Match Report
Gresham's School Girls-U13A vs  IAPS National Finals
On: Thursday, 18 Nov 2021
Venue: Away

U13 IAPS National Hockey Championships

On Wednesday afternoon the U13 girls' hockey squad set off for Cheltenham for the IAPS National Hockey Finals. After checking into the hotel, we drove over to the pitches to familiarise ourselves with the venue before the big day. After a good night's sleep in the hotel, we were up early to make our way to Cheltenham College for the start of the tournament.

The morning started with the group stages where the 20 teams (all of whom had qualified from regional tournaments across the country) were divided into 4 groups of 5 teams. Gresham's started well with 3 wins in their first 3 games but then had a tricky match against Cheam which was full of drama, injury, and controversy, resulting in a narrow 0-1 loss. Thankfully, other results in the group meant that we still finished in the top spot and were matched against Millfield for our quarter final.

Gresham's continued to produce some great hockey, with discipline in defence and great use of space going forward. The game was well matched but a great run and cross from Drew was slotted in by Olivia to secure a 1-0 win and a place in the semi-final's vs Framlingham College. Having had a good battle with them in the regionals we knew this would be a close match but yet again the girls stepped up their game, converting a penalty corner to win 1-0.

The final was against Repton who we knew would be strong. It was a fantastic game with flowing end to end hockey and both teams looking equally threatening. After full time, the 2-2 score line was a good reflection of the play. Next followed a 5-minute period of 'golden goal' extra time where we had to remain organised and disciplined to keep out the Repton attacks. The girls remained strong and created a few unsuccessful opportunities of their own. At full time, the competition was to be decided by penalty flicks, always a nerve-wracking affair. However, the team had prepared for this and several brave souls volunteered for the three places needed. Mr Cowan's work on the mental preparations for such an event paid dividends with Drew started us off brilliantly, calmy slotting the ball in the bottom corner. Then Charlotte F in goal made a fantastic save to keep us at 1-0 up. Amelie repeated Drew's efforts for us to go 2-0, with Repton scoring their second to go 2-1. The final flick went to Charlotte M, who calmy completed the job to put a win out of Repton's reach and the girls were National Champions!

A huge well done to all the girls for such a fantastic achievement. Their work rate and commitment throughout the day and over all the years building up to this have been phenomemal. Mr Cowan's coaching and leadership ensured the girls were physically, mentally and tactically prepared and Mr Ling's input into umpiring, coaching and preparation throughout the term have been first class. Well done to all the girls:- Drew, Phoebe, Amelie, Olivia, Charlotte F, Charlotte M, Mimi, Bronte, Annabella, and Edie.