Following the big disappointment that the 2nds, 3rds, U15B and U13A National Schools Championships were all postponed, the 1sts were keen to get the tournament underway and play their part for the school.

The weather we woke up to on Saturday morning was far from favourable (although forecast), and after initially hearing there was a delayed start to the tournament, England Lacrosse called the whole day's play off. We made good use of the day with some competitive bowling, lots of food and the odd NEA coursework and prepared for Sunday's play. It was decided that teams would play in Divisions from the start and fortunately, based on last year's play, we were put in the Championship Division for the top 16 schools.

Our round robin pool was tough, including our two Challenge Cup opponents. However, we made an excellent start, beating St Helen & St Katharine's 5-0 and then Moreton Hall 4-2. We played with confidence and composure in all areas of the pitch. Berkhamsted rattled us momentarily with their quick ball movement and clinical shooting, and we chased the game and failed to gain control, losing 2-5.

Our first round of the last 16 knockout was against St Swithun's and we felt confident (arguably too confident having beaten them all season) as we headed into the play-offs. They got a very good start, were quick to double any possession we had and prevented us moving the ball and playing our game. There were moments of hope when we equalised, but they pushed us hard and things were not going our way as they scored the crucial winner in the final minutes. Bitterly disappointed and feelings of déjà vu left us very flat as we knew what could have/should have been....Looking ahead to Marlborough's Invitational Tournament in three weeks' time lifted spirits and we reflected on all the highlights of the day.

St Helen & St Katharine's Won 5-0 E. Ella (5)
v Moreton Hall Won 4-2 Daisy (2) Hebe, Rose
v Berkhamsted Lost 2-5 Polly (2)
Last 16
v St Swithun's Lost 2-3 Rose, Elizabeth

U15As

The U15s came in fired up to play hard and go all the way in the Tournament. The weather seemed to be on our side as we started warming up, ready for our first match against St Paul’s.

Aware that they are usually a strong lacrosse school, we were not sure what to expect from the game but went in tough from the start none the less. It was a good game giving us a strong win going into our next game.

We faced Bedford next and managed to get a few extra goals for our goal difference. Our next game was against Guildford High, who are another strong lacrosse school. They had great stickwork and seemed well drilled in their attacking end which gave us our first loss of the day. Our remaining matches were against Abbot's Hill and St Alban’s, which gave us two good wins.

Our performance in the morning meant that we finished 2nd in our division and were therefore through to the final 16 in the country. This meant that we had to play Queen Anne’s, who we had played multiple times before (and lost). Unfortunately, I think we let our heads get ahead of ourselves and we couldn’t catch up with their goals in the end.

This was a great performance from the whole team and promising, ahead of South West Schools in a few weeks time.

v St Paul’s Won 5-4
v Bedford Won 4-1
v Guildford High Lost 1-4
v Abbot's Hill Won 7-0
v St Alban's Won 6-1
Last 16
v Queen Anne's Lost 1-3

U14s

The U14 Team started the day with a hard-fought match against Bedford, with the whole squad playing their part. This was a good boost to moral and put everyone in a positive frame of mind, ready for the match against Downe House which we knew was going to be difficult. We started this game at full speed, scoring two excellent goals, but let Downe House come back at us. The team kept on battling but came out with a loss by one goal. The team picked themselves up and played the rest of the group matches in the way they wanted - not losing another match in their section. They came second in the section to Downe House and went through to the Championship last 16. It was a fantastic morning's play - well done to all the players.

In the afternoon, they then had the knock out's coming up, with the first round against Moreton Hall. This was a hard game against an excellent team and unfortunately we did not progress further.

SMC v Bedford won 4-1
SMC v Downe House lost 3-2
SMC v Claremont drew 4-4
SMC v CLC won 4-3
SMC v The Royal School won 5-0
Last 16 Championship play-offs
SMC v Moreton Hall lost 7-1


Overall, we can take great satisfaction that all three teams qualified for the top 16 schools. It's now just making that next step to break into the top 8 that seems to be eluding us.

May I take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful parents, (including alumnae parents this year!) for your continued support. Not only for cheering us on all day and sharing our glorious goals, as well as our nail-biting and anxious moments, but for generously providing the most delicious, nutritious and warming sustenance for girls and staff so that we were at our best and able to perform throughout the day. With the South West Schools and Marlborough Invitational in three weeks, there is everything still to play for!  Mrs Heidi Marvin, Director of Sport