The U18 Boys 1st XI surpassed all expectations to reach the tournament semi-final in what was a fantastic day of hockey.
However, the day started with a very nervous performance against Abingdon; at 3-1 down with two minutes to go we had to rely on the individual brilliance of Askins and Lyne paired with the clinical finishing of Robson to save us from defeat. 3-3.
The second match was against our local rivals, Framlingham. This was very much a one sided affair with Woodbridge dominating from start to finish. The final score was 3-0 but it could have been more if not for spoilt chances and good saves. 3-0.
The Framlingham result was clearly the catalyst for the day’s events as we surged towards victory in the third game against Reigate Grammar. 3-0.
Spectators were now starting to talk about Woodbridge and the style of hockey they were playing (fluent, energetic, skilful and clinical).
However, we were brought back down to earth with a bang in the fourth game against an average yet energetic Simon Langton team. Woodbridge were 2-1 up with two minutes to play but managed to throw it away after some lapses in concentration. 2-3.
We now knew that only wins in the next two games would stand us with a chance of progressing through to the cup semi’s (top of each group).
The next game was against Eltham College (beat us last year in the plate quarter final). This was a closely fought contest that ended 1-1. The result could have gone either way but in the end probably resulted in the fairest outcome.
The final game of the group was against the Perse School. Cambridge. We played by far the best hockey of the day to secure an easy 2-0 victory. At this point we had accepted now that we would be, once again, playing in the plate.
We needed Framlingham to beat Abingdon (highly unlikely based on the day’s results). However, Fram managed to score with the last touch of the game to send us through to the cup semi-finals against the hosts, St George’s College.
The cup semi-final saw a tired, yet very motivated Woodbridge team play the favourites, St George’s College who had not yet dropped a point during the day.
We started very nervously and conceded within four minutes. We fought back valiantly and scored two quick goals with only two minutes to spare (2-1). We were then caught by a devastating break one minute from time. Final whistle, 2-2…extra time. We had five more minutes to play; at the end of the time the team winning would progress to the final. Unfortunately the opposition scored again with a minute to go sending them through to the final.
I would like to say a massive congratulations and thank you to the boys involved for the maturity, quality and commitment they showed throughout the day. It was a privilege to be part of it and they should be very proud of the part they played in making it such a success.
A special mention must go to James Bellhouse and Callum Askins; both these boys were outstanding and shone above any other individuals consistently through the day.
Man of the Tournament: James Bellhouse