Lack­lus­tre start no bar­rier for champs Rep­ton

The Hockey Paper - - SCHOOLS' SUPER 6S - By Will Moul­ton

AFTER claim­ing a first Un­der-16 Schools Su­per 6s ti­tle, Rep­ton School coach Martin Jones cred­ited his play­ers for re­cov­er­ing from a slow start to emerge as cham­pi­ons.

A hat-trick from Stu­art Ken­twell and a Mackey New­ton goal gave their team a well-de­served 4-2 vic­tory over 2016 cham­pi­ons and home favourites Whit­gift School in Satur­day’s fi­nal.

Things had not looked so rosy when they opened their cam­paign on Fri­day with a sur­pris­ing 2-1 loss to Dean Close School, some­thing Jones put down to rusti­ness given that the school term had started a few days be­fore.

But wins over Ip­swich, King Ed­ward VI and Al­trin­cham Gram­mar fol­lowed, lift­ing them to the top of Pool A and se­cur­ing a semi-fi­nal en­counter against Queen El­iz­a­beth Gram­mar School (QEGS) Wake­field – which they won 4-3 on strokes.

“Queens played very well and they pushed us all the way. They had an un­der-14 goal­keeper who played ex­cel­lently,” said the Olympian.

“We got re­ally lucky in the penalty shootout but we played much bet­ter in the fi­nal.

“We had saved our best game un­til last and it showed in the flu­ency of our play.

“Stu­art’s hat-trick could not have come at a bet­ter time. It’s a very happy time for the boys and ev­ery­one at Rep­ton.”

The school won a first Un­der-18 ti­tle in 2016, but had only man­aged run­ners-up spots in the younger com­pe­ti­tion, in 2013 and 1996.

But Jones had faith in his play­ers, even if they were slow off the mark.

“We had a lit­tle bit of a pre-season but we prob­a­bly came into the tour­na­ment un­pre­pared and that is maybe what led to us los­ing the first group game,” he added.

“How­ever I be­lieved we had a chance, as we do in th­ese ma­jor tour­na­ments where mak­ing a semi-fi­nal can open things up for us.

“We hoped that we would get through to the semi-fi­nal and then we would be in with a shout.

“But los­ing our first game meant we needed to do a lit­tle bit more home­work on the teams to play next.”

Whit­gift made the fi­nal after top­ping Pool B with wins over QEGS Wake­field, Trent Col­lege, Mill­field and Bishop’s Stort­ford Col­lege and ended Dean Close’s cam­paign 4-0 in the semi-fi­nal.

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