After a close and tense qualification through the Surrey heats, the U18 girls’ hockey team took on a star-studded Reed’s side containing a number of England players in the semi-final stage of the Surrey competition. Not to be daunted, the team applied themselves to a new system with real determination. Annie Piper made countless tackles and Poppy Bathurst’s man-to-man marking frustrated the opposition’s attempts to create any clear chances. 0-0 at the break and then a deflected goal from Issy Greeno on a breakaway gave us the lead. An equaliser four minutes from time led to penalty strokes: with Ellie Smith saving one and another miss, we ran out 4-3 winners with four great strokes from our team.
In the final, they rather surprisingly came up against Epsom (who had beaten St George’s on strokes). We had more of the possession and ran out winners by a single goal to lift the cup for the first time.
In the South Regional heats we came up against Hurstpierpoint in the first game and we tore into them into the first half. Nullifying their three star players, we got three short corners, two of which were cleared off the line. The second half was different as they got a grip on the game with their strong players starting to dominate, but it took an unfortunate deflected own goal for them to score and win 1-0. A close game against King Edwards, Southampton that could have gone either way resulted in another 1-0 loss, and then a fairly comfortable 3-0 win over Surbiton High in the final game rounded off the day. Understandably disappointed not to qualify for the South Finals, the squad have certainly overachieved and should remember what a significant achievement it is to bring the title of Surrey Champions home to Cranleigh for the first time.