There was a shock in the Shiplake College Hockey Sixes tournament when experience outplayed youth. Two teams from the Hockey Club’s senior squad, an alumni team and a staff team entered the six-a-side competition played on the College’s astroturf.
Looking for a third consecutive title the alumni team, the Old Vikings, suffered a shock defeat by the teachers’ team. With Richard Mannix, showing his experience to slot home a shot following a short corner, in a narrow victory over the younger boys’ team, the teachers relied on clean sheets to top the table. A staff squad of Peter Gould, Richard Mannix, Bob Snellgrove, Tom Fitton, Jack Caine, Austin Kersey and goalkeeper Max Robinson (on loan from the 1stteam squad) proved that shrewd positional sense and calm assured possession can carry a team a long way.
Ollie Gould who had previously played in the Old Vikings’ victorious 2012 team, had to eat humble pie, and hand over the Richard Maundrell Trophy to his father Peter Gould.
Iluro Hockey Club 0 Shiplake Hockey Club 3
On a clear cold Iberian evening Shiplake College all but made the dream start to their Barcelona Hockey tour. The touring team dominated the first fifteen minutes as time and time again Iluro struggled to play their way out of their own half. Shiplake were quicker to the ball and their tackling was the cleaner, crisper and more decisive of the two teams. Laflin, Cowmeadow and Hewins drove into the Iluro D with the home team scrambling the ball away. It was a total team effort from the Shiplake squad with the rolling subs Fogden, Baker, Reeves and Sarkytbayev maintainng the high tempo and constant pressure on Iluro´s D.
Although Iluro played some senior adult players alongside their youth team they found no answers in midfield to stop the hard-working Bowers, Milroy and Donald initiating attack after attack. On the rare occasions when Iluro broke into the Shiplake half, decisive tackling from Francis, Hawes and Henry Robinson snuffed out any threat. Keeper Max Robinson was an isolated and chilly silhouette against the floodlit pitch.
Finally, and just as Shiplake were beginning to show signs of frustration, the goal came. Zac Bigley fired off yet another shot at the Iluro goal and Laflin deflected the ball past the floundering keeper. Iluro were inspired to raise their game and finally passed their way into the Shiplake half for a couple of tense minutes at the end of the first haf.
The momentum remained with Iluro as the second half started but it could not change the course of the match. Shiplake´s passing, fitness and team spirit soon regained the upper hand. A short corner routine worked to perfection wtih Cowmeadow driving the ball into the back board with a satisfying thud. Minutes later Iluro kept out the first effort but Bigley picked up the rebound, slipped it precisely to Hewins whose measured drag-flick secured a three goal margin.
Alongside Football, Hockey is a major sport in the Spring Term. Hockey is played throughout the school with 10 teams in total ranging from Lower School to Senior 1st XI. The staff and boys work well together and enjoy Hockey at the College even on the coldest days of the year.
Shiplake hosts midweek matches at the club grounds of Reading HC, Sonning HC and Henley HC which are only a short drive away, while at the school the Astroturf surface is a great arena for skill development and the venue for small-sided Inter-House tournaments.
Shiplake College is known for punching well above its weight in sport and Hockey is going from strength to strength due to the experienced coaching team. The coaching focus is on developing individual skills and looking at team tactics & game play.
Fixtures and results can be found here.