After so many narrow losses in the EH cup knock-out over the past three seasons, the BU18s were thrilled to have won their first Mercian League Finals Day spot in recent memory by having come runner-up to Wycombe in the Mercian Premier League. The BU16s also earned a place having also come runner-up in their Premier League...
Mercian League Finals Day awards the top four performing teams with an extra day of hockey and a shot at glory. Both our BU18 and BU16 teams play in the Premier league and both came top two to qualify for Finals Day. The other two teams in each age group played a series of play-offs to get to finals day through the Regional leagues.
First up were the U18s in their semi-final against Epsom. We scored early and then there was no looking back. It ended 7-1 and with a place in the Final. On the other pitch, Wycombe and Old Merchant Taylors had gone to shuffles after a draw with ended in favour of OMT. So it was a Guildford OMT Final.
This was a close match but we looked to have the upper hand having gone up 1-0 after fifteen minutes. OMT came back in to the match and it was back and forth with the score at 2-1 until OMT had a resurgence and put the scores even with ten minutes to go. Facing a stroke some might have thought the match would be settled there but Harry dinged it onto the post for a fantastic save and we were still in it.
Despite that OMT had no subs we were looking somewhat tired by the end of full time and were relieved to know that there was 10 minutes each way extra time before a shuffle shoot-out might decide it. We were setting in for another two halves of hockey when a superb attack left Charlie T with a superb golden goal for the win.
The boys were presented with their winners medals (mini hockey sticks) and Charlie was awarded the man of the match prize (a new Mercian hockey stick). Superb finish to the season!
Huge thanks to John Law for sharing his very deep and broad hockey coaching knowledge with the boys and of course to Pippa Burns for organising 17 and 18 year old boys across the season (no easy task!).
The Under 16s also had a straightforward semi-final winning against Amersham and Chalfont 6-0. On the other pitch Sevenoaks were getting the better of Surbiton and won that match 3-1.
It was a tight final with Sevenoaks scoring a drag-flicked PC 12 minutes into play. We had had a few good opportunities before that - all saved by the keeper - and plenty more but could not get past the keeper who did not let down his guard for the entire match. Despite some very good play in all areas of the pitch we could not score. The boys were disappointed not to win the final but it was a good match and they still received silver mini hockey sticks for second place.
Many thanks to Rob Field for such a fantastic job this season as their coach and mentor!