Last weekend was an incredible time for Dean Close hockey, with two teams competing in the National Indoor Hockey Finals, where the boys finished second in the country and the girls finished third.
The boys U16 squad travelled to Whitgift School in Croydon to play in their National Indoor Finals. They started well with a last-second winning goal against Worksop School from Ellis Robson after a quick break from Otto von Sechow. Their second match was against a very good Altrincham side but Dean Close dominated and ran out 5-2 winners with Liam Mckinnes outstanding at the back. The boys then faced Forest School and with a win of 5-2 it guaranteed their place in the semi finals with one group match to go. In the last group match, against Whitgift School, Dean Close lost 4-0 but still had a semi final against Repton School. In a tight first half, Repton took the lead 2-1 but the Dean Close side rallied in the second half with Leo England, Liam Mckinnes and Ellis Robson securing a 5-2 win and a place in the National Final; the first for a Dean Close boys side. The team was to play Whitgift for a second time, a team who had not conceded a single goal all tournament. After a tight first half with the score at 0-0, Whitgift scored and despite great efforts from Dean Close, they pushed on to a 3-0 win. This was an amazing achievement for the Dean Close boys; getting all the way through to a National Final and coming second.
Meanwhile, the girls U18 squad travelled to Bromsgrove for their National Indoor Finals. They started with a match against Kent College and in a game of changing score lines, Dean Close were 5-3 up, only to be pegged back 5-5 in the last minute of the match. The second match was against Trent who had knocked out Repton and in an equally pulsating match, the score was even at 5-5 until the last play of the match when captain, Jess Thomas, scored to take the win. The third match was against Beaconsfield and yet again was a close game when this time, Danielle Gibson scored from the last play to equalise and secure a 3-3 draw. This all meant that a win against Queen Ethelburga’s would secure a semi final spot by winning the group and they did this in style with a 8-1 score line with Danielle Gibson scoring seven goals! The semi final was against a strong Framlingham School side but Dean Close dominated the first half and were 3-0 up before being pegged back to 3-3 in the last seconds, taking the match to penalties. Unfortunately the girls lost the shoot out and therefore ended the day third in the country; still a great achievement but frustrating for them. Danielle Gibson was top scorer in the tournament with an incredible 14 goals, seven more than anyone else.
What an incredible week for Dean Close hockey on the National stage.