ISA Boys national hockey championships at Lee Valley tenns & hockey centre – Thursday 6th February 2020

The boys pulled off a remarkable achievement on Thursday 6th February winning the main CUP competition at the ISA National Hockey Tournament in London!

This has never been won by the boys before and is possibly one of the greatest sporting achievements ever at Copthill School!

All the boys played fantastically well as a whole team and the squad of 9 boys complemented each others playing positions brilliantly.

Arriving in plenty of time at 9am the scene was set for a beautiful sunny day and the boys very excited to see the hockey venue, many for the first time. The boys were one of the first teams to arrive and preparations could not have gone better having warmed up and a team talk given before the scheduled morning matches.

The first match saw us draw 0-0, then we won the second match 2-1 and the last match 1-0 meaning we topped the group and were entered into the harder, main cup competition! We knew that the afternoon group of matches were going to be a stiff test for the boys but I remained quietly confident that the boys would do well, trying to convince Mr Teesdale was harder!

Our first match of the afternoon was against a usually strong Alleyn Court side. They had some very good individual players but we managed to contain them and grab a last second winner to win the match 2-1. We then played New Hall School and drew 1-1 and finally played Cundall Manor knowing that a draw was good enough to take us to the final and we won 1-0 – Copthill were in the final!

There, we faced a formidable Langley Prep School who are serial winners of ISA National Hockey, so we knew this was going to be an extremely tough match. However, having said to the boys that they have absolutely nothing to lose now and you need to play absolutely out of your skins for 10 minutes. The boys confidence was amazing and they were very confident of doing well. We had a couple of chances to score during the game but their keeper was outstanding in closing down the players. Then cam an absolute onslaught in the procession of short corners, probably about 8 in only a 10 minute match. We thought they were going to score one of them eventually, however Copthll stood firm and held out to take the match to penalty shuffles and had 8 seconds to score from a few yards outside the D past the goalkeeper. I chose the 3 initial players to take the shuffles and we won the toss to go first.

We missed our first one, having 3 attempts within the 8 seconds and we knew this keep was going to be very tough to beat! However, with Langley also missing theirs up stepped Joshi Harriss who had the audacity to chip the ball over the goalkeeper into the top corner of the goal – an incredible piece of skill to nonchalantly lob a keeper from a penalty shuffle! They then missed again and we knew that if we scored our last one, we would be winners. However, we missed and it came down to Will Hurst in goal to save the final shuffle, which he did to jubilant scenes from the boys and parents with Mr Teesdale witnessing success which he could not believe!

A huge effort from all the boys and what a remarkable achievement. All were awarded players of the tournament which has to be one of the best team performances I have been part of at Copthill. Mr Teesdale awarded the boys with a McDonald’s on the way home.

Well done to everyone!

Mr Smith