With the U16s breezing through South Wales qualification, scoring 15 goals and conceding none and the U18s on an 11 match winning run, hopes were very high for both age-groups.
The U16 National Final saw the battle of the Welsh independent schools as Christ College took on northern champions Rydal Penrhos. Led by their captain, U18 Welsh international Ben Foxley, the Christ College team started brightly but had to wait until the 18th minute before a touch of class from Will Bush created the opener. This lead was then doubled and trebled within minutes as wave after wave of Christ College attacks resulted in a brace for left forward Gus Maughan, leaving the half-time score at 3-0.
In the second half, Christ College dominated possession and after a flurry of further chances, Maughan and Alex Humphreys added a fourth and fifth goal. Although Rydal were able to pull a goal back it was left to man-of-the-match Maughan to administer the final blow with a stunning fourth goal of his own – rounding and chipping the diving Rydal keeper – that handed Christ College their third U16 National title in five years.
With the U16s still celebrating, the U18s set out to defend their National title against the team they defeated in 2014, Eirias High School of Colwyn Bay. A tight exchange of chances and some ferocious tackling left the first 15 minutes goalless before U18 Welsh international Tom Wood secured the breakthrough for Christ College. Eirias, however, responded immediately with a goal of their own and the game quickly threatened to return to its previous stalemate.
It was Christ College, however, that found the way to up their game first, with two goals coming in quick succession from Ben Foxley and Callum Brayshaw, leaving the half time score at 3-1. It was Christ College, too, that reacted quickest after half time, with Adam Bailey adding a fourth to take full control of the match. To their immense credit, however, Eirias simply would not back down and a quick fire brace of goals with 15 minutes to go sent the score to 4-3 and set up a thrilling finale. With less than five minutes on the clock Christ College defended penalty corner after penalty corner as Eirias searched for an equalizer. Then with three minutes left on the clock Eirias won a penalty flick only to see their captain shoot wide of the left-hand post. Christ College then took control of the last 90 seconds, retaining possession in their opponent’s half and seeing out the end to a fantastic game of hockey.
Becoming U18 National Champions for a second year in the row finished off a stunning season for captain Will Trumper and his team, whose figures of 12 matches and 12 straight wins is unlikely to be matched for some time.
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