At 6am on Wednesday, 20th November Cranleigh Prep School’s U12 girls’ hockey squad set off up to Rugby School to play in the IAPS National Finals. Twenty one schools competed in this event, coming from as far afield as Edinburgh and Bristol.
In total the Cranleigh Prep team played seven matches, totalling 103 minutes of fast-paced, seven-a-side hockey and, during this time, they managed to score 13 goals and only concede one (and that included a penalty flick shoot out).
Having won their group, they beat Bromsgrove in the quarter finals before having to face Danes Hill in the semis. They had already played this excellent Danes Hill side twice in the season and had narrowly won both of them. However, it wasn’t to be three in a row and Cranleigh conceded their only goal of the day, just 10 seconds before the end of normal time.
Despite this disappointment, the team picked themselves up and went on to win their last match against King’s Hall School. Discipline, determination, strength of character and the desire to win the ‘rose gold’ bronze medals they had spotted on the presentation stand saw them through.
Toby Batchelor, team coach, says “The victory was great but, what was most impressive, was their graciousness in the defeat in the match just before. The Danes Hill and Cranleigh Prep teams have tremendous respect for each other, which was proven by the fact that many of the Danes Hill team came to support Cranleigh Prep during the penalty flick shoot out for third/fourth place. Danes Hill won gold that day, Cranleigh Prep won ‘Rose-Gold’, but hockey was the real winner!”