U11 Girls IAPS East Regional Qualifying Tournament
|Group 1||St. Joseph’s||Won 4 – 0||OM 3, LB-L 1|
|Groups 2||Littlegarth||Won 3 – 0||OM 1, LB-L 2|
|Group 3||Ipswich Prep||Won 3 – 0||OM 2, AW 1|
|Group 4||Langley Prep||Lost 1 – 2||OM 1|
|¼ Final||Felsted||Won 1 – 0||LB-L 1|
|Semi-Final||St. Faiths||Won 3 – 0||OM 1, LB-L 1, AW 1|
|Final||Langley Prep||Won 3 – 0||OM 1, LB-L 2|
Oosha M 9, Lydia B-L7, Arabella 2
As far as great days go this is right up there with some of the very best. Right from the start of the day when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the majority of the girls wearing blue headbands with white cards with writing on stuck to the headband I knew the interaction between this bunch of girls was going to be good. We all knew that with only two teams making it through to the National Finals this was going to be a tough ask, however, the girls were up for the challenge and it wasn’t long before we had our first goal.
St. Joseph’s College were our first opponents and the game couldn’t have gone any better. With only 8 minutes gone we were 4 – 0 up and were able to rest Oosha and then two minutes later, Lydia.
Littlegarth were our next opponents and another solid performance resulting in 3 quick goals allowed Mrs Large to once again swop players on and off, showing the strength and importance of the squad. After 2 games it was apparent that the speed and skill of our attack, the sheer work-rate and persistence of our mid-field and the strength of our defensive unit were going to be a force to reckoned with on the day. The fact that after 30 minutes of hockey we had scored 7 goals, conceded none, had used all the squad and had been able to rest players bode well for the remaining matches.
Ipswich Prep were our next opponents and we didn’t know what to expect apart from the fact that they had just drawn with Langley who we knew were strong after the Brandeston tournament the previous week. However, all though we weren’t at our best in this game we still managed 3 goals, another clean sheet and managed to rest some legs.
The match with Langley Prep who we knew were strong could have gone either way as it was Langley scored with two minutes to go take the lead 2 – 1 and that’s how it remained. Although we had lost our final group game we still finished 2nd in the group and were seeded fourth out of the 8 teams that would go through to the quarter-finals.
The seedings after the group stage for the quarter-finals were as follows: 1st St. Faiths, 2nd The Perse, 3rd Langley Prep, 4th Beeston Hall, 5th Felsted, 6th Bishop’s Stortford, 7th Elm Green, 8th Town Close. The format for the day resulted in Felsted being our next opponents.
We knew there would be no easy games from now on and we also knew that we were competing against some very big schools. Felsted, who were our quarter-final opponents, are not only a big school but a well renowned sports school. The matches now changed from 15 minutes to 10 minutes and after both teams having chances the score remained 0 – 0. This then meant that we went to ‘golden goal’ for a maximum of 5 minutes before the dreaded penalty shuffles would come into play. At this stage all the players, parents and coaches were praying for a moment of magic from somebody and after another excellent move down the right Oosha crossed the ball into Lydia with only 37 seconds of the 5 minutes left, who calmly slapped the ball into the back of the net. There was nothing calm about what happened next! There was lots of clapping, cheering, hugs and excitement. However, it was necessary to then get the girls together and bring them down so that they realised that was only the quarter-finals!
St. Faiths were our semi-final opponents and we were under no illusions that having won their group convincingly and being seeded 1st this would be no easy game however, we dominated from the beginning and they were not able to cope with the pace of our attack and three goals in the first 7 minutes gave us a bit of breathing space and allowed us to make some changes and rest some players. As the whistle went the realisation hit all that we would, once again, be going to the National Finals. For Oosha, Felicity and Obie this would be the second year in a row, however, for the rest of the squad it would be their first time. As the celebrations took place it was important to get the girls together for one last ‘chat’ and to ask them how much they really wanted to be crowned winners!? The response was awesome!
In the other Semi-final Langley Prep beat The Perse who had beaten us and them at last week’s Brandeston tournament resulting in an all Norfolk final. It was clear that the best two teams had made it to the final and having played each other twice in the last 2 weeks it was also clear that there wasn’t much between the two teams. I must therefore give huge credit to our girls who were ‘on a mission’ to be crowned champions and the fact that they scored 3 goals in the final just goes to show how much they wanted it.
The celebrations then started as the realisation of this achievement sunk in for all involved. Seven games, 6 wins, 18 goals scored and only 2 against represented a very successful and enjoyable day. The girls were great ambassadors for Beeston Hall, the parents were a fantastic support to the team and the pre-match team ‘handshake’ is certainly something that we will carry on with!
My thanks to all involved for a brilliant day and particularly to Mrs Large who managed the girls so well on the day. Now we have to work and train harder to attempt to replicate the success of the 2007 U13 Girls’ team who were crowned National champions!
Good luck girls. #nationalsherewecome!