Berkhamsted School produced a perfect day’s display to claim the inaugural School Challenge Cup.
Berkhamsted saw off St Helen & St Katharine 12-8 in a competitive final that was a one-goal game for much of the contest until the Hertfordshire side pulled away in the latter stages to win.
Led by Eleanor Bruce, who scored 5 goals in the final, Berkhamsted came through the final of three tight games to finish the competition with a 100% record.
The new School Challenge Cup event was hosted at Aldershot Garrison Sports Complex, venue for the 2019 National Schools Championships and featured six teams from the top 16 of 2018 National Schools.
The competing schools also had the opportunity to try the new Women’s FIL rules in competition, including 10-aside teams, over 40-minute matches in a knockout format.
After the opening match between the top two seeds to decide their semi-final placings in which Berkhamsted overcame Benenden 9-7, the semi-final play-ins took place.
The play-in games resulted in comfortable wins for St Helen & St Katharine (14-5 v Queen Anne’s Caversham) and Moreton Hall (16-5 v St James); but it was to be the semi-finals where the competition really came alive.
At half-time, both eventual finalists trailed, Benenden leading SHSK 4-2 and Moreton Hall 5-4 up against Berkhamsted, and with six minutes to go it was evens across the board with SHSK clawing back to 7-7 and Berkhamsted to 8-8.
However, Berkhamsted exhibited their superior stamina and staying power that would prove crucial all day to hit a four-goal run and win 12-8, while St Helen & St Katharine also finished off an impressive comeback to win 10-9.
Before the final, Queen Anne’s took 5th place beating St James 10-5 and Moreton Hall picked up the bronze medals with a strong 13-5 win over Benenden.
As predicted going into the final, it was a nip-tuck affair with both sides trading goals in a match that turned into a real high-level contest as the girls responded well to the new format.
Berkhamsted held a 6-5 lead at the half and then with the scores at 7-6, a crucial thirty-second period set the platform for Berkhamsted to take the title.
At the one end SHSK rattled a shot off the post and from the resultant loose ball and break their opposition pushed another goal ahead.
Berkhamsted carried the momentum to put down a four-goal streak and take a commanding advantage they would never relinquish to win 12-8.
Capture The Event
Capture the Event worked as event partners at the School Challenge Cup and official photo galleries for every match, presentations and team photos can be found HERE
Challenge Cup Results
Berkhamsted 9 - 7 Benenden
Moreton Hall 16 - 5 St James
St Helen & St Katharine 14 - 5 Queen Anne’s, Caversham
Berkhamsted 12 - 8 Moreton Hall
St Helen & St Katharine 10 - 9 Benenden
Queen Anne’s, Caversham 10 - 5 St James
Moreton Hall 13 - 5 Benenden
Berkhamsted 12 - 8 St Helen & St Katharine