England Hockey National Cup Semi-Final for the 1st Team
Last September, the Under 18A Girls Hockey team made a positive start to the England Hockey National Tier 2 Cup Competition beating both Bromsgrove School and Cheltenham College with some outstanding Hockey on display. These results secured a third-round spot in the England Hockey National Cup Competition for RGS Worcester for the first time.
The team continued to build on these achievements through the autumn and went on to defeat Malvern College in round three and Bristol Grammar School in round four, after a tense penalty shoot-out. This resulted in a home quarter-final against Wells Cathedral School. With the standard of performance and opposition increasing through each round, the RGS Worcester team stuck to their principles to achieve a 4-3 win in front of a supportive and thrilled home crowd.
With this victory, RGS Worcester were crowned winners of the West Division, earning a place in the National Cup semi-final against winners of the South Division, Sevenoaks School. The semi-final was played on Tuesday, 24 January.
Playing at home, Sevenoaks School put RGS under pressure high up the pitch with an effective press when RGS players were in possession. Despite being under intense pressure, RGS created some early opportunities to attack, but Sevenoaks were quick to interrupt the flow and opened the scoring 20 minutes into the half, adding a second goal before half time.
A positive team talk from Miss Walton gave the girls belief in their ability to get back into the game. This positive attitude was demonstrated at the start of the second half, with RGS winning several penalty corners and adapting their shape to counteract the Sevenoaks attack. However, the opposition extended their lead to pull 4-0 ahead during the second half. Despite this setback, in true RGS style, the team did not allow this to decrease their desire or intensity, stepping it up a gear to win a series of penalty corners, one of which resulted in a penalty flick being won by Katy Pitt. As Alice Atkinson confidently stepped up to the spot, the team huddled to listen to Captain Ellie Nicholls’s ever enthusiastic and reassuring advice whilst Alice accurately beat the goalkeeper to score. A further late goal from Sevenoaks made the final score a 1-5 loss for RGS Worcester.
The game reflected finer margins than the score line and spectators from both sides were hugely complimentary about the standard of the match. Reaching the semi-finals of the England Hockey National Cup Competition is an outstanding achievement of which the Under 18A Girls team should be immensely proud. The team was the only day school to progress to the semi-final stage and went further in the competition than any RGS Worcester team has previously achieved. Captain Ellie Nicholls said: “We are immensely proud of the season we have had and all that has gone into it from our players”.
Head of Hockey Liaison and Head of Hockey, Leanne Bennett, said: “As one of the last competitive fixtures for our Upper Sixth pupils, I want to particularly thank and reward the talent, commitment and effort levels of Alice Atkinson, Eleanor Fawcett, Emily Harper, Poppy Hobson, Elyssia Leori and Ellie Nicholls not only for this season but for all they have achieved for RGS Hockey, ensuring their shirts are hanging higher for the next players to reach”.
Congratulations to all the 1st XI squad this season which has included: