HOT on the heels of the success of its Under 11s team reaching the national finals of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) tournament, the Barrow Hills’ Under 13 boys’ side has qualified to compete in the national finals of the In2Hockey U13 tournament.
The ultimate conclusion to the competition will see Barrow Hills – the only school representing Surrey - pitched against the top 10 independent and state schools in the country.
The team travelled to Woking Hockey Club to compete in the regional championship against the top 20 schools from the southern counties.
There were four pools of five and Barrow Hills was drawn in pool A. The first game of the day was against a very strong Bedes team, who had won the Sussex section of the tournament previously.
Barrow Hills, wearing their new playing shirts, produced an excellent performance winning 2-0. It proved to be the catalyst for the rest of the day’s events and set the tone for an exciting day of hockey.
The second game was against Marylebone. For the first five minutes Barrow Hills were shaken by the size and physicality of the opposing team, however the squad soon settled down and used their attractive passing game and skills to break down Marylebone’s defence, resulting in a comfortable 4-0 victory.
Next up was a match against Buckinghamshire champions Dr Challoner, resulting in another easy 4-0 win.
Going into their final pool game against St Andrew’s Prep, Barrow Hills were sitting top of the group. With a change in pitch from a water-based to a sand-based astro the boys had to adapt quickly.
After a tentative start Barrow Hills’ players soon found their stride winning the game 4-1, to put them top of the group and securing a commanding goal difference of plus-13
After lunch, Barrow Hills played pool B runners-up Simon Langton in the quarter-final. After a ferocious first five minutes from both teams, Barrow Hills took the lead. But Simon Langton instantly levelled the match, which finished 1-1 resulting in penalty flicks. After the first round it was 2-2. Following the second round there was still nothing separating the teams.
That led to sudden death – Barrow Hills held their nerve and with some great maturity and expert goalkeeping they managed to win after scoring twice to book their place in the semi-finals.
They faced Trinity – first in the London section. Barrow Hills showed no fear and quickly took possession of the game, and were 2-0 up. The team topped off a fine performance by firing another fantastic team goal. Trinity scored a late consolation but the 3-1 scoreline was enough to send Barrow Hills through to the final – and earning them a place in the National Championship finals. With no time to dwell on this significant achievement, Barrow Hills had a game to play against St Lawrence, who scored within 30 seconds immediately taking the wind out of the Surrey champions’ sails.
They needed a quick response which they found after a few minutes, summing up the fantastic team ethic that had been with them throughout the day.
After 10 minutes the score was still locked at 1-1. St Lawrence then took the initiative and scored a very well-worked goal to go 2-1 ahead. That forced Barrow Hills to commit more men forward to get an elusive equaliser which resulted in St Lawrence catching them on the counter attack in the dying seconds to make it 3-1 – Barrow Hills’ only defeat of the day.
Coach Mr Conway said, “I am so proud of the whole squad and in particular their maturity and sportsmanship on and off pitch.
“The teamwork and passion witnessed throughout the day reflects the phenomenal achievement of this extremely talented group of boys. We now look forward to travelling to Nottingham to compete in the National Championship on May 12. 2017.”