National Junior Indoors pushed off by the Schools

This weekend saw the launch of the National Junior Indoor Qualifiers for Schools sponsored by ManGroup plc, with the Club and Schools competitions being split for the first time in hockey history. The events were held at three different venues across the country with a total of 40 teams competing for a place in the final at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham on Saturday 30th January.

Millais and Wakefield GHS grabbed the golden tickets in the Girls U16 competition, with Millais scoring an impressive 33 goals. Their performances on the first day were very convincing beating Teeside High 9-1 and King’s Canterbury 8-2, with closer results on the Sunday beating Millfield 5-4 and Bedford High 4-2. 

Wakefield had a more nervy tournament only winning three games by a single goal; Blundell’s 3-2, Repton 6-5 and Coopers’ Company & Coborn 4-3. They also beat Hampshire Collegiate 3-1. Millais had a comfortable victory in their semi final beating Coopers’ Company 7-2 with Wakefield squeezing a 2-1 victory over Millfield. 

The U18s will see the return of two well acquainted schools as Kingston and Repton return to the national finals. Both teams won three matches and drew one, and both qualified with ease in the semi finals. 

Kingston scored a total 19 goals, beating Coopers’ Company 2-0, Wakefield 5-1, Bromsgrove 4-3 and drawing with Millfield 3-3. They faced Taunton in the semi finals, who were the only team to take points from Repton, however Taunton must have had some tired legs playing two matches in a row allowing Kingston an easy 5-2 victory. 

Repton scored a total of 30 goals beating Hymers 10-0, Alleyn’s 5-1, Ipswich 5-3 and drawing with Taunton 3-3. They faced Millfield in the semi finals with another impressive 7-2 victory.

Finals day will be a new experience for both U16 teams, however both Repton and Kingston have experienced the nervous excitement of the indoor finals with Repton winning the U16 competition in 2006 and Kingston coming second in 2007.

The Royal Grammar School, Wycombe and Whitgift qualified in the Boys U16 competition. 

Whitgift blew all competition away with a total of 49 goals, beating South Dartmoor 12-1, Ipswich 9-2, Egglescliffe 12-0 and Bromsgrove 8-0. Their semi final against Taunton was slightly more competitive, winning 8-4, however they will still very much be the favourites going into the final. 

The Royal Grammar School only played three qualifiers, winning two of them by a single goal. They beat Taunton 5-4, The Perse 5-2, Warwick 5-4 and Ipswich 5-1 in the semi final.  Whitgift will therefore need to score more than five goals to beat them, with RGS scoring five goals consistently throughout the tournament. 

In the U18 competition, Ipswich school will be determined to make sure this year’s final is not a repeat of last years, as they return to face last year’s champions, The Perse School. 

Ipswich scored a total of 24 goals, beating Worksop 5-0, Dean Close 8-4, Whitgift 3-2 and Egglescliffe 4-0. Their semi final was a little more intense scraping past Repton 4-3. 

The Perse School glided through to the finals scoring a total of 31 goals beating Repton 6-3, Millfield 7-1, Kingston 5-0 and Hall Cross 8-0. Their semi final was against their old rivals Whitgift which they won by slightly slimmer margins, 5-3. 

The Royal Grammar school will be the only new Boys team to reach the national finals, with Whitgift winning the competition last year and coming runners up in 2008. Ipswich made the national finals in both age groups last year, being unlucky to finish as runners up in both. The Perse School are also reigning champions at U18 level.

Thanks must go to Man Group plc for their sponsorship of this event as well as to the army of officials, umpires and venue managers. 

The equivalent Club event will take place this weekend coming and results can be followed over the weekend on the Competitions pages of our website.