Lacrosse U19s Feb 2016

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U19s in Championship Division

29 February 2016

On Friday and Saturday the U19 A and B teams travelled to Guildford to play in the National Schools Lacrosse Championships.

The A team went to the tournament with the main aim of getting in to the top division, the Championship Division, which would be the first time for an U19 Wally team since the tournament format changed in 2009. In order to do this, they had to be placed in the top two slots in their section so had to win at least 3 matches to do this. They sailed through their matches against Loretto and Charterhouse winning 9-1 and 5-0 respectively. Their strongest opposition came from Moreton Hall and Cheltenham Ladies College. In their match against Moreton Hall they just lost 3-2 so knew they had to beat Cheltenham to have a chance of coming in to the top 2. In what a game of truly 2 halves, our U19As started the second half with a 4-1 deficit and with only 7 minutes of play, it seemed like they had a mountain to climb! They pulled back the much-needed 3 goals and in true dramatic style, the final play of the match was a penalty shot taken by Fran Taylor-Lowen. With nerves of steel, Fran buried her shot in the bottom left corner and the team took  a much-needed victory against Cheltenham. With only 1 match to play against Westonbirt, the Championship was within touching distance. But the Westonbirt game caused more drama with a Westonbirt shot that landed outside the net given as a goal, giving them a 1 point victory over us. Hopes fading, it was down to the final match of the section between Moreton Hall and Cheltenham Ladies College to decide our fate and with Moreton winning by 1 goal and our superior goal difference, we were through to Championships for the first time!

This meant that our second day was a tough challenge as we were playing the top teams in the country – we more than held our own and matched every team we played. We won one match against St Mary’s Calne and only narrowly lost to LEH and Queen Annes – this took us into a play-off game against St Cats. In a very exciting match, which saw possession change many times, St Cats proved just too strong for us and we lost the match 4-2. The team should be incredibly proud of how hard they fought to get in to the Championship Division and can take pride in their top 16 position – a just reward for all their hard work this season.

The B team had a tough section on Friday with 9 matches against some strong opposition. They won one match and lost their other games but only by very small margins. This placed them into Division 2 for Saturday and the team set to work with great team spirit and determination to tackle all their matches with great success. They beat Heathfield 7-0, St Albans High 3-0 and North London 2-0, they drew with 3-3 with St Barts and only lost one match against Queen Annes 3-1. Improving with every match and with ferocious defending and determined attacking plays, the team went into the knockout round with growing confidence and self-belief. They met St George’s Harpenden in the quarterfinal who had knocked them out of the tournament last year – there was to be no repeat this year and the Bs confidently dispatched their opposition 3-1 and moved onto the semi-finals where they met Queen Anne’s again. In a much-improved performance, the team matched Queen Annes in all areas of the field but were not able to hold out their opponent’s attacking force and they lost the match 2-1. The B team showed the most incredible improvement over the 2 days and can be really proud of how well they pulled together to raise their game and achieve such amazing results.

A fantastic achievement for both teams – well done to all our players.

Mrs A Earnshaw-Punnett
Head of Lacrosse