Having qualified as Norfolk Champions, the U13A Boys’ Squad took part in the East Schools Championships at Bedford Hockey Centre.
After a slightly sluggish start in their first two matches (a win and a draw against a couple of the weaker teams in the group), the boys then played some brilliant hockey to outplay Bishop’s Stortford College and Felsted School, winning both matches 3-0. They then came up against a strong Ipswich side; having dominated much of the game, they unfortunately came away with only a 2-2 draw. This meant that whatever happened in their final group match, they would finish up as runners-up in the group and thereby play the winners of the other group in the semi-final.
Their opponents in this semi-final were The Perse, who had looked dangerous all day. The game looked for all the world as though it was going to be decided by penalty flicks, but with the score still 0-0, and with just 15 seconds left on the clock, Perse got the decisive goal, meaning that by the narrowest of margins, the Gresham’s Prep team had missed out on claiming one of the two available qualifying places for the National Schools’ U13 Finals in May.
A disappointing end to the day, but nonetheless the boys should be very proud of the standard of hockey they produced.
On Wednesday the U11 Girls had their turn for their long awaited East Finals at Redbridge. Having qualified back in November as convincing winners of the Norfolk Schools Championships the girls have worked hard to keep some hockey going, squeezing in sessions between their many other commitments.
In the group stages the girls had a great start with two straightforward, 2-0, wins against New Hall and Kingshott Schools, they then faced a very impressive King’s College, Cambridge side who had beaten other teams in the group by eight goals! The girls fought hard to keep them at bay, keeping the scores level until seconds before half time, however their precision passing and clinical finishing proved too much and eventually they lost 4-0.
Despite this disappointment the girls picked themselves up at group runners up and moved on to their quarter final opponents, Framlingham College. This was a side who had won the East IAPS round and finished 7th at the Nationals, a tough proposition. The team put together a hugely strong first half and went 2-0 up. The second half was tense, Framlingham pulled one back with 5 minutes to go and then won short corner after short corner after the final whistle. The girls defended valiantly and somehow kept the equaliser out.
This victory put the girls into the play off group for 1st-4th places, in itself a fantastic achievement. The fought hard in their remaining matches, narrowly losing 1-0 to Bedford Girls School and then losing again to eventual winners King’s College. In their final match against Felsted School they sped to an impressive 3-0 lead but sadly the tolls of a long day of hockey took hold and a very tired team struggled against a strong comeback, eventually drawing 3-3.
This left them with 4th position for the day out of the 16 schools competing. A result they should all feel very proud of!