Cranleigh Prep’s U13 girls’ hockey team went to Hurstpierpoint College on Tuesday (25.9.18) for the IAPS Regional Qualifier, full of confidence on the back of some excellent recent performances. There was a lot of excitement ahead of the day due to the team’s success last year in the U12 format of the competition and it was clear that the squad wanted another chance to play in the National Finals.
The first game was against Fettes, a well-respected prep school from Edinburgh, and undoubtedly a tough opening fixture. Cranleigh Prep got off to the perfect start with two quick goals by Grace H, continuing her fantastic recent scoring run. This gave the girls an early advantage which they never looked like conceding and they added to the score line with two further goals in a 4-0 win.
The next pool game was a tight and nervy affair against Danes Hill, a team Cranleigh Prep had beaten comfortably the week before, but it was a far tougher challenge this time round. Going 0-1 down meant the girls had to stay calm and fight their way back into the match, which they did and ended up winning 3-1 through another two goals by Grace and one by Effie S.
The final two pool matches were more comfortable as the girls won the first 4-0 against Culford School, with Millie J scoring her first two goals for the team. This was followed by a dominant 6-0 win versus a gallant The Hawthorns School. Sasha P starred with a hat-trick and Charlotte B added a brace.
By topping Group B, Cranleigh Prep would play Brambletye in their quarter final, knowing a win would take them into the semis and also qualify them for the National Finals. Victory was secured with a fantastic 5-0 win as both Grace and Charlotte scored two goals each. The semi-final against Ardingly turned out to be the toughest game of the day as Cranleigh Prep was pushed all the way in an exciting, close game full of quality. A penalty corner strike from Sasha was cancelled out by a superb Ardingly equaliser, but Grace popped up with the winner just before half time.
After a long day in the sun and six tiring games, the girls somehow managed to produce an excellent performance in the final against a talented Holme Grange team. Two goals from Charlotte and a key third from Effie secured the gold medal for the girls and sent them into the National Finals at Millfield next month as Regional Champions.