The U18 Boys’ Hockey Team have qualified for the Semi-Final National Knockout Competition. After a long journey Dean Close started well in the first match against RGS Guildford and put pressure on the opposition’s defence creating several chances at goal and a number of penalty corners. From one of these penalty corners, Toby Pallister scored and Dean Close continued to dominate the play and after an excellent interception, Ellis Robson ran through and scored to put Dean Close 2 – 0 up.
In the second half, RGS Guildford put pressure on Dean Close and were able to pull a goal back from a penalty corner. The boys defended well and created another good chance to increase their lead. With a vocal crowd RGS Guildford tried to break down Dean Close but as time ran out Dean Close remained calm and won 2 – 1, qualifying for the National Semi-Final. Director of Hockey, Gary Tredgett, said, “This is the third time in the School’s history the U18 Boys have made the semi-final of the National Knockout competition, an amazing achievement.
Meanwhile, the U16 Boys travelled to Millfield School to play in the West Finals. The squad got off to a strong start with a win over Bryanston and Prior Park. The final group match was against Devonport and Jacob Payton scored several goals to claim another victory. The Dean Close boys were then up against Canford School in the semi-final and started very strongly, scoring four goals in the first ten minutes, winning 4-1 to qualify for the final.
The Final was a repeat of the earlier group match against Prior Park. Once again the team played exceptional hockey to win 6-1 and qualify for the National Finals at Lee Valley National Hockey Centre. The squad was superbly led by Liam Mckinnes and there were outstanding performances from Sam Porter, Jacob Payton and goalkeeper, Melchior Kuhne.