Dean Close continues to ride high on the national hockey stage with its U14 and U16 boys both placing in the top four schools in the country. In the build up to the National Schools Hockey Championships in London, both teams went through to the play offs.

At the Finals the first challenge for the U14 boys’ team was Cranleigh School. In a tight first half Dean Close created great opportunities but were unable to score, leaving the teams on a 0-0 draw at half time. In the second half, Cranleigh scored two good goals. Dean Close responded with fantastic defence and several chances at goal but the game ended 2-0 to Cranleigh. Undeterred, the boys rallied though to beat Repton School 1-0, with a spectacular goal from Paddy Benson, then went on to beat Gresham’s School 2-0 with goals from Ellis Robson and Lorcan Knox. The resilient Dean Close squad narrowly missed out on the final but played in the 3rd/4th place play off against Trent College, winning 2-0 to finish with third place in the country.

The U16 boys’ were the next team to take on the competition. The first match gained a strong win against Felsted School, with goals from Elliot Bancroft, Justus Roth and Ed Hewer. The second match was against a fierce Whitgift side. Despite gaining several corners, the boys were unable to score and Whitgift won the game 2-0. In the third match against Trent College, Dean Close put in a stunning performance and dominated the match, winning 4-2 with goals from Justus Roth, Elliot Bancroft and Jacob Payton. It was then their turn to face the 3rd/4th place play off. The U16s played Altrincham Grammar School in a tight match, drawing 1-1 after a solid goal from Oscar Newcombe. Dean Close narrowly lost the game on penalties to finish fourth in the country.

Director of Hockey, Gary Tredgett, said “It has been a pleasure to coach the U14 and U16 squads, gaining 3rd and 4th in the whole country is a great achievement for both teams”.