U14s Runners Up in National Hockey Final
Stamford School’s under 14 hockey side capped off a fantastic season with a memorable day at the National Hockey finals at London’s Olympic Park, achieving second place nationally.
The Lee Valley Stadium, the home of England Hockey, was the stage for the finals, where the top eight schools from around the UK were placed in two pools of 4 with the top two sides from each group contesting the final. The U14’s earned their place at the prestigious event after winning the County Championships and then the East of England Regional Championships earlier in the year.
The team made a great start with a 2-0 victory over northern qualifiers Wilmslow High School in their opening game, goals coming from brothers Kieran and Cormac Calnan.
The second game pitched the side against one of the favourites Repton School. A tense encounter ensued which needed brilliant defending from Sulaiman Saleem and Fergus Cato to keep Repton at arm’s length for most of the contest. Though they did manage to score seconds before half time. The U14’s bravely fought back and were rewarded when Ben Pearson scored a penalty flick with just 60 seconds remaining to save the game.
Game three saw Stamford take on RGS Guildford knowing that a place in the final went to the winner. With Captain Eddie Harper and Caius Headley controlling the midfield chances and goals soon followed, with striker Joey Evison netting four times in a faultless performance to fire Stamford through to face the pre-tournament favourites Whitgift in the National Final.
In the final a Whitgift goal after three minutes put the U14’s on the back foot. A second on the stroke of half time gave Whitgift a commanding lead. Harry Tidswell and Eddie Harper led a great second half fightback and despite numerous chances the opposing keeper couldn’t be beaten. The final whistle signalled the end of what had been a fantastic journey for the side.
Director of Hockey Jack Cropper said “The boys were a credit to the school and should be hugely proud of their achievement. This group has a bright future and deservedly ended up in the top two in the country.”
Director of Sport David Laventure paid tribute to their achievements; “All the coaching staff under great stewardship from Jack have worked really hard and the success on the astro is obvious to all. They should be very proud and incredibly satisfied- a wonderful job.”