Storming to national title
IPSWICH School's under-16 boys' hockey side have been crowned national champions after a win over Bromsgrove School at East Grinstead. The second half of the match was interrupted for 20 minutes by torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightning, but by that stage the Ipswich School side were already 5-1 up and, although Bromsgrove secured a second consolation goal when play was resumed, the result was never in doubt.
IPSWICH School's under-16 boys' hockey side have been crowned national champions after a win over Bromsgrove School at East Grinstead.
The second half of the match was interrupted for 20 minutes by torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightning, but by that stage the Ipswich School side were already 5-1 up and, although Bromsgrove secured a second consolation goal when play was resumed, the result was never in doubt.
The Ipswich side, which includes three England U16 players in Jonny Gall, Josh Godfrey and Harry Martin, experienced a relatively smooth road to the national final.
In the quarter-finals, they beat Royal Grammar School (High Wycombe), 6-1 in a match which they dominated from the outset, with Josh Godfrey scoring two of the goals, and Harry Martin, Josh Fry, Dan Griffin and Matt Richardson one each.
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The semi-final, played at Tuddenham Road, Ipswich on Thursday 17 April, saw the home side taking on Canford School and winning 3-0, with two goals from Godfrey and one from Gall.
Coach Steve Godfrey said: “In the final, the players were determined to lay to rest the disappointment of having lost at the semi-final stage of the indoor competition in January.”
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Any nerves were quickly settled when, in the seventh minute of the first half, Godfrey calmly picked the ball up in the Bromsgrove circle and flicked it past the keeper to put Ipswich 1-0 ahead.
Ipswich dominated the midfield play and looked dangerous going forward but had to wait until the 29th minute for their next goal, calmly finished by Fry from a short corner.
The second half started with a flurry of goals - four in 12 minutes to be precise. Man of the match Godfrey scored the goal of the game, a super backhand shot from the top of the circle and then calmly dribbled past the Bromsgrove defence to complete his hat-trick and establish a 4-0 lead.
Bromsgrove rallied and managed to score, but their joy was short-lived, as Fry restored the four-goal lead within a minute with a clinical short-corner conversion.
At that point the storm interrupted play, and both teams retreated to the dugout. Godfrey took the opportunity to remind the team of the need to continue playing until the final whistle. Bromsgrove did score a second goal but Ipswich achieved their aim.
After captain Ashwin Raj collected the trophy and medals, Godfrey said: “The team's performance on the day was outstanding. We simply outplayed the opposition, as we had in all games throughout the competition.”
Ipswich squad: Ashwin Raj, Tom Bailey, Josh Fry, Will Shephard, Tom Sinclair, Ben Hills, Jonny Gall, Harry Martin, Chris Maynard, Josh Godfrey, Matt Richardson, Ben Underwood, Dan Griffin and Charlie Hardman.