U12 Girls Place 4th at IAPS Hockey Nationals
The U12A girls arrived at Rugby School ready and raring to go. After a good night’s sleep, wholesome breakfast and last minute warm up, they were mentally and physically prepared.
The first game was against St. Hugh’s, and the girls were eager to score. Opportunities began to present themselves, and the team came back from a goal down to draw 1-1.The second game against The Elms School saw the girls counter with pace and precision, winning 3-0.
As a result, the tensions were high during their match against Castle Court. This fixture would give them the best chance of topping the pool. Thankfully, they did so convincingly, scoring four past the opposing team and going on to win 2-0 against a strong Bromsgrove side.
After lunch it was time for the first quarter-final match against Fettes College. The game was tense, and both sides had ample opportunity to take the lead and head into the semis. After half time, the scores were still level, with both teams pushing for the one goal that would take them across the line. The girls pushed hard, finally managing to squeeze a goal in behind the keeper thanks to some impressive passing and build-up play. And just like that they were through to the semis!
Their first fixture was again Clifton, who they have played against previously. This meant they were at an advantage, knowing how their opposition played and who to watch out for. After a frenetic start, Clifton managed an early goal, meaning the girls had to respond. They did so through a well-worked move on the left and drew level for half time.
After half time, our team managed to score a superb goal to take the lead. Despite both sides dragging due to weariness, Clifton also managed a goal through their excellent centre mid. Five minutes’ golden goal therefore meant whoever scored first would go into the final. For a good 3-4 minutes both teams had great opportunities, but then, a straight ball through the middle was picked up by the striker and smashed at Darcie, who, in goal made another great save. Unluckily, Clifton were at this point on alert and among eight players managed to squeeze the ball into the goal once more for their place in the final.
The third and fourth play-off was a close one. Our opponents, Cranleigh School, had also lost out narrowly in the semis. Admittedly, the game was slow as everyone was flagging after a long day of hockey. Each team had the chance to progress, however, a lack of goals scored in normal time and the five minutes of golden goal, meant that it came down to penalty flicks.
Cranleigh went first and missed the goal, as did we. Their second player then fired one into the corner, with Kendra presently stepping up to match that of the opposing team. Unfortunately, though, the keeper made yet another impressive save, and after their third successful flick our fate was sealed. The U12s performed exceptionally throughout, achieving a fantastic fourth place.
Team Coach, Sean-Michael Campleman beamed: “The girls were incredible and despite losing out to a strong Cranleigh side, were reminded that a successful game of hockey always comes down to small margins. To get that far was a real testament to their determination and I am so impressed.”
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