The U14A Boys’ Team secured their place in the Triangular Finals Tournament of the National Schools Championship by winning the East Round with four wins at the University of East Anglia (UEA) on 3rd March.
The team was in section C of the tournament along with Bancroft’s School, Watford Grammar and two talented Hockey Schools, Ipswich School and The Perse School. Gresham’s stepped up to the challenge with aspiration and played some excellent high quality team hockey; finishing with four out of four wins.
The first game against Bancroft’s was an average start for the boys despite winning the game easily 3-1. They took time to settle, find composure and the suitable playing style needed to beat this physical and quick team. A top class reverse shot by Ben Withers set the standard for the day and was one of the three quality goals in the game.
The second game against Watford Grammar was of better quality and intensity. The boys played some textbook passing formations which the opposition couldn’t defend against. In the second half the boys stepped up the pressure and scored two fantastic goals through open play to win the match 2-0. This was a tighter game for the boys, which meant the quality and toughness was only going to increase from this point on.
The third game was one that they knew would be challenging and one they had to win. Ipswich looked skilful and quick in their previous games, but nothing the Gresham’s boys couldn’t match. This was an exceptional game of hockey with some quality individual and team play. Our super substitute Hudson De Lucchi won a critical stroke which was effortlessly scored by Harry Scott, who was Miss Thornbury’s player of the tournament. This raised Gresham’s confidence and belief which lead to the boys scoring their second goal from a quick counter attack, leaving Ipswich questioning where their defence was at 2-0. This was a game Ipswich didn’t want to lose; they continued to pressure and challenge the Gresham’s defence and our outstanding keeper, Jonathan West (F). A lack in concentration in the final seconds saw Ipswich steal one goal back, leaving the final score at 2-1 to Gresham’s.
The final game was against The Perse; the boys wanted to secure a final win and went out playing simple but skilful hockey, passionate to finish on a high. Once again, the skill and speed of the Gresham’s midfield and forward players tore The Perse defence apart, leading to Gresham’s scoring three top class goals from open play. The boys kept their best hockey to the end and demonstrated why they deserved to go through to the Triangular Finals with a final score of 3-1.
Overall, it was an excellent day of hockey and success for the U14 Boys and coaches. Good luck this week in the Triangular Finals Tournament at the UEA.
Team: J. West (F), F. Gregory (H), E. Sheridan (W), A. Sheridan (H), H. Scott (F), A. Bullent (W), O. Smith (H), R. Mackenzie (T), B. Withers (T), T. Kinder (T), S. Hardy (T), W. Miller (T), A. Coleman-Eke (W) and H. De Lucchi (T).