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Trent College Under 14s clinched a historic bronze medal as the school enjoyed its best-ever year at the national Investec Sport Schools Championships for Girls at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at Olympic Park last week (28 February - 2 March).
For the first time all three Trent College teams - U14, U16 and U18 - qualified for their finals in the same year, and the U14s and U18s kept setting the bar even higher by achieving the school’s best ever nationals result for those age-groups, both finishing in the top four schools in the country.
The U14s, who qualified for the nationals as Midlands regional champions, booked their place in the Championships third/fourth place play-off courtesy of two 1-0 pool wins over Marlborough and Cheadle Hulme School, penalty corner goals from Charlotte Pavis and Lydia Purdie respectively proving the difference.
In the medal decider Trent College faced Clifton College, and it was the team from Bristol who opened the scoring in the second minute. Ten minutes later the Long Eaton schoolgirls were level, thanks to a goal from a penalty corner scored by captain Amalia Morris. When Niamh Johnson slotted home a second penalty corner goal after the break, Trent College stood defiant to secure the bronze medal.
This was the first of a national double-header for the U14s this month, with the girls also in England Netball National Schools Finals action at Stanborough School, Welwyn Garden City on Saturday 18 March.
Mark Wadsley, Trent College Head of Hockey, said: “Before the tournaments, we said we would like at least one team to be competing for a medal so to have had two teams in the final four, and to convert one of those opportunities, was really pleasing.
“The effort and commitment from all three age-groups has been exceptional this season and given us a real springboard to continue progressing girls’ hockey at Trent College. A special thanks must go to the parents and everyone from the school who supported us both at Lee Valley and over the course of the year.”
The U18s narrowly missed out on equaling the U14s’ feats as they went down 2-1 to Framlingham College, Suffolk in their third/fourth place play-off.
A 2-1 pool victory over The Perse School – captain Paige Gillott and Georgina Hampson on the scoresheet – and two 0-0 draws with Ardingly College and Millfield secured Trent College’s place in the final four. In the medal showdown, two penalty corner goals either side of half-time handed Framlingham the advantage. Niamh Elston halved the deficit with nine minutes to play, but Trent could not force the equaliser.
Meanwhile a Nina Apoola hat-trick in a 3-1 win over The Leys School wasn’t enough to help Trent’s U16s progress into the final four of their tournament, having won one, drawn one, lost one of their pool games. Apoola’s treble of field goals saw her finish as the tournament’s second top goalscorer.
Adam Benstead, Trent College Director of Sport, said: “All three teams have set themselves very high standards and did brilliantly, to the extent they may even be slightly disappointed not to have gone a step further in the finals. They will have created many memories and we thank all the girls, especially those leaving at the end of the year, for all they have done for Trent hockey during their time here."