The 2017/18 National Schools Finals were held in the wonderful surroundings of Stanborough School, Welwyn Garden City on Saturday.
It might have been bitterly cold – even with a touch of snow – but that didn’t dampen the spirits and the action on court was red hot.
54 teams made the trip to Hertfordshire as play commenced at 9am with 27 exhausting rounds ahead.
Berkhamsted (U14s), St Monica’s (U16s) and Queen Ethelburga’s (U19s) fought off all the competition to be crowned champions in their respective age groups.
In the U14 age category, St Peter’s dominated Section A, winning seven of their eight matches and playing out a 9-9 draw with The Abbey School. They were joined in the semi-finals by Berkhamstead, who won suffered just one defeat in the opening stage and finished with 36 points.
Solihull School took the honours in Section B, only a 10-9 defeat to Godolphin & Latymer School spoiling their perfect record. Godolphin & Latymer qualified in second place with 34 points, beating The Grange to a semi-final place by just four points.
Both Section A teams then beat their ‘B’ counterparts in the semi-finals. St Peter’s defeated Godolphin & Latymer 10-6 and Berkhamsted got the better of Solihull School by 15-7.
It was to be Solihull School who bounced back best in the third place-play off to secure a 10-8 victory over Godolphin & Latymer.
After losing 10-8 to St Peter’s in Section A earlier in the day, Berkhamsted edged out their fellow finalists to lift the trophy with a nail-biting 9-8 win.
Section C in the U16 category saw Streatham & Clapham High School in imperious form to record a maximum 40 points. They were joined in the semi-finals by Woodhouse Grove School.
St Monica’s took seven wins and an entertaining 8-8 draw, against Guildford High School, to top the group. Hurstpierpoint College claimed the second semi-final spot after seven wins and a narrow 11-9 defeat to St Monica’s.
The two section winners triumphed in their respective semi-finals with Streatham & Clapham High School outlasting Hurstpierpoint College 10-9 and St Monica’s continuing their fine form with an 11-8 victory over Woodhouse Grove School.
Hurstpierpoint College picked themselves up to secure a comfortable 14-7 win over Woodhouse Grove School and third place in the competition.
A near-perfect day was wrapped up by St Monica’s as they bagged the title with a good 13-9 win over Streatham & Clapham High School.
In Section E, Bromsgrove School sailed through to the semi-finals with a 100% win record. Joining them were Holy Cross, who only lost the one game against the table toppers.
Queen Ethelburga’s qualified in first place from Section F after seven wins and an 8-8 draw with Worthing College, who finished in second place and also progressed.
The semi-finals went with the form book, Bromsgrove School winning 11-8 against Worthing College and Queen Ethelburga’s overcoming the challenge of Holy Cross 13-8.
The third place play-off was a closely fought affair with Holy Cross running out 9-7 winners.
Queen Ethelburga’s continued their rich vein of goalscoring form in the final, defeating Bromsgrove School 16-9 to lift the trophy.
National Schools Finals 2018:
U14 Winners – Berkhamsted
Runner Up – St Peter’s
U16 Winners – St Monica’s
Runner Up – Streatham & Clapham High School
U19 Winners – Queen Ethelburga’s
Runner Up – Bromsgrove
Goals Award – Queen Ethelburga’s – 128 Goals Scored
Defence Award – Guildford High School – 41 Goals Conceded
Endeavour Award – Notting Hill & Earling High School
A full list of the results and final standings from the 2017/18 National Schools Finals can be viewed here.
A huge thank you to all the players, coaches, support staff, umpires, officials, volunteers, spectators and staff at Stanborough School for a fantastic weekend of action.