Under 14 Boys West Country Tour
The Under 14 Boys Hockey squad enjoyed an intense weekend on tour, playing some of the top sides in southern England and watching some first rate hockey as well.
On Friday evening, the first fixture saw The Perse play RGS High Wycombe at Maidenhead Hockey Club’s water-based pitch. Although The Perse enjoyed much of the possession, RGS showed them how to be more clinical in front of goal and won the game 3-1. The game had an added dimension with Dan Bradley overseeing the fixture, formerly a coach at The Perse, now the Head of Hockey at RGS.
Following the game the tour group travelled on to Cholderton, a few miles from Stonehenge, which made for a pleasant morning visit on the Saturday. After soaking up some of the local history (and sausage rolls), the group headed west to Somerset for a triangular fixture, as The Perse tested themselves against Whitgift and Millfield, widely acknowledged as two of the country’s top sporting schools and regular winners of national competitions.
A strong Whitgift outfit had seen off Millfield earlier in the day and before The Perse v Whitgift game, the sides were treated to a fine display of hockey as Whitgift and Millfield competed at Boys 1st XI level in a hotly contested game. The team were able to see penalty corners taken with aplomb, the excitement of a penalty stroke and some superb free flowing hockey.
When the spotlight fell on The Perse, the team lifted their game and they offered genuine competition to their Whitgift counterparts. Had they been able to capitalise on some penalty corner opportunities, the scoreline could easily have been different from the 2-0 in Whitgift’s favour.
As Whitgift headed home to Croydon, Millfield took to the pitch. Their never say die attitude and the strength of their central players offered another fine test, but a stunning strike from Hugh Bishop saw the scores level at half-time in this tense encounter. The Perse had not played at their absolute limit in the first half (as they were vociferously reminded) and Millfield proved hard to break down in the second half. However, to break the deadlock it was a moment of individual skill from James Woodward that proved to be the decisive winner.
After an early start on the Sunday, Reading was the venue for an intensive day of hockey at a top National League Premier club. During the morning, The Perse joined Reading Colts for a training session led by Richard Springham (Men’s 1st XI captain and England international)and Jonny Codling (Reading 1st XI forward). Richard and Jonny then took responsibility for a team each as The Perse played Reading Colts in a game that saw some fantastic attacking hockey. Hugh Bishop scored again to ensure The Perse ended up 1-0 winners of a game played in an excellent spirit.
After lunch in the clubhouse, everyone gathered by the main pitch to see Reading Men’s 1st XI take on Exeter University in their National League Premier match. Reading went into the half-time break with a 1-0 lead, which flattered Exeter, but an early Exeter goal in the second half set up an exciting few minutes before Reading scored freely from a succession of penalty corners. The final score of 4-2 reflected Reading’s domination
The whole squad enjoyed the tour, and it was pleasing to see the players maintain the intensity and energy they showed on tour to secure a 2-1 win over Oundle on the Tuesday after their return to Cambridge. The Leys remain as the last fixture of the term and the squad will want to build further on the momentum that has been gained from an invigorating and exciting tour.
Thanks to RGS High Wycombe, Millfield School and Reading Hockey Club for their outstanding hospitality.