On Wednesday 1st March, our Under 16 Girls’ Hockey Team competed in the U16 National Tier 2 Finals of the Notts Sport Girls Schools Championships. Their captain, Caitlin Calverley (Fifth Form) has written a report on the incredible day below.
“After travelling to London the previous day, a trip to Zizzi’s, and a sleepover at Premier Inn, the girls were set the task of becoming Tier 2 National Champions. After walking to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and having a team photo taken, we walked out onto the pitch to warm up and play. It was great to see so many familiar faces supporting us.
From the start, Manchester High School were relentless, scoring a goal after just 13 minutes, giving them an early lead. Despite this, the girls did not let their heads drop and willed on by the constant cheer of the crowd we were able to score an equaliser with Evie Smith (Fourth Form) scoring a backhand past the keeper’s gloves. We finished the half still 1-1 even after some defensive chaos with Pippa Campbell (Fourth Form) receiving a green card and multiple defensive short corners.
Coming out of a stern but encouraging halftime chat urging the girls on, we were able to have an early well-crafted attack giving Florence Wood (Fifth Form) a great 1 on 1 opportunity with the keeper. Florence was able to skilfully beat the keeper and put us 2-1 up. Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalise on Manchester having a player green-carded. After a quick counterattack, Manchester were able to score a deflection on the back post after some miscommunication in defence. We were equal. The tension continued right until the last play with us hammering balls towards their goal, but to no avail.
The game went to a shootout. With the memories of our shootout with Wellington still fresh in our minds, we were ready. We knew the Manchester players were skilful, but we also knew how far Abigail Miles (Fourth Form) had come as a goalkeeper and with her confidence. After winning the toss, and electing to go first, I went to take the first shuffle.
After missing my shuffle, Florence stepped up and took hers, scoring it. Evie, Pippa and Lettice Allchorne (Fifth Form) also all scored their shuffles. Again, we were tied with four goals apiece after Abigail was able to save one of Manchester’s.
Manchester took the first shuffle in the sudden death, and I was forced to again take a shuffle. This time I was able to keep my cool and score. Abigail made a great save meaning that it was all down to Florence. Keeping a poker face not showing any fear, Florence walked over standing ready. She drew the keeper out and expertly rolled out and pushed the ball into the goal. She had done it, we had won!
The girls had firmly told the nation that Sutton Valence School was a force to be reckoned with as an all-round sporting School.
The constant support and cheering from Fourth and Fifth Form, teachers and parents throughout the match really helped to push us to this victory. I would like to say thank you for not just the support at this game but also the support that we have received at every match this season.
I would also like to say a huge thank you to Mr Braddick and Miss Giddings for their endless encouragement, support and wisdom throughout the season. It has been an honour to captain the girls this season. The girls should be proud of themselves and all that they have achieved.