On Thursday November 6, the U13 girls had an early start to get to Queenswood School in Hertfordshire for the IAPS South Regional Hockey 2014.
After the first frost of the year, there was a short delay to allow the pitch to thaw and then the play could begin.
Cranleigh had four other teams in their group and, with at least 45 minutes between the games, they needed to maintain their focus to progress through to the quarter final stage.
The first game resulted in a 4-1 victory over Queenswood (who had stepped in to replace a late withdrawal), with goals from Poppy, Lulu and both Rosies. This was followed by a 1-1 ‘winning’ draw against Marlston House, with Cranleigh having all the possession but failing to score a winner. The third group match was against The Hawthorns and the Cranleigh girls played a much better passing game to win 4-0, with goals from Lulu, Rosie W and Olivia. Finally we took on local rivals, Downsend, coming out with a 2-0 win (Rosie H and Poppy), although there were many chances squandered here too!
Having topped our group, we met with Felstead in the quarter-finals (the first of the knockout stages) and the girls rose to the challenge admirably, winning 3-1 (Lulu 2 and Rosie H).
This set up a semi-final versus St. Faith’s which was to be our closest contest of the day. Luckily we started the match very strongly, and scored early on (Rosie H), as St. Faith’s were a well organised and determined side. In the dying minutes they were awarded a penalty corner and brought all their players to the edge of our circle.
However, some excellent defence from Phoebe, Jess and Ella, and a strong clearance resulted in the ball reaching Rosie W with only the keeper to beat, which she duly did, and we progressed to the final with a 2-0 win.
The final was played against Twyford; with Cranleigh always in control of the game, the final score was 4-0 (Rosie W, Lulu, Maya and Rosie H) and we were South IAPS Champions!
All nine girls contributed to the team’s performance which got better and better as the day progressed. They will return to the same venue on Tuesday 18th November to play the National IAPS tournament.
Report and picture contributed by Cranleigh Prep School.