U14 boys enjoy successful hockey tour
Over the weekend of 18-20 October, the U14A and U14B hockey teams travelled to Buckinghamshire for an intense weekend of hockey, playing on some first-class facilities and experiencing what it is like to be travelling and playing at a high level.
Departing school on Friday lunchtime, both teams played under lights against RGS High Wycombe, ending with matching 6-0 wins. The A team had their first taste of playing on a water-based pitch, enjoying the speed and reliability of the surface. Some free-flowing attacking play in both teams saw two hat-trick heroes emerge, Theo Bowen-Sanders and Lewis Naughton. Fraser Allen also added a brace in the U14A match.
After a restful Friday night in the hotel, the Saturday fixtures were the away leg of the LUPOSS League games against Stowe School. Travelling to Akeley Wood, the U14A boys shot out of the traps, scoring two goals in the first eight minutes. However, Stowe clawed their way back to 2-1 just after half-time, giving the wake-up call Perse needed to charge away to a 6-2 win. Quite remarkably, Theo Bowen Sanders scored all six, registering his second and third hat-tricks of the tour! The U14B team played straight afterwards and fought fiercely; Stowe’s defence remained resolute and an early goal meant their tactic of smothering Perse’s attacks could be used effectively. Though Perse came close, the elusive equaliser just couldn’t be found and the home team took the points 1-0. Back in High Wycombe the evening was spent watching Captain Phillips; it is fair to say the boys were not really up for a tour to play in Somalia anytime soon after seeing the gripping film.
Sunday saw the squads being hosted by Reading Hockey Club. With mixed A and B teams taking on Reading U14, Perse were more clinical in their finishing, emerging 3-0, 4-0, 0-1, 2-0 in four short matches. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Theo added yet another three to his weekend tally, whilst Tommy Albright scored two excellent goals. With the squad split in two, half played on the Premier Division pitch, whilst the other half enjoyed fine-tuning their skills with England and GB international Tom Carson, who plays for Reading 1st XI.
After lunch (and a monsoon-like deluge) the boys watched Reading Men’s 1sts take on Hampstead and Westminster HC in the NOW: Premier Division match. Several of the squad helped to clear some of the standing water from the pitch to enable the game to start and they were rewarded with the opportunity of being ball-boys for the match, getting as close to the action as you can without playing! Reading dominated and won in style 11-1. Such was the support of our squads (particularly for Reading and GB defender Richard Mantell) that after the game the boys were invited onto the pitch to meet a star-studded squad, peppered with Olympians and current internationals. It was a memorable end to a most enjoyable weekend. Both squads will be looking to build on their achievements as they play local rivals The Leys on Tuesday.