Repton School Top of the Class

Repton School added another trophy to their cabinet last week, this time with their boys winning the U18 national finals sponsored by Man Group plc.  Cranleigh School and Sir William Borlase were also victorious at the U16 and U14 finals respectively.

The National Boys Schools Finals returned this year in a new format, with both the winners and runners up from the regional tournaments having a place at the national finals.  A total of ten teams formed two pools of five playing each other over the course of two days.  The top team in each pool played off in a final to find the national champions.

Repton School Under 18 (U18) boys applaud their supporters after winning the 2010 U18 National Boys Schools Championships

In the U18 competition Repton and Whitgift finished top of their pools.  Repton School, from Derbyshire, took the maximum of 12 points beating The Perse 1-0, Calday Grange 2-0, Langley Park 1-0 and Dean Close 2-1.  Whitgift School, from Surrey, started off stronger, beating Canford 2-0 and Queen Elizabeth 4-0, but drawing with Bromsgrove 2-2 and Ipswich 1-1.  This gave them a total of eight points drawing them even with Ipswich who also drew a pool game. Whitgift however had a better goal difference by one goal, taking them through to the final.

Whitgift dominated the first ten minutes of the final, putting Repton on the back foot and forcing a goalkeeping error.  This resulted in a yellow card for the Repton 'keeper and a penalty stroke for Whitgift which was easily put away against a kicking back.  The Repton 'keeper came back on but was shortly replaced on the suspension bench by his captain who took some time out for a bad tackle.  Hard work and determination underpinned Repton’s tactics after half time until they returned to eleven players...and it worked!  Huw Rees-Jones scored Repton’s first goal as a result of their high press.  The tables then turned as Whitgift found themselves down to ten men with six minutes to go.  Repton’s Ricky Ho Chan took the glory, deflecting two strikes into the circle to bring the full time score to 3-1 and winning the boys title for the first time in history.

Martin Jones, the Repton coach, expressed his delight after the presentation: "To win both U18 titles this year is a magnificent achievement for us all at Repton.  It being our first ever victory in the boys event makes it even more special.  As a pupil at Repton, I lost in two consecutive finals on penalties and I'm delighted to eventually get a win on the board as the coach."

Cranleigh and Trent finished top of their pools in the U16 competition.  Cranleigh School, Surrey, took a maximum 12 points beating Queen Elizabeth 3-1, Taunton 3-1, Ecclesbourne 3-2 and Ipswich 2-0.  Trent College, Nottinghamshire, finished on nine points, beating Woodbridge 2-1, Rossall 3-0, Kingston 2-0 and losing to South Dartmoor 2-3.  Kingston and South Dartmoor also finished on nine points each as Kingston beat South Dartmoor 1-0.  South Dartmoor only had a goal difference of two compared to Kingston and Trent’s five each.  They also both scored nine goals; therefore Trent qualified on their 2-0 victory against Kingston.

The final report from the match will follow, the final score was 0-0 and 3-1 to Cranleigh after penalty strokes.

The U14 final saw Sir William Borlase of Buckinghamshire face Dean Close of Gloucestershire.  Borlase took a maximum 12 points from their pool, beating Wirral Grammar 4-0, South Dartmoor 5-0, Rugby 1-0 and Bishop’s Stortford 3-2.  Dean Close also took 12 points, beating Chigwell 4-0, Kingston 2-1, Egglescliffe 3-1 and Oakham 3-2.

The U14 final was a thriller with end to end action and lots of chances for both teams but none finding the net.  Dean Close started the game with the higher intensity, creating a lot of pressure on the Borlase defence and winning a handful of penalty corners.  On the half time whistle, the Borlase captain then took a yellow card suspension for a poor tackle.  Borlase pulled themselves back into the game in the second half, but still could not manage to put the final touch into the net.  The final score was 0-0 and the match went straight to penalty strokes.

Borlase's Jack Clee, Lewis Bullen and James Veitch all scored their strokes, however it was the team's goalkeeper, Callum Haisman, who took the glory, saving three Dean Close efforts and lifting the trophy for his school.

Simon Bond, the Borlase manager commented “It is a massive achievement for our school and for state schools across the country.  We haven’t won a national title for 20 years and it is the first one ever at U14 level.  We were delighted to only let in two goals over the course of five games and credit must go to Dean Close for an excellent final.”

Thanks must go to Man Group plc for their sponsorship of the National Junior Competitions Programme, Cannock HC for their volunteers and top class facilities and to the umpires and officials for their high standards of officiating.