On Monday 6 March, the U13A hockey team travelled to Eastbourne College to battle for a qualification spot in the national competition. The boys played three teams in the group stages of the tournament: Dulwich Prep, Daneshill and Windlesham. They started exceptionally well, scoring 5 goals against Dulwich Prep without reply. In the second game, we faced Daneshill School. Again, the boys played some excellent hockey – passing the ball well and winning 5-0. In our final group game we faced Windlesham School, again coming out victorious with a 3-0 win. This meant the boys had qualified top of their group and were to face Grove Hall in the quarter finals.

The game started well, with the vast majority of chances falling to our boys. However, the competition was tougher and chances were harder to convert. At half-time we knew we had to up our game if we were going to progress. Unfortunately, Grove Hall scored early in the second half to take a 1-0 lead. This was the first goal we had conceded all season so it was a true test of our resolve to see if the boys could bounce back from this setback. They didn’t disappoint: it didn’t take long for us to reply and begin to dominate possession, eventually winning 3-1.

In the Semi-Final we faced our toughest test yet against Bede’s Prep. The teams were fairly evenly matched and although we had most of the chances, the game needed 1-1. The resulting penalty flicks saw Sebby, Christo and Ethan all keeping a cool head and converting in style. It was now up to Josh in goal – their first two flicks were taken well and had left Josh with no chance to save. It was down to the final flick of the three and without hesitation, Josh dived to his left making the crucial save. This meant we had qualified for the Nationals and made it through to the final.

In the final we faced Junior Kings. At this stage of the tournament, emotions were high and legs were heavy. At full time the score was 0-0 and it was down to our penalty flick takers again. The boys did well converting two out of their three penalty flicks. This time Josh was well prepared having been through this in the semi finals and saved two out of the three penalties. The boys had won!

It was an excellent day out and the boys were a joy to coach: many thanks to the parents who came along to support the team.