Hockey: U15s Retain Sussex County Cup
On Thursday 10 March, the Bede’s U15 boys' hockey team embarked on their campaign to retain their Sussex title and came up against a well organised and clinical Lancing College opposition.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities to take the lead but, as is often the way with tournament hockey, one lucky break can ensure victory.
On this occasion the luck of the draw fell in our favour and Bede’s secured a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Tom Gordon goal.
In order to top the pool and guarantee progression through to the Cup stages, Bede’s would need a victory over our next opponents Buckswood. After dominating the majority of play throughout this encounter James Sampson found the back of the net with two minutes left of play.
Victory and progression to the cup stages seemed assured however some sloppy defending and a lapse in concentration allowed Buckswood to penetrate the Bede’s penalty area and score the equaliser with mere seconds to spare.
The fulltime score of 1-1 meant our progress through to the next round relied solely on the result of the Lancing v Buckswood game.
The Hockey Gods seemed firmly on Bede’s side, thankfully, as a nail-biting score draw between Lancing and Buckswood saw us progress as pool winners to face Seaford in the semi-final.
This clash would arguably be the toughest that the U15 boys would have faced in their campaign, and with Seaford dominating much of the game the boys dug deep and weathered the barrage of attacking runs and shots on goal.
The eventual fulltime score of 0-0 meant that, as with our U16 Cup Final versus Seaford earlier on this term, this encounter would be decided by a Penalty Stroke competition.
This contest provided fantastic tension and entertainment for the spectators on the side-line, with the scores level at 4-4 after the initial round of Strokes Captain Tom
Gordon stepped up to take the first of the sudden death penalties.
He confidently netted his chance and, never far from the action, the team’s goalie Sam Leonard pulled off a fantastic save to deny Seaford College a scoring opportunity.
Playing a Cup Final against the competition hosts on their home territory in front of local support meant that Bede’s had to up their game considerably from the start. The format of the final meant that, with two halves rather than a single period of play, Bede’s could pace themselves and play some well-planned hockey.
Eastbourne made some fantastic runs and demonstrated their well drilled skills, but they were thwarted by the Bede’s midfield and defence who worked as a unit to deny the opposition scoring opportunities.
James Sampson’s well struck goal saw Bede’s go into the half time break 1-0 up, and with it all still to play for Bede’s knew that the opposition would come hard so prepared a more defensive line up.
With the midfield being superbly controlled and marshalled by Scott Lenham and Tom Gordon, combined with excellent defensive positioning and marking by Ian Trenaman playing out of position at right back, Bede’s manage to control much of the second half holding on to emerge victorious at the full time whistle.
A special mention must go out to all players involved in this successful campaign, with many of the team helping Bede’s to be crowned Sussex Champions at both U15 and U16 level for 2016. These pays testament to the quality of hockey players we are blessed with at Bede’s - roll on the 2017 season!