The U19A National Schools Lacrosse Championship 2018 was an event of great anticipation especially after an initial postponement due to the pitches being deep in snow. It was held at Wycombe Abbey School, on the 11-12th March. The SHSK 1sts team were in high spirits coming into the first of two days of the tournament, even after being two players down that day.
Our first match against Sherbourne was won 3-1, followed by more convincing wins against Uppingham and Wally Hall 8-1 and 2-1. One of our star attackers, Lara Hull, got an unfortunate knee injury and had to pull out, leaving the team with 15 players. Next St Helens took on the team seeded above them in their pool; St Albans. After a tough and nail-biting game, the team just lost 2-1 (with one of our own goals being guttingly discounted). More strong wins against Heathfield and St. Georges 5-0 and 3-0 brought our spirits back up for the final game. We mentally prepared ourselves to play the Nationals 2017 Champions Benenden, and after grit and determination from all, despite not having many subs, we came out on top, winning 3-2. This securely put us forward into the Championship division and into very high spirits for the next day.
Monday duly arrived, and after some heavy rain the night before, all pitches were waterlogged and deemed unsuitable for play. The 1st and 2nd division were cancelled and told to crushingly go home. Luckily St Helens having qualified as top 16 stayed to vie for the crown on the astro. Our first game was against Caterham and despite a good fight, we didn’t manage to win, losing 4-1. This put us into the Plate half of the championship. In our next match, we faced St Albans again. Fuelled from our previous loss, our team played our best and with incredible saves from Becky Coleman, some sensational defence from Ju & Georgie, smooth midfield transitions from Ella and Emily, moving to some fast and tactical attack from Sophie and Charlie, the team managed to win 2-1. This knocked St. Albans out and put us through to the Plate Semi-Final. Our semi-final was against Moreton Hall, with whom we had drawn to earlier in the season. We went in on a high from winning the previous game and managed to win with a stonking score of 4-1. This put us through to the Plate Final, against St Paul’s. After a tough fight, time was nearly over and the score stood at 1-1. Despite great play from everyone all over the field, St Paul’s managed to score a quick goal off a fast break putting us down by 1 goal. Sadly we didn't manage to sneak in another goal and ended up conceding the game 2-1.
Despite it not being quite the end we had hoped for, we were very happy coming 10th in the country! We walked away with runner-up medals after two days of challenging and thrilling lacrosse. (Thank you to Mrs Keogh for keeping us all in high spirits despite the mud and rain!)