Date published: Wed 14 Jun 2017
Author: B. Gibson-Patteux
A busy hockey season culminated in Whitgift winning through to the England Hockey Schools’ Championships, which took place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, at the end of April. In an unprecedented week for the School, three national outdoor hockey titles were won by the U14, U16 and U18 teams.
The winning streak began with the U14s, who navigated their way through their pool without conceding a single goal. The national final saw Whitgift play Cranleigh in a hugely-entertaining game, with goals from Ollie Shelton and Johnny Sunderland. The U16s took centre stage the following day, with three strong team performances and victories over Dean Close, Trent and Felsted. With no goals conceded, Whitgift came top of their pool. A stellar team performance, and goals from Josh Gravestock and Adam Bambroffe, ensured Whitgift claimed a 3-0 victory over a strong Reeds team and their second national title of the week.
Last, but certainly not least, were the 1st XI. With an unbeaten season under their belts, the team faced Queen’s College, Taunton, in the semi-final. In an exhilarating match, the Whitgiftians secured the game 7-3. Whitgift were pitted against Repton in the final, in a pulsating game which saw chances for both teams. Josh Coniglio drew Whitgift ahead early on, converting a penalty corner. Repton levelled the score and with 10 minutes to go were awarded a penalty flick. Lekan Ogunlana, as he has on so many previous occasions, saved the powerful strike. Minutes later, Whitgift were awarded a penalty corner in which Captain, Josh, score his second goal of the final. The Whitgift team defended resolutely in the last five minutes and with the final whistle came an eruption of joy from players, staff and parents alike. It was fitting for all the boys involved in the competition to receive medals from England Hockey Vice President, Christopher Todd, and, notably, Old Whitgiftian Luke Taylor, who had recently been selected to represent Great Britain at hockey.
The outdoor season concluded with Whitgift as National Independent Schools Champions at U13 and U15, and National Champions at U14, U16 and U18 level.