Over two days last week the Under 16 boys hockey team were at Lee Valley in the National outdoor finals. They started with a 3-1 win against Ipswich after a slightly hesitant start which saw us one down in the first half. The second pool game was the big one against defending champions Repton. A great start saw us surprise them with some tactical switches and the pressure told when we went ahead. They duly responded and scored at a short corner following a really good first block that fell for an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. Their second came from an attack down the byline in which the ball went out but was not picked up. Undeterred, the final ten minutes saw constant pressure from Cranleigh that included a diving shot that hit the post and then a short corner with time up, but even though we scored, the goal was correctly disallowed for a technical infringement.
After the disappointment of the previous evening, we had to score at least four more goals than Canford in our last game and hope that Ipswich would do us a favour against Repton. Two up at half time, we knew that Ipswich had replied to Repton’s early goal and were drawing 1-1. So we put in a scintillating second half to run out 6-1 winners with some very impressive skills in the circle that Canford could not live with. We had done our bit and in the meantime Ipswich were hammering away at the Repton goal… but they just stood firm to get the 1-1 draw they needed.
The play-off for Bronze saw us tear Marlborough apart in the first half, creating chance after chance – we only took two of them and one was bizarrely not awarded. They on the other hand scored with their only entry into our half! Unbelievably it was 1-1 at half time and this became the final score, but we stepped up and scored all five of our penalty flicks (a rare occurrence these days) to deservedly win the bronze.
It’s a measure of the commitment and belief amongst this squad that they feel they should have won, but tournaments at this level are more often than not decided by fine margins and they should be very proud of how well they performed.
Director of Hockey