U11 IAPS National Hockey Finals

U11 IAPS National Hockey finals
Rugby School, Warwickshire
Wednesday 21st November 2018
U11 squad: Freyja H (cpt), Lily BJ, Anna B, Skye M, Kate J, Emily L, Mabel P, Sophie E & Tiggy M.

U11 IAPS Hockey team 4

U11 IAPS Hockey team 2
Our U11 Hockey Team with Mr P and Mrs Bell

U11 IAPS Hockey team Nov 18
Our U11 team and their supporters!

U11 IAPS Hockey team 3

There was great excitement in the ranks as the St. Mary’s U11 hockey squad travelled south to represent District 11 (Scotland, N. Ireland and N. England) in the IAPS National hockey finals at Rugby School. After a 7½ hour journey, we arrived at a very plush Youth Hostel in Stratford Upon-Avon. Following supper, a quiz and a short stroll, the girl’s heads hit their pillows at 9pm.

Twenty four teams had been whittled down from 180 from across the UK and were now split into 4 Pools of 6. The top two teams would qualify for the Cup knockout stages, with 3rd and 4th placed teams in the Plate and 5th and 6th placed teams, being eliminated from the competition.

Drawn in Pool A our first opposition were Cheam Prep (Berkshire), (St. Mary’s 1, Cheam 2) Despite having the upper hand for most of the game, as well as scoring the first goal, we were somewhat surprised to come 2nd in this game. Two late goals gave Cheam an unexpected win against the run of play. Our goal however, was a cracker, scored from a set move from a short corner; very satisfying!

Next up were Foremarke Hall (Derbyshire) (0 – 0) and we were considerably stronger as a team in this game; both teams were unlucky not to score due to good defence and thus the score remained at 0 – 0.

Our third game against Danes Hill (Surrey), we needed to win to stand any chance of qualifying. The girls rose to the occasion and played some lovely, flowing hockey. We scored in under a minute which saw confidence levels rise and then again in the final minute, to seal the win. The crowd went wild, with shouts of ‘Come on Scotland’ resonating around the historic walls of Rugby.

In the fourth Pool game we played our best hockey and came so close to scoring on four or five occasions, but we just couldn’t tuck the ball away. Winchester House (Northampton), were awarded a short corner as the final whistle went which we struggled to clear and paid the ultimate price! We were beaten 0 – 1 by a weaker team and saw our chances of qualification, plummet.

We needed to win our last game against All Hallows (Somerset). Unfortunately, All Hallows also needed the win, they defended very well and kept us at bay. The score after the twelve minutes was 0 – 0. As we made our way off the pitch, news filtered through that we had come 5th in the Pool, missing out on being runners up by a mere two points, which shows just how keenly contested this tournament was.

Staff, pupils and parents alike were devastated to have missed out, but as we all know, tournaments are won and lost on small margins! We played 5, won 1, lost 2, drew 2, scored 3 and conceded 3. We could not have asked more of the girls, who were undoubtedly on a par with every team we met. Despite missing out, we were all reassured that on another day, it could easily have been us going through in the competition!

To make the most of the day, we organised four friendly games in the afternoon against, Orwell Park (Suffolk), Framlingham College (Suffolk), King’s Cambridge (Cambridge!) and The Croft School, (Stratford). Again, these were closely contested and we won 1, drew 2 and lost 1, 1 goal for and 1 goal against.

It was a fantastic experience for us all and thanks to Rugby School for hosting the tournament so well. A particularly huge thanks to our traveling support, for making the epic journey and for their support and encouragement of the entire squad; it was very much appreciated.
Mrs F Bell & Mr I Purvis

Jules Birdsall, 21/11/2018

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