory over Kingston, the semi was against a physically strong King Edwards Southampton side.
Scoreless at half-time, the deadlock was broken by an unstoppable drag flick by Olly Witts to give us the lead. A really good move that was completed with James Patient passing a good ball to Luke Cahusac to finish well put us two up.
However, King Edward’s weren’t done and they scored two in the last 8 minutes to take the game to penalty flicks. Impressively we scored all five – Luca La Costa, Olly Witts, Tom Lawes, James Going and the nerveless Mark Walker – and Will Wilkinson saved their last flick to send us through to the final against Whitgift.
Olly Witts gave us the lead in the first half with another drag flick at a penalty corner, but there was lots of defending to do. Jacopo Bounous, Cameron Reader, Jacob Hathaway and Ruari Johnston made countless interceptions as they contested the contact area, whilst Luca La Costa used the jab tackle to great effect on more than one occasion.
Ahead of him Charlie Petter was dealing excellently with their skilful inside forward and causing their defence problems when he attacked. And ahead of him Max Dixon played one quality through pass that resulted in a good chance.
The lead was doubled in the second half when Felix Rodriguez showed excellent skills and finished with a lifted shot over the keeper. There was still some defending to do and Hugo Billington made a couple of good hand saves in quick succession from shots that were heading into the top of the goal.
Whitgift got a number of short corners as they piled on the pressure at the end and some great goal-line defending saved us on a number of occasions. They did finally score at a short corner but with under a minute to go, it was too late and we ran out 2-1 winners.
A great day with another one to come next term.