Being the first Cranleigh Girls side to ever reach a National Indoor Hockey Finals competition, this young squad acquitted themselves admirably, losing 1-0 in the semi-final to regular, past winners Coopers Coburn. Our first match resulted in a 5-1 win against Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, though the result did not reflect the game with Lexi van Breugel making a number of important saves. Subsequent performances by QEGS showed what a good result this was.
The next game against Ipswich, however, was a wake-up call. They had a strong tackling defence and played tough hockey. We levelled at 1-1, then hit the post, but in the second half they kept up the pressure and scored a couple more times to run out comfortable 5-1 winners. Our last game of the first day of competition was against Millfield, and it was no surprise that the intensity was ramping up. A pulsating game saw us take the lead twice with Millfield levelling, but the second half produced a bit more control from us and two more goals to give us a 4-2 win.
On the second day of competition, we needed at least a draw in our final group game against Worksop to reach the semi-finals. Having marked Millfield’s playmaker out of the game the previous evening, Emily Thorpe was tasked with stopping the best of the Germans playing for Worksop. She duly managed it and we played the best attacking hockey to this point. Cranleigh was 2-1 up with a minute to go, but they scored to make the last 20 seconds rather close!
In the semi-final against Coopers Coburn, we delivered by far and away our best performance, and so did their keeper… We hit the post, we had a penalty flick saved, we had 7 short corners to their 3 – we just couldn’t get the ball past their keeper. We had by far the best of the game, but it was not to be. The standard was excellent and the improvement in our performance over the two days was impressive. With over half the squad under 14 or under 15, there might be some unfinished business next year!