Our first match of the day was Shrewsbury High, after our captain, Sophie Moore led us through our warm-ups and stretches we were ready to go. It was a challenging match with both teams having some incredible players; both teams fought extremely hard for that goal, but unfortunately, just before half time the Shrewsbury captain scored a goal for their team. Slightly disheartened, but not feeling defeated, we went back on after half time with more determination. Evie playing Centre back had some wonderful drives up the right-hand side of the pitch, she would then pass it on to Amy who played some wonderful and tactful hockey in the D. Our defence was also being pushed with Grace and Phoebe clearing the ball out of our defensive D with some hard sweeps. It was nearly the end of the match and we had a lot of play in our attacking D with Clemmie and Lola battling against the opposition’s goalie, Lola hit a massive aerial shot that just narrowly missed the goal and hit the post. Unfortunately, we just lost that game 0-1, but we came away having learnt a lot about possession and other important aspects of the game; and we know that during that game we played some good hockey.
Our next match was against Northampton High, this was the playoff to see whether we would be playing for 5th or 6th place or 7th or 8th place, this again was a tight game. Throughout this game, both sides were extremely eager for the ball. During the first half Royal High had a breakthrough, with Lola slapping it to Charlie who was on the line, who then dribbled it up to the top of our attacking D and passed it across the goal to Amy who had an impressive shot on goal, however, the opposing team’s goalie just deflected it, but Evie was right there for the rebound and she chipped it into the top right-hand corner of the goal! The game recommenced both sides even more committed to the game. However, just before the whistle blew, Northampton shot a goal. We went for the team talk at half time at 1-1. Both teams knew that this would be a difficult game to win. The second half was played and some great hockey was seen. Then the whistle blew for the end, but it was still 1-1. So this meant; Shuffles. Shuffles are when three players are selected from each team and they go one on one with the goalie to try and shoot a goal with a maximum of 8s. We selected Evie, Clemmie and Holly for our shuffles. Northampton went first scoring a wonderful goal, then Evie went for us also scoring an impressive goal. Holly Stephens scored a wonderful goal on her reverse stick. However, by the end, once everyone had gone, we were still even, and so we had to play the shuffles again. By this time both teams were in huddles on the sideline squealing with apprehension. This time Royal High went first, Evie went, driving the goalie out to the left and shooting from the right. Northampton then shot. It went back and forth until it was Holly go again, we knew that to win, she had to shoot, she dribbled in and Indian dribbled it around the goalie and straight into the goal. We all held our breath, the umpire blew his whistle and pointed at our team. The team burst into eruptions of excitement, but we were all very glad that those stressful shuffles were over. Amy was an incredible goalie, saving many goals and helping us win that game.
Lastly, we played Notting Hill and Ealing, once again not an easy match, with Ellie Wylie preventing some goals and also playing up front and getting the ball into our attacking D. Alice played in our attacking D very well and with many skills applied and help from other players such as Clemmie we scored a goal. As the play progressed the Astro got more slippy and Charlie and Sophie had a few trips as they ran onto the ball, but ultimately they were worth it. Just after half time, Notting Hill shot a goal, but that didn’t phase us. In the last two minutes of the game, we had a breakthrough with Amelie driving it up the left of the pitch, dodging many players and then passing it on to Alice who slapped it to Clemmie at top D, who drag flicked it into the goal. We won 2-1 and we came 5th overall! It was an incredible day, so thank you to everyone who made it possible such as Miss Pryer, Miss Stewart, Mrs Hughes and Mrs Atkinson.
by Charlie Emptage