Banbridge Academy’s girls’ hockey team finished a magnificent second overall when they travelled to Glasgow on Saturday 24th October, to take part in The Topflight National Schools tournament, held at Glasgow Green Hockey Centre.
Two years previously, Banbridge took part in the same tournament in Belgium, coming an impressive 3rd place overall.
This years’ tournament proved yet again to be another success, as they competed against 15 other teams from across the UK.
The girls started well with a 3-1 over Kelso. The next match was against Ipswich, with another comfortable win of 3-0.
The final match of the day proved to be tough, as the team was feeling slightly tired, yet still determined. With Kings Hospital’s defence continuously under pressure they were unlucky to not score. The match ended with a 0-0 score.
The quarter final was against Salerno, and unfortunately in the first half Banbridge let their guard down and allowed Salerno to score three goals.
In the second half, the girls were fired up and determined to amend their mistakes. The entire team stepped up their performance and came backe to level at 3-3. Penalty run-ins would decide the winner, and with Katie McKee, Orla Thompson, Emma Gregson and Sarah Russell all scoring and Alice Winson making incredible saves, Banbridge progressed through to the semi-final.
Glasgow High School proved tough competition, with their open set play testing Banbridge’s defence, however the girls’ managed to cut their play short through strong block tackles. Katie McKee scored a rebound from a penalty corner. Glasgow High School evened the score. Both sides fought hard with attacking play, but with just minutes left in the game, Lauren McGaw won Banbridge another corner. An organised set play allowed Charley to slap the ball into the back of the net, securing Banbridge’s place in the final.
Rainey Endowed were the opposition for the final match of the day. Team passing soon saw Rainey in the Banbridge circle, and despite excellent defending from the girls, Rainey scored a reverse strike. Another well worked attack from Rainey resulted in yet another reverse strike goal. A goal by Sarah Russell in a penalty corner put Banbridge back in the game, but despite the girls’ best efforts, the match ended with the scoreline of 2-1. Although they didn’t win, Banbridge were still pleased to come 2nd out of the 16 teams in the competition.