Perse hockey captain reflects on successful season
The Perse boys’ 1st XI hockey team enjoyed a successful season after reaching the quarter-finals of the England Hockey U18 National Schools Cup.
They ultimately lost 2-1 at home to Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, having knocked out The Leys (6-0), Framlingham College (4-1) and Oundle School (1-0) en route to the last eight of the competition.
Captain Jonny Howard (Upper Sixth, left) was delighted with the performance of the squad throughout a season in which this was their only defeat.
He said: “We were really pleased with how the season went. We thought we had a good chance with a strong group of Lower Sixth players and our group from Upper Sixth as well.
“For the quarter-final, quite a big crowd came to watch the first half, which was really good, and we went 1-0 up early on.
“We really dominated them and had other opportunities, but they scored from two out of three short corners in the second half and that was it.
“We knew it would be our toughest game, but it was disappointing because it’s a game we could have won if we had put away a couple more chances.
“It was our only loss of the season though, so we were really happy overall.”
During the campaign, many of the team also travelled to Spain for an action-packed tour, which saw them face local sides Barcelona, Castellfedels and Iluro, while the Perse U15 side took on Athletic Terrassa.
Jonny, whose sister is Great Britain and England hockey star Tess Howard (OP 2017) said: “We had a mixture of Upper and Lower Sixth from the first and second teams and we won all three of our games and even got to play at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.
“We visited the Sagrada Familia and the Nou Camp (home of FC Barcelona) for a tour and we went to Espanyol’s ground to watch them play Real Sociedad, as well as having a chance to go to the beach.
“Everyone really enjoyed it and it was a nice way for some of us to end our time with hockey at school.”
Jonny, who also plays for Cambridge City U18, added that he had learned a lot and enjoyed many great experiences through hockey at The Perse.
He said: “Playing in the U14 national finals at Lee Valley, the England hockey stadium, was a really big thing and going to Amsterdam on tour the following year was a real highlight and really good for team building.
“When I joined in Year 9, I was quite shy and I probably wouldn’t have expected to play in the first team, but the coaches here are of a really high level.
“They’ve always been very supportive not just with me, but so many players and have helped them come on so much, especially with the tactical understanding of the game.”