Blustery winds were the main problem facing 16 teams at this season’s Herts & Middlesex U11 Sevens Championship, held once again at Aldenham School. However, the 16 teams coped admirably and, despite the conditions, produced a high standard of play.
The “Group of Death” is a much used expression in tournaments but seldom has it been more appropriate than on this occasion. Whilst Aldwickbury, Northcote Lodge and Beechwood Park all impressed in winning their groups, Group C always looked to be a particularly strong one and so it was to prove. With all 16 teams progressing to the knock-out stages, the semi-finals were to involve the four teams that had begun the competition in Group C.
Lochinver House had topped Group C and had won 5 consecutive matches in impressive style when they took on Hampton Prep School in the semi-final. A comfortable victory looked on the cards but chances were missed, great saves were made, Hampton weathered the storm and then broke away to score just before half-time. Lochinver gave everything in the second half but simply could not break down the excellent Hampton defence and Hampton won through to the final. Meanwhile in the other semi, Radlett Preparatory School took on Highgate and triumphed 2-0 to clinch the other place in the Final, having only finished third in the group, demonstrating the merits of keeping going and not becoming downhearted by early setbacks.
Both defences were on top in the Final and even extra-time could not produce a goal so a desperately tense penalty shoot-out ensued with some extremely accurate kicks giving the goalkeepers little chance. It took 7 kicks for each side before the game concluded with a Hampton triumph; with just 3 goals conceded in 7 matches during the day, there was no doubt that it was their excellent defence that had proved the decisive factor and secured them a place in the National Finals.
2015-16 Lochinver House
2016-17 Westbrook Hay
2017-18 Lochinver House
2018-19 Hampton Prep School