PUBLISHED 14 December 2021
AKS’s U13 and U15 girls hockey teams were in action in the prestigious Independent Schools’ National Cup competition quarter finals. Being one of only 8 schools in the country remaining it was always going to be tough and despite both teams being drawn at home they faced tough challenges against strong schools from the South.
AKS U13’s started well against St John’s School from Leatherhead taking the game to our opposition and attacking at pace but we were unable to capitalise on early goal scoring opportunities and the scores remained level. The away team slowly settled into the game and despite some great defending from Esther T, Sophia M and Georgia S they took the lead just before half time. Lifted by the goal the second half saw St John’s begin to dictate more of the play, however AKS responded with a number of counter attacks that were only thwarted some strong defensive play from the opposition. Despite some superb saves from goalkeeper Sophie S and more good defensive play, St. John’s proved to be the more clinical in front of goal and scored a second goal with an unstoppable penalty corner strike to make it 2 - 0. With time running out AKS tried to come back with Amanda H always a threat up front but the game proved out of their reach and three further opposition goals made the final score 5-0 to the visitors. Despite the result, the team showed great determination and the game, especially in the first half, was far from being one sided with the main difference between the teams being that St.John’s converted more of their scoring opportunities and a 5 – 3 scorline would have been more representative of the game.
Two days later the U15 team faced a huge challenge against Framlington College from Suffolk, one of the strongest of the eight teams left in the competition. Home advantage and strong sideline support lifted the AKS team who started well and excited the crowd with some creative play on the right which led to a number of chances on the left post but we just could not find the net. Once again AKS competed well and we held our own in the first half going into the break just one goal behind. Still in contention we were delighted and proud to witness some exceptional individual performances from many of the AKS players who were both challenged and stretched by some high level opposition players. Unfortunately Framlingham scored two early goals in the second half and their fast skilful players began to dictate the pace of the game. The defensive play of the AKS midfield and back four under intense pressure frustrated numerous attacks but despite AKS’s valiant efforts the quality of the opposition players proved too much and they scored two further goals to win the game 5-0.
We are very proud of both our teams on reaching the last eight in this prestigious national competition. Every player rose to the challenge superbly and it was a great experience for all the girls to play against such high quality opponents and one that many of them will have learnt from and enjoyed despite not being on the winning side. The end of our Cup run for this year but one that all the girls can look back on with great pride!!!