On Wednesday the first XI travelled to their traditional season opener against Kings’ School, Winchester. Typically, the opposition were well organised and capable on the ball. It was perhaps not surprising then that Kings made the majority of the early attacking play and, despite some impressive defending from Sol Arbib and Joe Cullen, found themselves 2-0 up inside 15 minutes. However, the new look Bedales side began to settle into a rhythm and became more precise moving forward, driven by the influential Zach Stewart and Sam Gibbon.
Bedales created a number of decent chances but unfortunately failed to convert. However, on the stroke of half-time, a moment of individual brilliance and a clinical finish from Jac Wheeler, deservedly pulled Bedales back in to the game.
Despite a well presented half-time talk from captain Josh Baty, the Bedales side weren’t able to match the same intensity levels as the first half and began to lose shape, producing a number of turnovers which were clinically finished by Kings, who came away deserved winners. Plenty of promise from the Bedales side and a clear target of maintaining intensity and structural discipline levels.
Wednesday evening’s hockey fixture saw the girls’ U15 side host Alton School. With a number of enforced changes, this was a new look side and presented a good opportunity for some U14 players to play up an age group. It was therefore encouraging to see the Bedales side make the early attacking advances and play forward with confidence. After a sustained period of attacking play, Bedales forced a penalty corner which was neatly converted from the top of the circle by Iris Biles. 1-0 Bedales at half time.
As the game progressed it was clear to see that the new look Bedales side were becoming increasingly settled, working as a more cohesive unit – much of this being driven by the inside forward pairing of Tilly Wall and Clara Stannah. Having said this, Alton were not without threat going forward and on a number of occasions Bedales were thankful for the presence of Tilly Baty, who calmly dealt with any danger and regularly converted defence into attack, and from one of these she released the impressive Rosy Riley down the right hand side who accelerated around two or three Alton defenders before calmly passing to Clara to slot home.
The game was put beyond down inside the final seven or eight minutes as Annabel Peskett neatly finished at the back post to put Bedales 3-0 up. An excellent performance and a special mention must go to Ella Von Bodecker who performed incredibly well in an unfamiliar position, giving the Bedales a stable structure to work from.
On Wednesday afternoon, the girls’ second XI hockey hosted Westgate School. This turned out to be a wonderfully close and competitive game that went down to the final two minutes.
The first half was well-balanced with both sides creating a number of chances but failing to convert: the central defensive trio of Greta Stillwell, Maya Cressman and Issy Robinson proving to be particularly influential for the Bedales side. Greta, proving to be the provider for the breakthrough as she won a tackle just outside her defensive circle and released a 50m pass to release Rebekah Leach who burst through the defence to calmly slot home against the talented Westgate goalkeeper. However, it was the away side that finished the half the strongest of the two sides, and had it not been for an excellent reaction save from goalkeeper Rosie Voyantzis, they would have drawn level. 1-0 Bedales at half-time.
Westgate continued where they had left off and made the majority of the forward running at the start of the second half and deservedly pulled back level with a finish from close range. This sparked new life in to the Bedales side, with Sage Bidwell and Izzy Land proving to be particularly threatening on the attack. This combined with the ever impressive ball carrying of Ava Sender Logan meant that Bedales had the majority of the attacking possession but struggled to convert chances or penalty corners until the final two minutes when a goal bound shot was partially stopped and then hit a foot on the line: penalty stroke. Up stepped Rebekah Leach to finish in the corner with pretty much the last play of the game. A really exciting and enjoyable game which was a credit to both sides.
On Wednesday, the first XI hosted an incredibly talented and strong Tormead side. The Bedales side were soon on the back foot, conceding two goals in quick succession. However, this seemed to spur them in to life and they adapted to the pace of the game, competing for the ball better and recognising the value of work off the ball. As has been a constant this season, Mathilda Douglas was relentless in her work rate up front and never allowed the Tormead defence to fully settle, but despite this work-rate and the occasional break forward from Rosy Riley, the Bedales side were having to do most of the work in their own half.
The second half saw another step up in performance with Alisia Leach becoming increasingly influential, ably supported by the ever improving Sammy Smith and the creation of a few more ‘half-chances’. But with an abundance of talent in the Tormead side there was never a moment to rest and Captain Esther Stewart was exemplary at the back – tough tackling, timely interceptions and a number of good outlets. Despite this and a never ending determination from all the Bedales players it was Tormead who, deservedly, took home the victory. The first XI will go in to their final game of the season next week with a focus on retaining possession and finishing an already excellent season on a high.
