After a long journey south involving fallen trees on the rail line and horrendous flooding around Repton, we arrived at the hotel on Thursday evening, a little fatigued but glad to make it safely to Derbyshire. A pre-birthday treat for Sophie at Nando’s perked the girls up, and her chocolate birthday was a lovely way to finish the day off on a high.
Sophie’s birthday dawned bright and sunny, and after a cats chorus of “Happy Birthday” in pyjamas, the girls packed up and we headed to Repton. Clearly, the terrible flooding that had been reported in the news was all too evident, and we were feeling lucky that the event could even take place.
Our first match was against Taunton. We knew we had to start the tournament strongly, and we certainly did, winning a short corner after only 1 minute. Birthday girl Sophie struck the bull sweetly after an accurate injection from Izzy, and we scored our first goal of the tournament. It was a match full of short corners, with Sophie winning another soon after but no score came of it. The play swung back down to our defence and feet in our circle resulted in a defending corner which was sweetly saved by Caitlin. Izzy and Sophie linked well and won another corner but we failed to score. Flora was working hard up front and made some great runs in the D. The girls were working so hard , a goal was definitely on the horizon. Sophie made a great interception and had a left and right option; a lovely pass right to Saphira followed, and Saphira worked her magic, turned , shot at goal then Sophie swept it in. The game played at great pace and we did well to play strongly to the end.
Cargilfield 2 Taunton 0
Our next match was against Cheltenham who had one particularly strong player. Again, we started well and won a short corner. Sophie struck the bull hard and the goal keeper made a terrific save, clearing the ball wide. We quickly got the ball back in to play and Izzy had 2 strong reverse hits at goal, both which were saved. The play switched quickly and Clemmie made a fantastic tackle, staying strong and switching the play over, playing the ball back up front. Sophie’s tackling was good and she turned over play, passed to Flora who neatly swept the ball in to the back of the net. No sooner was the ball back in play, we won the ball again and Sophie passed to Saphira who turned and swept the ball towards goal and in true Saphira style, scored a cracking goal. We weren’t safe yet, and the opposition came back hard; Clemmie cleared a ball on the line, but good positioning from the Cheltenham girl saw a ball slipped to her and she slotted one past Caitlin. The clock was ticking down and we stayed composed and managed to play the ball away, and this was enough to see us win the match.
Cargilfield 2 Cheltenham 1
We knew our match against Foremarke would be a tough one and the girls needed to dig deep in this match to stay afloat. Foremarke made a couple of mistakes early in the match but we didn’t quite manage to capitalise on these. They then drove hard towards goal and Emma lost her footing (and her stick!) and they somehow managed to score, despite our best efforts to keep them out. A number of decisions simply did not go our way and it was both disappointing to see and frustrating for the girls. A certain short corner was missed along with some feet, and the girls did well to stay focused. Saphira was our star player in this match and she worked hard, finding space and winning short corners. We really picked up our game and I think the girls realised (albeit a little too late) that this was a game they could actually win. Izzy hit the outside of the side board with a cracking shot then quickly won us a short corner. Sadly, we ran out of time and despite looking the better team, lost the match.
Cargilfield 0 Foremarke 1
Our 4th pool match was against Langley and we moved across to the sand based pitch for this. It was an important game as their points were very similar to ours. Sophie demonstrated some great individual skills throughout the match, and played well, trying to find space and move the ball. She won numerous short corners but the Langley goal keeper kept them out and turned play around. Caitlin’s goal keeping skills were needed throughout the match and she made an important and big save to keep the game alive. Time was ticking away but we got the ball up high again and Izzy had a great reverse strike at goal but didn’t quite manage to score. We lost a corner in the last few minutes and Emma made a crucial clear which saw the match end as a draw.
Cargilfield 0 Langley 0
Our last pool match was against Lambrook on the same sand Astro. We were up for a win and Sophie broke through early on and had a shot at goal which just missed the goal. We piled on the pressure and Saphira, Laura and Flora all tried hard to get the ball wide when they were up front. We were rewarded for our pressure by a goal from Sophie after some great individual skill. Izzy also had a good run and played a fantastic ball to the post. Further pressure saw us win a short corner and Sophie scored a goal on her reverse, using her 3D skills. Soon after, not to be out beaten, Izzy had a great reverse strike high in the air, but unfortunately we didn’t score. Two short corners followed and after our no 1 went a little wrong, Sophie neatly pulled the ball right, brought it back on her strong side, and struck it hard for her hat trick.
Cargilfield 3 Lambrook 0
We finished second in the pool which meant we qualified for the main Cup quarter final. This match was against Dean Close who won the U12 finals last year. The match was fairly even at the start and Caitlin was forced to make a good save early on, after a bit of a scramble. Another save from Caitlin was needed quickly after, and we began to doubt ourselves and a little panic set in to the team. Dean Close broke through, and made a good pass through us, and scored in the back of the net. We gave away a couple of silly fouls for not being 5m and were punished with another goal. We did settle a bit after this but we lacked the physicality of the opposition and to be fair, Dean Close were the rightful winners of the game.
The final was won by Dean Close so we can take a lot of positives from the finals; the girls played their socks off all day, finished in the top 8 schools in the UK, lost to the eventual winners and everyone took their game to the next level. A great team achievement and both Cuan and myself are super proud of them all.
A massive thank you to all the supporters who travelled south to support us; it was great to have you all as part of the gang, and you all played an important role in our success.
Well done to the girls; feel proud of everything you have achieved and enjoy a good night’s sleep tonight .... I certainly will!!!