When everyone else in the country was sitting back and enjoying the Coronation, the Cheam 1st team hockey girls were off to Nottingham as the South Central Schools’ representatives in the England Hockey finals, with the top 8 schools in the country. Our first game was against the South East (Cranleigh), and we immediately discovered that the pace and skill of the game were faster, quicker, and more physical than anything we had encountered on a hockey pitch. We found ourselves a goal down and managed to pull it back to 1-1, before taking a well-deserved lead by the half time whistle. With 3 minutes to go, Cranleigh continued to attack wave on wave and they managed to pull one back to 2-2. We just couldn’t retain control of the game with a minute to go, and Cranleigh pushed hard for the victory, grabbing it in the last seconds of the game to break some Cheam hearts!The girls had to put that disappointment aside and focus on their next match against the Midlands (King’s High School). It was another close encounter with the margins being minimal, it was more physical than the last and it took a few minutes for Cheam to find our foothold in the game. We had fallen down 2-0 in the first half, so it was amazing to see the girls come out in the second half and control proceedings. We swiftly clawed back a goal to make it 2-1, while the midlands goalkeeper was on point and fought hard to keep us from finding that all important equalizer.We went into our last match against the East (The Perse School) feeling a little disheartened following previous tight encounters. But the girls stepped up and put on a show in the first half, during which we played some fantastic hockey and battled courageously to a 0-0 halftime score. The following 12 minutes were a bit of a blur, and we lost our composure, allowing Perse to run amok and score three easy goals to secure a comfortable victory.The girls were understandably exhausted and crushed to be bottom of the group and playing in the 7th/8th play off at the end of a hard fought day where their main objective was to be England’s hockey champions. But the girls rallied for each other and put aside their own personal disappointment to ensure they all went out and enjoyed their final every match together at Cheam. They had AKS Lytham school representing the North West of England in this play off, and the girls completed their 8-month long hockey season on a high with a comfortable 4-1 win to earn 7th place!The achievement of finishing in 7th place for the entire United Kingdom is quite incredible, and we could not be prouder of this group of girls; they balance their commitment to hockey alongside their academic studies, going to school 6 days a week, playing a wide variety of different sports, and partaking in a wide array of school life that means they give up what very little free time they have to train, and they do so with the biggest grin on their faces. They leave a sporting legacy at Cheam that will be difficult to match! Thank you to our parents for being the finest cheerleaders we could have asked for; your enthusiasm and encouragement over the last eight months has been world class, and the girls and coaches have been extremely fortunate to have your support on this incredible experience!

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