Early last week the U14s travelled to Queenswood for their national playoff. The first ten minutes were rather open with neither side closing down very quickly. Then Beth Porter started putting pressure on the opposition with her clean hitting from the back and Emily Thorpe managed to get hold of the centre of midfield. A couple of goals before halftime was the result. In the second half Jess Pilling controlled their right winger who had made a few good runs down the right in the first half and this dried up their main source of agirls u14 hockeyttack. Cranleigh upped the intensity and put together some really good passing movements. Ellen Talbot on the left wing became a thorn in the opposition’s side. This dominance resulted in three further goals in what turned out to be quite a comfortable win in the end.

Two days later, the U16s entertained Canford. The opposition were quick and strong and soon had Cranleigh under a lot of pressure. As they put the squeeze on our 16s it became increasingly difficult to get the ball out from the back. Poppy Bathurst, however, dealt very well with their useful centre forward – and then there was Sophie Miller. She made tackle after tackle including saving two almost certain goals.

The second half saw a different Cranleigh team take the pitch. Megan Batchelor had a sensational half at inside left and, with Eva Solt taking control of the centre of the pitch, the tide turned. Olivia Camsey was still causing havoc in and around the opposition’s D and once the first goal went in, they just kept coming. In the end it was 5-0 with some great hockey being enjoyed by a large crowd whose support encouraged the team to put in a great second half performance.

Both sides will travel to Cannock for the National Finals on February 26th-27th (U16s) and February 28th (U14s).

RJO