2015 has been an unprecedented hockey season for Dean Close School with every age group of boys’ hockey qualifying for the National Schools’ finals.

This historical run for Dean Close started at the beginning of the season when both the U16s and U18s qualified and competed at the National Indoor Finals. The U16s competed well, just missing out on a place in the semi finals by losing their last group match. The under U18s were in a strong group and had several close matches, with Nicolai Klukte one of the stand out players at the tournament.

Immediately after the indoors, preparations began for the outdoor season with School matches and Cup competitions.

The U18 National Cup knockout competition started dramatically in the first round, drawn away to Rugby School. After being 3-2 down with seconds to go, Dean Close drew 3-3 and won the match on penalties. In round two, the boys travelled to Princethorpe away. The temperature was close to freezing but they managed a 3-1 victory with Ollie Cahill and Dom Woodcock outstanding in the second half. The third round versus Bromsgrove was an open, end to end match, which ended 2-2 and again went to penalties. Adrian Street made two amazing saves and took the team to the last 16 in a home match against Millfield. This was close, with Dean Close scoring first from Tom Svenson and then Millfield equalising to create a tense finish. With minutes to go, Nicolai Klukte found Ollie Cahill who scored, putting Dean Close through to the National Quarter Finals and a home draw vs The Perse School from Cambridge.

The U16s were also busy winning the County Cup and qualifying for the West Finals. The West Finals took place at Millfield School and Dean Close started well by topping the group with wins vs Sherborne, a strong Queen’s Taunton side and Elizabeth College, Guernsey. The boys met Canford in the semi final and after a 2-2 draw, it went to penalties. George Caro, who had been outstanding all day, made two amazing saves to put Dean Close through to the final vs Queen’s Taunton. This was close, with two very good sides drawing 1-1. Again, George Caro was the hero making two more amazing saves giving the team the West of England title and National Final qualification at the new National Stadium at Lee Valley in London.

The Under 14s won the County Cup and progressed to the West Finals, again at Millfield. The week of the west finals saw the School hit by a bug so the boys travelled down slightly ‘under the weather’. The first group game vs Clifton was a draw but the squad regrouped and won the second match 4-0. This meant they needed to beat Canford to qualify for the semi final. They played well and won 2-0 meeting Elizabeth College, Guernsey in the semis which they won comfortably. The final was against Millfield who they completely out powered winning 2-0 and also qualifying for the National Finals at Lee Valley. Outstanding displays came from Toby Pallister and Oscar Newcombe.

That meant for the first time in the School’s history every boys’ side had qualified for the National finals an amazing achievement. Furthermore, the U13s in the Prep School have also won through to the Final of the National IAPS Cup. All the finals will be played after Easter and the School very much hopes to have one or two National Champions after that.

Director of Hockey, Gary Tredgett said: “This is an amazing achievement for all sides to get through and shows the passion and skill throughout the School.”