Earlier this month, the 1st lacrosse XII travelled to the Small Schools qualifier at Princess Helena College. The girls were confident in their own abilities as the team has be working together smoothly during its Easter season.
The team squared off against Abbott’s Hill, Bedford, St Margaret’s and the host and won all of their matches. The squad will proceed to the final round on 12 March in Wantage.
Although we will not be competing in this tournament next year due to the growth of the Haileybury Lacrosse Programme, the team made their mark scoring a total of 15 goals. A few non-1st XII players were invited along in the interest of experience and they should receive special praise for their efforts: Charis and Livia Bridgman-Baker, Isabella Eichler, Franziska Reutter and Sarah Peters-Harrison.
On 9 February, the squad travelled away to the National Qualifiers at Berkhamsted. During this trip the girls were much more apprehensive as the calibre of opposition at this tournament was much higher. As the draw was passed around the bus, a few groans could be heard as it was clear that the matches would get harder as the long day wore on. At the suggestion of similar groans occurring as other teams read our name a cheeky voice piped up: "But we’re new!" It was true but you only compete in the Nationals for the first time once and there was a precedent to be set.
First up was Dunnottar. After a sluggish beginning the girls realised that they could compete and sealed the first match 8-0. The girls used their new-found confidence to take wins against Lady Ellenor Holles and Queen Margaret’s York. As fatigue started to set in, the team found it harder and harder to finish with the ball in the net, and the tie with Downe House was sealed by an exceptional penalty save by goalie Hellen Malllison in the final seconds. The team was dizzy with the possibility that we could proceed to the semi-finals. We knew though that Queen Anne’s was set to stop us.
As the final match got under way, the team dug deep and found themselves playing their very best. It was not quite enough to beat Queen Anne’s but the girls were proud to say that they had nothing left to give. Our final standing was a well-deserved 3rd in our pool and a high water mark for next year.
On 10 February, the 1st and 2nd XII faced off against the visiting American ‘Stars and Stripes’ teams. The friendly game got under way after a brief tour of the campus and a long stop in the school’s store. The 1st XII played well, earning a 15-5 win. The seconds, on the other hand, seemed a bit daunted by the faceguard-wearing opposition and conceded a 5-9 loss.