Perse through to National Finals!
Following their successful defence of the Cambridgeshire title, the Under 16 Boys’ Hockey Team have now qualified for the National Indoor Hockey Finals. The schools competition takes place on January 11th-12th 2013 and offers the team the opportunity to compete with some of the best players in the country at their age group. They are hoping to emulate the recent successes The Perse has enjoyed at the national stages of this tournament.
Qualification was secured by finishing runners-up in the East Regional Finals at Bedford on November 18th. The team faced a tough start, playing Ipswich School (who were tournament winners) in a very tightly-contested match. Though the Perse lost 2-0, they saw an attacking penalty corner cleared off the line and an opposition corner just sneak in, and so ended the match ruing what could have been a hard-earned point with just a little bit of luck.
Next fixture was against Norwich, who looked to be the most competitive of the other teams. Perse took control and secured a comfortable lead before half-time, eventually running out 4-0 winners with a hat-trick for Mark Bishop doing the damage in front of goal. Feeling positive after this, the performance against Watford Grammar saw the team pegged back in a game that was to end 1-1. Watford fought hard and a penalty corner levelled the scores whilst Perse hit the frame of the goal twice from their own penalty corners, failing to get the elusive winner and leaving captain Adam Crockett wondering just how precise he was going to have to be with his placement.
At this point only wins against Forest School and hosts Bedford School would do if qualification was to be achieved. It turned out that the team would keep clean sheets in both games, in no small part down to some excellent defensive work by Conor Magowan, Chris Pepper and their keepers, Owen Good and Jamie Bolt. Forest School were beaten in a comfortable 5-0 win, including a superb individual finish from Hugh Bishop, as Dilip Goyal, Remin Harji and Leo Bridger ran riot with attacking moves. Mark Bishop added further to his personal tally, ending the day as top scorer with six goals. The final match against Bedford was a must win encounter and a 2-0 victory left a situation where only some ridiculous results could prevent the Perse from qualifying. The tension subsided as Norwich and Watford played out a draw leaving Perse clear of the chasing pack, who were left playing for third.
The whole team are to be congratulated on their achievement which is the reward for their dedication to training after school and in lunchtimes. The fast-flowing nature of the game is part of its attraction and the coaching team were delighted to hear so many comments from spectators and officials at the East tournament remarking on the exciting brand of hockey The Perse were playing. We shall take this forward to the nationals and look to make a significant impact at the top level.