Congratulations to the girls’ U18 Indoor Hockey who this week qualified for the National Finals.

In a busy week, the girls started out playing in the County Cup where they won all three of their matches. This was followed just a few days later by the West Finals which took place at Cheltenham Ladies’ College with an early start of 9.05am for the first match against Prior Park. Dean Close raced to a 6-0 half time lead and eventually won 8-1. In the second match against Blundell’s, the girls won this more physical encounter by 6-1 making their last match against Millfield School a group decider. In a fiercely competitive match of National Finals level hockey, Dean Close led 3-2 with minutes remaining before Millfield equalised and had a short corner in the last seconds. Goalkeeper, Grace Starling, made an excellent save and Dean Close drew 3-3 but won the group on goal difference.

In the semi final the team faced local rivals, Cheltenham College. In a very open match in which Dean Close did not reach the heights of the Millfield game, the girls took the lead through Jess Thomas. After several chances at each end, Dean Close made the score 2-0 after an amazing pass from Maddie Pendle to Danielle Gibson who finished it off superbly. Dean Close missed a penalty before Cheltenham College pulled a goal back to create a tense finish. The girls held on to qualify for the National Finals for the second year running; an amazing achievement. In the final against a King’s Bruton side who had knocked out Millfield, both sides played well in a 3-3 draw with a last minute equaliser from the penalty spot from Maddie Pendle. Dean Close lost the penalty shoot-out with some great saves from the King’s Bruton goalkeeper.

This final shoot-out ended a great campaign from the Dean Close U18 girls who have qualified for the National Finals Indoor and also have a National qualifying match against Kingston Grammar School in the Outdoor Cup.