Under 11 girls' hockey team are IAPS National Champions 2017

On Friday 10 November, the Under 11 girls' hockey team from St George's Junior School became IAPS (The Independent Association of Prep Schools) National Champions.

Director of Sport at the Junior School, Mrs Waters, has written a report to detail the girls' journey to the final and how they managed to become champions.

"We stayed overnight on Thursday 9 November, before waking on Friday morning for a team breakfast, walk and stretch. Due to the results of the draw, we started our campaign late in the day, so took our time to arrive at the venue, a long day ahead was awaiting us. 

Our first game was at 11.15am, the girls warmed up as the game went on and managed to deliver three points, despite not finding top gear. Game 1 v Witham Hall won 1-0. The girls played their next game right away, with only 5 minutes recovery before the start. They played fast, devastating hockey, scoring three excellent goals to win against Abberley Hall 3-0. The girls had 45 minutes off before their next game and didn't manage to start with the same intensity in game 3 against Derwent Lodge. We conceded an early goal and didn't manage to score within the remaining 7 minutes despite having numerous chances, the final score 0-1

We re-grouped and the team showed the early signs of a strong and determined group as they went on to play against Holy Cross in game 4. Holy Cross were second in our group. St George's scored a fantastic straight strike from a penalty corner on the half time buzzer and furthered that lead in the second half, winning 3-0. In game 5, we played against Blundell's School, who we had played twice at the King's College tournament on our travels earlier in the term. The girls were strong and transferred the ball beautifully, running fast through space. They won 2-0 which secured our position in the cup final, as no school could catch our total points in the group. In the last game against Sutton Valence, we drew 0-0 in a very tactical game.

St George's finished as Group Winners. We moved from the side of the pitch to the changing room as it was now cooler and the girls needed some down time.

In the quarter finals, we were to play against Hazlegrove who were runners up in their group. The girls were delighted to be amongst the top 8 in the country for Under 11 IAPS Schools and ready to progress through to the top 4. The game saw St George's move the ball fast, both in dribbling and ball pace when passing. The opposition found it very difficult, as when they covered one space, St George's girls would quickly find another. Restarts were quick and shots were on target and clinical. The girls won 2-0 and moved in to the semi-finals.

The girls returned to the changing room in high spirits. In the semi finals v Beeston Hall the team started nervously. At half time we were able re-gather and refocus. The girls came out in the second half a different team, full of confidence and belief. We were unable to find a goal in normal time, so golden goal was needed to separate the two teams. St George's girls came in to their own and their spirit and determination shone through. Unfortunately, one of the team, who was carrying a previous injury, turned her ankle and had to be carried off the pitch. That didn't deter the team though, with St George's quick to respond to take the lead. The girls took a quick circle free-hit and took an excellent shot at goal, which ricocheted in. St George's won 1-0 in golden goal and were in to the 2017 National Finals.

The girls found out that we would be playing a Scottish team in the final and for a short period of time celebrated being 'Champions of England', before realising that they had an opportunity, within minutes to become IAPS Champions. We discussed our game plan and the girls executed it perfectly. We won the final v Cargilfield School 1-0.

St George's, Weybridge became IAPS National Champions. They were united, purposeful and believed in one another. Their play and defence was delightful to watch. The girls received complimentary comments from the organisers, parents and staff alike about both their effort and ability. It was a very memorable day for St George's. Thank you to F. Clarke, J. Gall and Mr D. Shingles for their support and input on the day."

Congratulations to everyone that took part, both players and staff.

14 November 2017

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