As reported last week, Cranleigh School had two very successful teams at the Girls’ National Outdoor Hockey Finals at Lee Valley Hockey andHockey National finals_26188 Tennis Centre. On Thursday 10th March, the U16s were crowned Champions, the third time in four years that the school has held this title: the U18s came very close to joining them, but had to settle for the silver medal again for the second successive year.

The competitions started on Wednesday 9th with the group phase matches. The U16s recorded comfortable victories against Blundell’s 5-0, Framlingham 5-1, and Wellingborough 14-0 to top their group; amongst the goal scorers were Izzy Petter with seven, and Katie Hauger with six. They faced a very good Repton side in the Final: in what was quite an absorbing match, Cranleigh held onto a 1-0 lead (courtesy of Fifi Robinson) until the last two minutes of the match when Repton scored an equaliser from a penalty corner.

Katherine Carr was confident and decisive in goal during the tense volley of five penalty flicks for each side: she saved the first three attemptsGirls Hockey National Indoor finals 2016_26190 from Repton, whilst Autumn Brown, Fifi Robinson and Zoe Allchurch ensured that Cranleigh won the contest 3-1 to deservedly gain the title of National Champions.

The U18s had an interesting run of group matches. We put ourselves on the back foot in the opening fixture against GSA Leeds, and found ourselves 0-3 down at Half time. Two goals each from Charlotte Calnan and Beth Porter in the second half were, however, inspirational in securing a 4-4 draw: the tenacious spirit of the whole team was remarkable. Against Culford we managed to pull away in the closing two minutes to become 3-1 victors, before facing Queen’s Taunton in a nail-biting encounter: we needed to keep watch of the score on the other pitch to ensure that our goal difference in the table was better than that of Leeds, and in the end it was, as Cranleigh won 2-1.

In the final, we faced on paper a very strong Repton side: nevertheless, the Cranleigh team gave a very good account of themselves. The matchGirls Hockey National Indoor finals 2016_26225 was a close contest in midfield, and despite going 0-1 down in the twelfth minute we worked tremendously hard: we were close to equalising with seven minutes left, but it was not quite meant to be, and the dividing margin remained the same at the final whistle. Cranleigh were very worthy National Runners up.

Rupert Kefford
Head of Hockey