On Sunday 17th November, our CPS squad of nine boys headed up to the IAPS Football 7 a-side National Finals. After qualifying for this in early October at the Regional Finals held at Dane’s Hill School, the boys headed up to Culford School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
They travelled up the night before and stayed in a local amenity, so that the journey was a lot shorter on the Sunday morning. This proved to be successful, except for the one family who suffered a breakdown and a four hour wait in a services on the M25. However, the boys got a good night’s sleep and woke up to an all-you-can-eat breakfast, which they took full advantage of.
The matches started at 11am and it is always important that you don’t lose your first match, so a 0-0 draw with Hall Grove (later semi finalists) was a good start. After this game, the boys played consistently excellent football, both in a defensive shape as well as attacking with imagination and verve. Winning the remaining group matches, 2-0 v Wetherby, 1-0 v Millfield, 2-1 v Summer Fields and 1-0 v Moulsford meant that CPS topped the group, having conceded one goal.
After a hearty lunch, provided by Culford School, we played a quarter final against Port Regis School and blew them away in the first few minutes, running away with a 5-0 winning margin by full time. Disappointingly Evan G twisted his ankle and was out for the rest of the tournament, which was a big blow for the squad.
The semi final was a lot closer, facing Brighton College who we had previously drawn with at the Regional Qualifier. However, another sterling performance from all of the boys, meant that we won 2-0 and relatively comfortably. Getting to the final was a fantastic achievement and one that was certainly not an expectation. However, the manner in which we played all day gave us the belief that we deserved to be there and were good enough to go one step further.
The final was a tense match against Bishop Stortford and, as the six minute each way was so short and extra time had been removed due to light concerns, the first goal was always going to be vital. Sadly, it went against us, in a first half that we looked slightly nervous in and at half time Bishop Stortford were deservedly ahead. However, the second half was a fantastic show of resolve and determination, in which Cranleigh Prep threw everything at their goal. The Bishop Stortford goalkeeper played extremely well and pulled off a couple of superb saves to keep the scoreline 1-0 and the time ran out before we were able to find an equaliser.
Chris Stone, team coach, says “Whilst Bishop Stortford were worthy winners, there was immense pride in how the Cranleigh boys played and more importantly their reaction to the disappointment at the final whistle. The tournament was run exceptionally well and Culford School were wonderful hosts. This will be a day that will live long in the memory for all concerned”.
Louis Pl (gk)
Bill W (c)
Toby R (1 goal)
Jamie F (2 goals)
Casimir K (1 goal)
Max F (1 goal)
James M (8 goals)