In November the U13 girls competed in the IAPS National finals, having won their regional competition the previous month. The tournament started well with a 2-0 win over Clifton. The girls looked nervous, as expected, but two good goals from Connie got the result. In the second game the team were into their stride and beat Bede’s 4-0, with three goals from Lorna and one from Connie. A confident 3rd game against Holme Grange also gave them a 4-0 win – two more for Lorna, one more for Connie and one for Emma. The last match in the group proved to be the most challenging, against Bilton Grange, who played the ball very direct into the girls’ circle, causing problems. However, three more for Lorna saw DCPS girls home and dry. The girls finished the pool stages as the only school in the whole competition to have won all their games.
The team was nervous to find themselves against Cranleigh in the quarter final. They are always good! The girls played a superb 1st half to go 2-0 up. In the second half, tired, the girls switched off somewhat and kept gifting them possession; fortunately, our defence held firm and the score remained 2-0. Into the semis – top 4! The team found themselves against a very tidy Framlingham side, and the luck (or bad luck) of the draw came into play – had the girls finished 2nd in their pool rather than 1st, they would not have met them till the final! The first few minutes were very even and then a mistake from Dean Close gifted them a corner – which was converted with the best strike ever to be seen at this stage. About 30 seconds later the team were denied a goal when their keeper got the outside edge of her pad to a shot and the ball deflected a couple of inches wide of the post. An equaliser then would have made the game very interesting but unfortunately the girls panicked, lost their structure and tried to force the ball through, which inevitably resulted in a second Framlingham goal.
It was a real mark of the character of these girls that they picked themselves up from the last defeat (the only defeat all term) to play a superb game in the 3rd / 4th place play off and win, to get the bronze medals. Gold would have been a dream come true, but these girls should be immensely proud of coming away with bronze in their first shot at National Finals. Their future is bright!