Perse hockey team put in determined display at national indoor finals
13 Jan 2020
The Perse girls’ U16 indoor hockey team produced a fine performance in the England Hockey Super 6s national schools finals at Bromsgrove School.
The team faced a tough opening group game against Repton School and found themselves two goals down before Alex Pitchford reduced the deficit with a penalty flick. May Busher twice went close to scoring, but Repton piled on the pressure to emerge 7-1 winners. Freya Stafford notably showed outstanding bravery and dedication to continue playing on throughout the tournament after picking up an injury blocking a Repton shot.
The Perse bounced back strongly against The Queen’s School. Their Chester opponents went in front early on, but Charlotte Rye converted Holly Smith’s cross from the left to equalise before half time. Holly Smith sealed a 2-1 victory by firing home, following a quick pass by Charlotte Rye after the latter’s initial shot had been saved.
The second day of the competition saw the girls take on eventual champions Cranleigh School in their first game. Cranleigh proved clinical at short corners as they took a 2-0 lead from set pieces in the first half. May Busher forced an excellent save from the opposition goalkeeper following a breakaway run soon after the interval before Bella Howarth pulled a goal back from a short corner.
In an end-to-end encounter, The Perse worked hard to seek an equaliser with Bella Ely driving forward on the right while goalkeeper Bibi Elliott was called into action several times to keep the score at 2-1. However, Cranleigh made it 3-1 from another short corner, while Bella Howarth was unfortunate not to score a late consolation.
Despite knowing their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals were slim, they were determined to round off the pool stage on a high against Millfield. Holly Smith edged the team ahead and Alex Pitchford blasted home a penalty flick, awarded after she had a shot saved on the line by a Millfield foot. Millfield scored from a short corner to get back into the match in the second half.
Charlotte Rye and Bella Izzard had short corners well saved, while Bibi Elliott was again in fine form to deny Millfield an equaliser as The Perse held out for a 2-1 win to finish third in their group.
Team coach Nicky Bareham said: “The girls should be extremely proud of the hard work, bravery and determination they showed throughout the whole indoor season. The team and staff were also extremely grateful to all the parents who made the trip to Bromsgrove and cheered them on throughout the weekend.”