The past week has seen the culmination of the Regional Heats and Finals for all our teams. First up were the under 18 Girls outdoors at Southgate. A comfortable 3-1 win over Eastbourne was followed by a rather laborious 2-2 draw against Sir William Borlaise in which we were twice behind. Needing a draw to qualify as South Champions, we got an early goal to settle things down against King Edwards, Southampton, but failed to add any more from a number of chances, making it a bit closer than it might have been. Still next step… the National Finals – the first time in Cranleigh’s history that the under 18 girls have got to the Nationals.
The Girls under 14 outdoors followed. In the first game against Wellington we had most of the possession but just couldn’t put the ball in the net. As quite often happens, they scored a breakaway goal to condemn us to a 0-1 loss. So a big game against St George’s to come and we put them under a lot of pressure, playing really well in the first half, going in 2-0 up. As expected they came back with a goal just after half time and both sides created more chances but we ran out winners 2-1. Wellington had lost to St John’s, so we now had to beat St John’s. We raced into a 3-0 lead within 10 minutes and although they got one back in the second half we were comfortable winners and South Champions.
Then a move indoors with the under 16 girls beating CLFS 3-1, The Abbey 6-1 and Ardingly 3-0 to top their pool. A convincing 6-1 win in the semis against Leighton Park set up a final against Sir William Borlaise. Not surprisingly a tight encounter ensued but we came out as winners and South Champions again.
On the same day, the under 16 boys were in their Regional Finals. Having been to Holland at half term, and having had to qualify by beating the likes of Kingston Grammar, Trinity and St George’s just to get to this round, they started their pool games with a bang: 9-2 victory over Kent College. Further wins against Portsmouth Grammar and Dr Challenors saw us top the group and earn a semi-final against Sir William Borlaise. Going ahead twice and then being pegged back to a draw led to penalty flicks! Goals by Ed Tristem and Jamie Bloomfield and two saves by Harry Binnion sealed the win and qualification to the Nationals. To top it all we then beat Whitgift 1-0 in the finals to take top seeding and become the fourth team in 6 days to be crowned South Champions.