U11A Hockey Enjoy Much Success at Rugby School Tournamant

03 Oct 2014

On the back of some tough fixtures of late, the U11A girls travelled to Rugby School for the annual U11 tournament. The girls were treated to a master class training session in the morning with Hockey star Matt Taylor leading the way. After lunch, it was time to get down to business as the group stages began. Drawn alongside St Hugh’s, S. Anselm’s, Bedford Girls, Laxton Junior, Newton Prep and Packwood Haugh, there was a mix of those who we knew and those who we didn’t. First up was St Hugh’s – each game lasted only 10 minutes so it was vital that chances were taken swiftly. Despite a huge amount of pressure applied, we only managed a 1-0 victory. The second game against Bedford Girls was a much closer affair, though the result stayed the same – another 1-0 win. Next up was Laxton Junior and the game followed a similar pattern to the one against St Hugh’s. Despite multiple chances, a 1-0 score line for the girls meant a 100% start to the competition. At this point, the pressures began to take their toll and injuries and fatigue started to show. The next two games against Packwood Haugh and S. Anselm’s were highly frustrating. Despite drawing both 0-0 and the level of opposition being strong, the girls could and should have won each game. The final group game was a must win – winning would guarantee qualification for the top competition (the Shield). However, despite chance after chance, the girls failed to score and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.

We then faced an anxious wait to see the result of the Bedford Girls vs S. Anselm’s match. Victory for S. Anselm’s would mean that we dropped to 3rd place and have to settle for the Trophy competition. Thankfully, the game ended 0-0 and we qualified in second place from the group. This meant a tough fixture in the semi-finals against Fairfield, winners of the other group and a team who we have already encountered this season at Repton (and drew 0-0 with). After 10 minutes, the game was tied 0-0 and the tournament rules stated the match would be decided by penalty flicks. Sophie Hamilton and Harriet Anthony both stepped up and unfortunately failed to convert. However Taggie Paganuzzi saved both Fairfield strikes too. Alice Farmer took the final flick and converted superbly leaving Fairfield requiring a goal from their final penalty. Taggie again saved superbly and the girls progressed to the final.

The final was against The Perse School – a school with a very strong Hockey pedigree. Interestingly, both we and The Perse had progressed through as runners-up in our groups. In the first five minutes we were under intense pressure from The Perse. Within the first minute, they had already been awarded a penalty corner and the defensive work of Georgia Blackman, Alice Farmer, Sophie Hamilton and Lottie Sharman was outstanding. Despite this, a series of 6 penalty corners were endured ahead of the umpire finally awarding a penalty flick due to persistent infringement (a little harsh!). The flick was saved superbly by Taggie again (5 out of 5) and the girls broke away promptly. Harriet Anthony had a wonderful opportunity to put the girls in the lead, but The Perse’s goalkeeper saved superbly from a terrific strike. The game ebbed and flowed, however with two minutes to go The Perse broke and scored a fine strike. Despite further pressure from Witham, the game drifted to the last few seconds with us facing a 0-1 defeat.  Then, an incisive breakaway led to a strike cannoning off a defender’s foot and Witham were awarded a penalty corner with the last play of the game. Sadly the weariness of the day proved too much and the penalty corner fizzled out disappointingly without a shot being mustered.

This was a really sad way to end the competition after such an impressive series of displays, however the girls were rightly proud of their terrific achievements and a little work on shooting in training will no doubt put us in a great position as IAPS approaches.

Well done to everyone involved:

Taggie Paganuzzi
Georgia Blackman
Sophie Hamilton
Alice Farmer
Harriet Anthony
Ella Chandler
Lottie Sharman
Pippa Thompson
Bonnie Harris