Dean Close U16 Boys qualified for the National Hockey Quarter Finals after a convincing win against King Edward’s, Bath in the previous round. The Quarter Final was played at home against King’s Taunton and after a cagey start from both sides, with Paddy Benson and Felix Roth playing well in defence, Dean Close started to dominate the match and scored after superb moves from Felix Roth and Leo Daenert setting Matt Candy up to score. The squad then started to play with more confidence and Richard Swan scored the second goal. The score was brought up to 3-0 just before half time with a fantastic goal from a Leo Daenert. The second half was dominated by Dean Close however, King’s Taunton created some strong chances at goal and scored to make it 3-1. Dean Close reacted immediately, scoring their fourth goal after another good move finished off by Matt Candy to seal the match and qualify for the Semi Finals of the National Knockout tournament.
Director of Hockey, Gary Tredgett, said, “This is an outstanding achievement and the squad have put in excellent effort to make it through to the final four.”
Dean Close U18 Boys took on Repton in the Quarter Final at home, which was always going to be a tough match. With massive support from pupils and parents, the match started at a frenetic pace with Repton shading the early play, winning and scoring a short corner to go 1-0 up. This triggered Dean Close to up their game, and the boys started to get the better of the exchanges and Jacob Melville-Smith scored a good instinctive goal to equalise. The team then started to dominate play and after a good passing move, Sam Porter scored a good goal from close range to put Dean Close 2-1 up. With tireless work from Toby Pallister and Nick Nurse in defence, a great goal from Elliot Bancroft brought the score to 3-1 with minutes remaining in the first half. Repton responded with a goal just before half time from a second penalty corner, bring the score to 3-2 at the break.
In the second half Repton brought more players forward in a high risk strategy and Dean Close had several chances to score to secure the match but were unable to convert. Repton then equalised from a third penalty corner. The crowd were incredibly supportive and were willing the Dean Close side on, powering the squad to come back with an amazing run and finish from Ellis Robson. This put the boys ahead 4-3 with three minutes remaining. Repton, kept attacking and equalised with two minutes to go. The game ended 4-4 and went to a penalty shoot out. Both sides scored their first flicks and both sides missed their second flicks and with three to go the teams were tied. Elliot Bancroft, Toby Pallister and Ellis Robson scored so it was left with Reptons last flick to put the contest to sudden death. Oli Smart stepped up and made an exceptional save, putting Dean Close through to the Semi Final for the second year running, an amazing achievement. The home crowd played an amazing part in the result and cheered the squad on until the very end of the match.
Both squads will now play in the Semi Finals at the National Hockey Stadium at Lee Valley, London.