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U18 Girls’ National Indoor Hockey Finalists

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Miss Porter was very proud when witnessing the success of this amazing team of hockey players. She wrote, “I am very proud … that in their fourth year together as a squad, the U18 Girls’ Indoor Hockey Team have qualified for the England Hockey National Indoor Finals.”

The county tournament proved to be routine for the squad, as they claimed an 11-0 win over Wycombe High School, followed by a 5-1 win over Sir William Borlase.

GMS congratulates, Emily, Grace, Katy, Amelie, Immy, Izzy, Zoe, Tilly, Alba, Kiera and Kesia.

The next round was the South Central Regional Finals, which took place at Bradfield College. Despite winning the county tournament, which supposedly grants you an easier journey through the next round, the GMS squad were drawn in a tough group, which included Wellington College, King Edward VI School and Oxford High. Although the girls started brightly with a strong performance over Wellington, claiming a 2-1 victory, they stuttered slightly through their next two group games. However, the girls managed to clinch an all-important semi-final spot, where they faced friends and rivals, Sir William Borlase.

Knockout stages of competitions have enough riding on them without the added pressure of playing against your local rivals. This fixture had 7 years’ worth of history attached to it; with the girls going toe-to-toe with each other throughout their secondary school life. This team was the first to challenge the SWB dominance in the local area, so they were desperate to claim the bragging rights one final time.

It is fair to say the SWB began the sharper of the two teams, with Goal Keeper, Izzy being called into action on a number of occasions. However, the girls managed to settle into the game and took a 1-0 lead late in the first half. This gave the girls’ confidence going into the second half, and their dominance prevailed: they kept a clean sheet to win the game and march on to the South Central Regional Final.

The final was to be a re-run of the first fixture of the day: GMS vs Wellington College. Having beaten Wellington once already that day, the girls were confident that they could achieve what they’d been working towards for the last four years: a place in the National Indoor Finals. One more game. There was no slow start from the girls in the final; they dominated the game from start to finish. A well-worked move from the defence, all the way up to attack, claimed for GMS the first and only goal of the game. A 1-0 win was enough to take the girls through to GMS’s first ever EH National Final.

This is a monumental achievement. The girls have made history every year they have been at the school, but this has taken ‘making history’ to a new level.

Miss Porter believed that this squad possessed the qualities required to win on the bigger stage from when they first started playing indoors. However, there are so many obstacles that predicting success is difficult: “I never quite believed it would actually happen. There have been so many ‘nearly but not quite’ moments that I wondered whether I’d underestimated quite how hard it would be to get there. I was totally right that it was a hard feat to achieve, but I was completely wrong to question whether they could do it. Every set back they’ve had, they’ve taken in their stride and made it count when it really mattered in their final year together as a squad.”

Being one of the top 8 teams in the country is a phenomenal achievement, but no one in the team wants to stop now: there is the  National Finals to win. “Bring on Thursday the 13th of January.”

GMS also thanks Miss Porter and all the hockey coaches for the way they have built up the confidence and skill of these young players.

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