Report: National Hockey Finals
The Colts 1st XI Hockey team claimed fourth place at the U16 Nationals Finals, held over Wednesday and Thursday at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on the Olympic Park.
The team got off to the best possible start, edging a closely contested game against Reed’s 2-1 on Wednesday morning, with Isaac Hocking (C1 Hu) and Tom Hunt (C2 Hu) getting on the score sheet. The boys then unfortunately produced a flat first half against KES Birmingham later in the day, conceding two soft goals before half-time. A spirited second half saw Jack Thistlethwayte (C3 Hu) pull one goal back but KES Birmingham held on for a 2-1 win, despite Marlborough hitting the post in the final minutes.
Going in to the next day and with one group game left, the boys knew that they would have to beat Thirsk convincingly and hope that Reed’s could do the same against KES on pitch two if they were to reach the national final. The boys produced an excellent display on hockey inside the stadium, with James Ellis (C3 Hu) tapping in to open up his account, followed by a tidy corner routine which saw Thistlethwayte net his second of the tournament. When Hocking scored a backhand to go 3-0 up and Reed’s equalling the score vs KES, all looked very promising. Thirsk then got a goal back however Marlborough would still reach the National Final as it stood. The full-time whistle came and the big screen still said 3-0 Reed’s, however news over the tannoy system and the updated screen showed that KES had scored in the last 60 seconds, which sent them through to the National Final on the result between KES and Marlborough as goal difference and goals scored were both equal.
With the boys feeling gutted to have come so close to reaching the final, they played Cranleigh in the 3rd/4th play-off game on Thursday afternoon. Marlborough were slow to start and soon went 1-0 down. However the first attack in the game saw Captain Dom Coulson (C1 Hu) level proceedings and it would remain 1-1, with all 16 players giving it everything and emptying the tank to live with Cranleigh’s talented hockey players. Penalty strokes would decide the winner and unfortunately it was not to be with Cranleigh running out 5-3 victors on strokes.
Back in January, the boys were given the challenge of leading the way for Marlborough sport and set precedence for other sporting teams to follow in the future. They have achieved this objective by finishing fourth in the country.
Over these two days, they have gained the respect from school sport powerhouses and I hope they receive the recognition they deserve for this achievement.