By Esther Stewart, 6.2 and Girls’ First XI Captain
Last Wednesday the girls’ first XI had an early 7am meet to travel to Abingdon for the South Central Regional Hockey Tournament.
With one sub, new short corner tactics and a star addition to the team, we warmed up for our first game against Tudor Hall. We dominated most of the play but found ourselves two nil down at half time. However, a positive half-time team talk and a real focus for the second half we bounced back well. Sammy Smith providing the first moment of inspiration as inside forward carrying the ball into the D and winning a short corner, which followed an exceptional short corner drag flick from Alisia Leach followed by a deflection by Mathilda Douglas, put us back in the game. The opposition managed to get past the halfway line on a few occasions but being 2-1 down we stayed strong and energy levels were high. We finished the game with an exceptional team goal from Rosy Riley. Final score: 2-2.
Our second match against St Mary’s Ascot brought out our competitive side with some short corner battles. This was a tough game, with both sides evenly matched but thanks to our halves, Sasha Arney, Rebekah Leach and Gala Pearson, keeping the pace up and quick turn arounds we stayed strong and ranked up the intensity. St Mary’s managed to get six shorts in a row but the strong defence of Shanklin-Mackillop Hall, Esther Stewart and great saves from Mathilda Gellatly kept the opposition from scoring. The second half saw us fight back, winning multiple shorts but the whistle blew leaving another close draw of 0-0. Nevertheless, we were through to the semi-finals!
In the semi-final, Oxford High gave us a good run for our money, scoring a goal off a short. However, with strong forwards, we stayed positive and Alisia Leach’s famous drag flick secured us a goal in the first half. A few goal attempts – including Leela Walton’s powerful strike in the second half – kept emotions running high. Unfortunately, Oxford High just managed to get their second goal, sending them to the final, but we kept our spirits up and had no regrets, knowing we had played the better than ever.
Congratulations to everyone for being part of the only Bedales team in history to make it to the regional semi-finals!
On Thursday, the U16 girls’ hockey side travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Trophy Tournament. The format was a mini league with games 15 minutes one way. Things got off to a good start for Bedales, beating Ballard 4-0 with goals from Lola Mackay (who scored two), Rosy Riley and Sienna Marcos Bancroft Cooke. The second game was played out in similar fashion, with Bedales pressing high and posing a constant attacking threat. The strings in the middle of the pitch were pulled by the incredibly impressive Rebekah Leach and Bedales finished 3-0 to St John’s, with Lola Mackay on the score sheet again, alongside Ottilie Douglas and Sage Bidwell/Rebekah Leach.
Ditcham Park were up next and despite a positive start from Bedales, the Ditcham side forced their way back in to the game with a clinical finish on the counter. However, Ottilie was on hand again to put in two goals, even more impressive considering she was now battling through an injury from the previous game. Rosy Riley finished off the game with a superb strike in to the top corner – 4-1. Island Free School were the fourth game on the schedule and a much tighter game ensued, the deadlock being deservedly broken by Rebekah.
The results from all the other games meant that Bedales final game, and third on the bounce would be against Embley Park, the winners of which would progress through to the regional rounds. The game was played at a good speed with both teams looking to attack at every opportunity. It was Embley who took the lead and despite some late high pressing, attacking short corners and chances in the circle, Bedales couldn’t convert and finished runners up in the tournament.
A fantastic day out and the team were an absolute credit to the school, both on and off the pitch. The effort and commitment shown was exemplary. For various reasons the side could only field 11 players and this 11 fought through tiredness, injury and some illness to finish runners up – really impressive. A special mention must also go to Block 4 students Rosy Riley, Siena Marcos Bancroft Cooke and Esmae Gordon who all played up a year and more than held their own.
On Wednesday the girls’ first XI travelled to Embley Park School and played an adapted format game (four quarters as opposed to two halves), which provide a lovely opportunity to rotate a number of positions.
The first quarter involved both sides turning over possession on a regular basis but it was the Bedales side who held most of the attacking territory. A calm finish from Mathilda Douglas after a well worked team move and another goal from a short corner drag flick from Alisia Leach put the Bedales side 2-0 up going in to the first interval. The second quarter saw a ramp up in intensity and better retention of the ball from Bedales, with Mathilda Douglas adding to her tally. The third quarter was probably the stand out for Bedales in terms of attacking possession – the Bedales side attacked at speed and were efficient in front of goal. Kamaya Nelson Clayton picking up a hat-trick inside 15 minutes. The final quarter saw Embley rally and put together some powerful drives in to the circle, deservedly winning a number of penalty corners. However, Bedales captain Esther Stewart, Shanklin Mackillop-Hall and goalkeeper Matilda Gellatly were on hand to keep Embley at bay.
