Cheltenham (2) v (2) Surbiton – won on penalties
Both teams walked out on to the Olympic pitch in front of a buzzing crowd and lined up in front of the trophy to play the final match of the season to decide the England Hockey Under 14 National Championship!
Both teams started off well but with end to end hockey causing a buzz around the stadium. The first breakthrough came for Cheltenham as Freddie Thomas scored from open play. It wasn’t long before Surbiton, moving the ball well, equalised with a goal from Joseph Farmer.
With the match drawing close to its end both teams pushed for the winning goal. The play moved from one end to another and with less than five minutes on the clock a quick advance from Surbiton saw them take the lead through Spencer Woods.
Cheltenham kept their heads and rallied, pushing to equalise before the final whistle. The team moved the ball round and tried to find a weakness in the Surbiton defence and in a last ditch attempt Joel Birchmore found the back of the net leaving the final score at 2-2 and pushing the game in to a penalty shootout.
Both teams composed themselves and the players chosen to take flicks stepped forward with their keepers. The crowd was silent and the boys looked tiny in the middle of the national stadium as they stepped forward to decide the championship.
Cheltenham scored their first three penalties and with Olly Smart on form, in goal, saving the first two from Surbiton it was down to them to stay in the contest. Making himself look big and getting down quickly forced the Surbiton player to push too hard and wide. Cheers from the crowd went up and Cheltenham took the title of U14 National Champions.