Winchester Boys have been crowned national Under-14 champions after qualifying for the Lee Valley Olympic Park finals via the county and regional rounds and then beating highly fancied Surbiton 2-0 in the final.
But their ultimate success was far from straight-forward as they needed a helping hand from Canterbury to win their four-club group and qualify for the final, writes Mike Vimpany.
They beat Canterbury 5-0 and Wakefield 2-0, but having lost 2-0 to Leicester needed Canterbury to beat the East Midlanders 3-1 and so put Winchester in the final on goal difference.
Preparation was the key as Winchester trained on the Lee Valley surface the evening before the eight-club tournament and were fully prepared.
Harry Croft-Baker bagged a hat-trick, Matty Duncombe scored a wonder goal and Rory Penrose converted a penalty stroke to give Winchester a 5-0 win over Canterbury.
A 2-0 defeat by Leicester chilled Winchester’s joy, but the Hampshire champions bounced back with Croft-Baker and Penrose scoring in the win over Wakefield.
Croft-Baker gave Winchester a deserved 1-0 cup final lead with his fifth goal of the tournament – an advantage the side ought to have built on before their top scorer was pulled down in the D and Penrose rifled home the resulting penalty flick to give the city side the trophy.
Surbiton threw everything forward after that, but Winchester battened down the hatches to carry off a magnificent win.
Winchester’s championship winning squad, pictured, was: Will Whitmore (Captain), Frank Struthers, Will Evans, Freddie Peters, Tom Henley, Rory Penrose, Charlie Johnson, Matty Duncombe, Giles Hocking, Harry Croft-Baker, Felix Northover, Oli Gage, Will Jackson, Sam Boon, Sam Dowek, Will Crompton, Freddie Coulson, and Hobie Ambrose, who missed the finals through illness.
Welcome to Vimps at the Hockey
Powered by Cricket-Hockey.com, the hockey equipment specialists in Downton, Salisbury