The first half of term has been very successful for Dean Close Prep School’s girls hockey.

The 1st (U13) team are unbeaten in their school matches, playing a mixture of 11 a-side and 7 a-side hockey. In September they won the Prior Park tournament by winning all their matches; Ellie Clarke was the stand-out player of the day. The day before half term started the team travelled to Repton to play in the Midlands regional IAPS tournament. After a slow start in the first game we found ourselves 2-0 to Foremarke Hall, but then started playing and quickly equalised to level the game; only to concede a goal from an unlucky deflection just seconds from the final whistle. However, the girls won the rest of their group games and finished second, earning a quarter-final against Beachborough. We knew that a win would see us through to the National finals as the top four teams would progress. The girls really stepped up their act and played their best hockey of the day, to win very comfortably 3-0. With our two top players having been struggling with injuries all day, the semi-final was one match too far and in a very close encounter we lost to Witham Hall 1-0; but the job had been done. All the girls played well but particular credit to Katie Hunt who, with our other lead players injured, really moved up a few gears and had a great day.

Meanwhile, the U11 girls came second to Millfield in the Clifton tournament at the beginning of October, having had a great start to the term in their school matches too. The day we broke up for half term they travelled to King’s School, Bruton, for their IAPS regional tournament. It was a smaller tournament than the U13s, with only two groups, so only two teams would go to the National finals rather than four. In the group matches we won two, drew two and lost one, which placed us second. In the semi-final against Dumpton the girls played great hockey, winning the match and earning their place in the National Finals too. We lost the final against Beaudesert but the girls can be very proud of what they have achieved; it is the first time that DCPS girls have gone to Nationals at both U13 and U11 in the same year