WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE THE JOY AND COLLECTIVE DELIGHT OF THE WHOLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY AS OUR U16 GIRLS WON THE NATIONAL TITLE IN SWANSEA YESTERDAY.
Having successfully defended their County and Regional titles last term, the U16 Christ College team travelled to Swansea on Thursday 16th February looking to become the first girls’ side in their school’s history to win a National hockey title. With only one loss in 10 matches, to a very strong Ysgol Glan Taf side, the stage was set for a day of excellent hockey and stunning drama.
Although usually notoriously slow starters, Christ College came out of the blocks in their first match with significant intensity, leading Castell Alun 4-0 by half time and then 7-0 by the end – goals coming from Ransome, Garrett, Edwards with a brace each for Mapps and Jeffes. A second pool game against Ysgol Bro Dinefwr also proved no obstacle, with a goal in each half from Garrett and then Mapps, securing passage into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win. The last pool game saw Christ College play Ysgol Cwm Rhymni, with the intention of winning the game so as to avoid Ysgol Glan Taf in the semis. Again the girls delivered a dogged, hard-working performance, scoring a goal in each half through Jeffes and Ransome and once again running out 2-0 winners.
Safely into the semi finals, Christ College now faced the runners-up of Pool B, Ysgol Glan Y Mor in an epic and exhausting struggle to reach the final. After a very tight set of opening exchanges, in which CCB were dominant, the match was turned on its head when Glan Y Mor were awarded a penalty. This could have been the defining point in the finals had Christ College goalkeeper Davies not produced an outstanding reflex save to rescue the situation. As the second half then progressed, it was Christ College’s turn to have the opportunity to break the deadlock with a penalty corner. This time the result was emphatic as Mapps drag flicked the ball into the left hand corner of the goal. Christ College then saw out a tense few minutes to earn their place in the National Final, much to the relief of players and coaches.
The U16 National Final between Christ College and Glan Taf was a game that will live long in the memory of those who played in it or watched it. An end to end dogfight, with few clear cut chances and players giving every last drop of energy to the cause. As the game drew to a close the 2 sides could not be separated but in a dramatic twist of events, Glan Taf were awarded a penalty corner with the last play of the game. With 5 Christ College players on the goal line against 10 players from Glan Taf around the D, CCB held out for 4 corners in a row before the ball was finally cleared to send the match to penalties. The drama was far from over. Up stepped the 5 penalty takers from each side – CCB scored, Glan Taf scored, CCB missed, Glan Taf scored, CCB scored, Glan Taf missed leaving it 2 all after 3 rounds. The next 2 penalties from each side were also missed sending the final to sudden death. With order reversed the girls went again knowing that any miss would be decisive. Glan Taf scored, CCB scored, Glan Taf missed, CCB could not score; Glan Taf missed again, CCB could not score again. Finally on the fourth round of sudden death Glan Taf missed and up stepped Jeffes to take her penalty. With 43 goals this season already, none will have been more monumental than the one she converted in that moment. Christ College had won. Cue cheers and tears from the players and some from the coaches. After 8 semi-finals and 3 finals in 8 years, the promised land had been reached at last. U16 Captain P Lawley and her team had won through skill, hard work but undeniably through courage and fortitude, writing a new page in the history of girls’ sport at Christ College. It was beautiful and horrible all at the same time but in the end it was also simply magical sport in its purest form.
This is not the end of the story of continued hockey success at Christ College with the U18 Girls in the National Finals on 2nd March, the U14 Girls having just won the South Powys championship and the U12 and U18 Boys’ Hockey teams already holding the titles of Welsh Champions. Watch this space!
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