On Friday the U11A Hockey team went across to Millfield School to play in the IAPS National Finals against the top 24 teams in the country, with the opportunity to become national champions. The girls faced 5 group games, with the top 2 qualifying for the cup quarter-finals. The girls were coming into the final’s day in superb form, as they remain unbeaten this season.The first game was against Blundell’s where Cheam played some excellent hockey considering it was the start of the day, eventually becoming 1-0 winners with a well worked goal.Cheam then faced Rowan Prep where the girls didn’t really get going during the game, even after going 1-0 up early in the game. Rowan pulled one back towards the end of the first half, but Martha popped up at the back post in the last few moments of the second to secure a 2-1 win.The 3rd match against St.Cedd’s, where again the girls didn’t get going and were struggled to make progress, though the girls managed to come away with another 1-0 win.The 4th game would seem to provide more of a challenge against Ashford, who had also won all their games up to this point. That being said Cheam defended well, with Veronica Owings barking the orders from the back, pinning the opposition in their half. However, it seemed we could not find a breakthrough, but the girls forced a goal in the second half coming away again, 1-0 winners.Going into the final group game against Bromsgrove, we knew a draw would be good enough to top the group. This would be pivotal as finishing top would mean playing an easier option in the cup quarter finals from Pool A. The girls seemed they wanted to carry on the trend of winning by 1 goal, as they went 2 goals up but Bromsgrove managed to pull one back, meaning a 2-1 win was secured.The girls were thrilled to secure their place in the cup quarter-final meaning they were already finishing as part of the top 8 in the country, a huge achievement. It was now time for the girls to gather themselves and go through the gears to show how good they could be, as they nothing to lose. They faced Daneshill in the quarter finals where Cheam started playing their best hockey of the day, passing and moving the ball through different channels, going on to win 2-0. It was another defensive masterclass, Aurelia mopping up lose passes, with Freya making a 1v1 save to keep the girls in it too.The Cheam girls rolled onto the semi-finals where they faced a very organised Hoe Bridge who’s superb defending meant the game finished 0-0, leading to 5 minutes of golden goal. A number of attacks were created by Cheam, who knew it would go to a penalty shootout if a goal wasn’t scored. Nevertheless, it was Martha again who swept the ball towards goal which was deflected by Florence into the net. The girls celebrated greatly and had earned their place in the final.The girls had already achieved the best finish from Cheam at the Nationals by getting to this point, but they wanted to go all the way. The match was against Blundell’s who had also reached the final. The 1st half finished 0-0, and with some last few bits of encouragement they went out for the second half where Issie managed to win a short corner. It was a well worked routine slipping left to Florence, after being injected by Camilla, who swept the ball into the bottom corner. They held on for a 1-0 victory and become IAPS National Champions.They deserved everything they have achieved due to the amount of effort they had put it in on the day, as well as across the term to get to this point. The girls will look to finish their season unbeaten, in their match on Wednesday away at Eagle House.