Reed’s takes Gold at the National Finals Posted - 10/05/2019

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The 1st XI hockey team travelled to the Lee Valley hockey centre in the Olympic Park to compete in the England Hockey U18 Tier 1 National finals having qualified through six league games (five wins and one draw) and an away quarter-final win at Warwick.

In the semi-final they faced a strong Dean Close side and were very much on the back foot in the first twenty minutes. However, the team showed real character and hung in the game before becoming the better side throughout the second half. Both defences excelled and changes were few and far between. The game finished 0-0 so it was decided by penalty strokes; at 4-4 it went to sudden death and both Isaac Farrant and Josh Redstone converted their second strokes before Oscar saved the opponents’ second stroke, putting the team through to the finals against Whitgift.

With a lot of travelling support in the final we started well, earning some early penalty corners but were unable to convert and Whitgift fought back to win some of their own. The game remained goalless as two very good sides nullified each other; both goalkeepers and penalty corner defences excelled.

As the game headed into the final minute, Whitgift had a short corner but once again the Reed’s defence held firm before launching a counterattack. In the dying seconds, the ball was played in the Whitgift circle, forcing a short corner. The full-time whistle went but, to add to the drama, a short corner awarded before the whistle is still played out. The boys executed a perfect corner under immense pressure with Isaac Farrant’s flick being deflected into the goal by Marcus Jones to seal an incredible 1-0 win! National Champions for the first in our history—a moment never to be forgotten.

One of the most amazing facts is that nine members of the squad hadn’t played hockey before they came to Reed’s. As a cohort they had won bronze at the U14 Nationals, silver at the U16 Nationals before this gold at U18s. With no new players joining over that time, it’s a credit to the hard work of the boys and our coaches that such progression could be achieved.

Ben Edwards, Director of Sport & Head of Hockey

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