A special mention must go to Sammy Smith, who had arguably her strongest game of the season and deservedly picked up player of the match. An enjoyable game and good preparation as the side head to Abingdon next week for the South Central regional finals.
The late Wednesday afternoon fixture saw the girls’ second XI back in action. The opposition was a strong Alton side who had the majority of the attacking play in the first half. However, they were kept at bay for long periods due to the goalkeeping of Tilda Gellatly, who had shown incredible commitment to the Bedales hockey programme by playing for the first XI in the afternoon before travelling back to fill a slot in the second XI, which was wonderful to see.
Alton were deservedly 2-0 up at half-time but a positive team talk and approach in the second half saw the Bedales side come out fighting. Forward running from Sage Bidwell and Izzy Land always meant that the Bedales side had an attacking threat; they were ably supported by the impressive Ava Sender Logan alongside the hard-working and influential Katie Mansbridge and Lula Goldring.
Despite the best efforts of full back Maya Cressman, the Alton side ran in three late goals to finish 5-0 winners, a score not fully reflective of just how close the game had been. A really valuable game in terms of development for the team and plenty to take into next week’s game.
The girls’ first XI were back in action on Wednesday. Although the team were high in confidence after their success at the Hampshire Trophy Tournament, they knew they were facing a tough opposition in PGS.
The Bedales side were quick to adapt to the bouncy, water-based pitch at HMS Temeraire and made a lot of the early attacking advances, forcing a number of attacking short corners and it was from one of these that the incredibly influential Alisia Leach put the side 1-0 up. However, an unfortunate head injury to Rebekah Leach threw a spanner in the works, and despite some reshuffling, Bedales found themselves 2-1 down at half-time.
Further reshuffling involving the adaptable and impressive Leela Walton gave the Bedales team more footing in the game and it was incredibly evenly matched until a controversial PGS goal once again threw the Bedales side out of kilter, before two quick PGS goals put the game out of reach.
However, huge credit to the Bedales girls who bounced back once again, finishing the half as the strongest team and ending with a thoroughly deserved goal for Kamaya Nelson-Clayton. A special mention must also go to Anna Tasker, who came into the side late in the day and proved that she is more than capable of playing at this level.
On Wednesday, the incredibly committed girls’ first XI hockey team travelled to Southampton Sports Centre to take part in the Hampshire Hockey U18 Trophy Tournament. After a sporadic two years of hockey, this was always going to be a tough ask, both physically and mentally. Things got off to a tough start as the Bedales side faced a direct and powerful KES Southampton side and were unfortunate to lose the influential Alisia Leach when a rogue lifted ball struck her ankle. The first game ended in a 2-0 loss for Bedales.
It is, however, a huge testament to this side that they regrouped. Alisia returned to play through injury and the team were determined to bounce back, Ruby Cole sparking some inspiration with her tough tackling, timely interceptions and accuracy when building an attack. The next two games followed very similar patterns: a lot of attacking possession but not enough finesse in the final third and opposition always a threat on the counter attack. However, this was consistently dealt with by full backs Shanklin Mackillop-Hall (fresh from completing her Gold DofE) and captain Esther Stewart striking the right balance of being calm in possession and combative when looking to win tackles and make interceptions and an emergence of Gala Pearson winning a lot of ball high up the pitch. This resulted in two 1-0 victories and put the Bedales side back in chance of coming in the top two places.
The fourth game was a 1-1- draw in a competitive and enthralling game vs Lord Wandsworth College B. Confidence was now flowing through the Bedales side, with Rebekah Leach pulling the strings from centre half and Leela Walton dominating in possession.
The final game vs Peter Symonds’ second XI was by far the best performance. The deadlock was broken from a deflected short corner strike that was brought down neatly by Rebekah and calmly slotted home and this was followed up with a thoroughly deserved hat-trick for the ever threatening Mathilda Douglas, who was assisted greatly by the driving forward runs of Sasha Arney and unbelievable work rate jumping back and winning the ball from Kamaya Nelson Clayton.
The side have now qualified to go through to the regional rounds in November. This is only the second time ever that a Bedales side has reached this level and the team should be incredibly proud of themselves.