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U16 Girls’ Regional Indoor Finals – Runners Up

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The U16 Girls’ Hockey Team was inspired by their U18 peers, who had risen to finalists in the English Indoor Hockey Tournament.

The U16 team, captained by Colette Fitzpatrick, had high hopes for their season having trained hard throughout the previous year, despite the cancellation of the 2020/21 indoor competition. Their hard work and commitment to training clearly paid off as the girls cantered to three wins from three at the county tournament at the start of November. As such, the girls qualified in the top spot for the South Central Regional Finals at the start of December.

GMS congratulates, Colette, Mabel, Rachel, Helena, Sophie, Lara, Poppy, Faye, Flo, Nicole, Ash and Milly.

Though feeling confident, resulting from their county success, the team was under no illusion that the Regional Finals would be easy. With their first-round match to be played against Wellington College, a team with longstanding indoor history, and finalists at the U18 competition, the GMS team knew they needed to start strongly. They did just that, cruising to a 4-1 victory.

Next, the team faced King Edward VI School, another school with years of indoor experience. Although an extremely dominant performance, with plenty of attacking opportunities, penalty corners and possession, the GMS team couldn’t quite get enough goals over the line, and endured their first loss of the season, with the scoreline finishing 2-1. Thanks to KES’s earlier defeat, this didn’t upset the table standings too much, but the GMS girls knew they couldn’t afford to drop any more points.

The girls revived themselves to win their next two games, the first a comfortable win against St Helen’s & St Katherine’s, followed by an extremely tight fixture against fellow Buckinghamshire qualifiers, Sir William Borlase. Captain Colette’s three years’ worth of indoor experience became evident in this fixture as she dominated the game, staying calm under some of the most pressurised situations, which included scoring a penalty stroke to win the game.

This victory put the team level on points at the top of the table with KES, but second on goal difference. A 9 goal win was required in the team’s final game against Farnborough, a tall order, but the team could not have been playing better. So, a place at the National Finals was well within their sights. The girls looked dead set to achieve this as they went into half time 5-0 up, thanks to a hat-trick from Helena. A further two goals quickly followed in the second half, but unfortunately, the team couldn’t quite land the final two goals to give them that all important top spot.

It isn’t usual that a 7 goal win ends in heartbreak, but on this occasion it did.

Miss Porter says, “I could not be prouder of the way the girls took on that 9 goal challenge, and indeed conducted themselves on and off the pitch, throughout the entire tournament. There is no doubt that there is more to come from this group of players. If the bounce-back ability from the U18 squad is anything to go by, then a National Finals will be on the cards in the future for this squad. Watch this space.”

How marvellous it is that this young team has achieved runners-up status.

GMS also thanks Miss Porter, the coaches and the close supporters for their continued help and guidance in bringing this group of hockey players to the final match.

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