The under 16 Girls were crowned National Indoor Champions for the first time in Cranleigh’s history on Saturday. Their first game on Friday was a very tight affair against a strong King’s Bruton side that we eventually won 1-0. Comfortable wins against Framlingham and Queen’s Wakefield left us top of the pool at the end of day one. The final pool game was against a good Trent side but we played well and broke down their half-court defence to win again.
The other pool had come down to goal difference after a fractious 2-2 draw between Millfield and Repton, whom we now had to face in the semi-final. We were getting better each game and we took it to Repton from the start, playing our best hockey of the tournament and scoring 5 goals in the process.
So to the final, and a rematch against Trent, who had beaten Millfield. Once again we had the majority of possession but found it a bit harder to break down their half-court structure. In an increasingly tactical match, we were never behind and their goalkeeper played brilliantly, but we ran out 2-1 winners to clinch the title.
The under 18s started their tournament straight after the final and had an excellent couple of wins against defending champions Ipswich and then Trent that evening. The following morning saw a comfortable wins against Sherborne and Richmond, leaving us top of our group. Once again the other pool was much tighter and went down to goal difference between 3 sides!
We started very strongly against Millfield in the semi-final and created a number of chances in the first 5 minutes. We had around 70% of possession, but they hustled hard against us to keep us at bay. Against the run of play they scored to lead 1-0 at the break. The second half was similar to the first with us creating a number of chances, but just not being able to beat their keeper who had an outstanding game. They nicked a short-corner to double their lead, and although we continued to press we just couldn’t get on the scoresheet – an agonising way to go out having played some really good indoor hockey.