On Sunday 27 and Monday 28 October, Banbridge Academy Girls’ 1st XI Hockey team took part in the Topflight Schools’ tournament that was held at the Scottish National Hockey Centre in Glasgow Green. This is an annual tournament with teams from across the UK and Ireland competing for the Topflight Schools’ title. The Academy girls won the competition in 2016 but missed out as they defended their title in 2017 when they narrowly lost in the final.
The girls had a good start to their group stages on Saturday, beating Royal Grammar School Newcastle 3-0 and Kelso High School 5-0. A draw against Glasgow Academy in their third match set them at the top of the group. At this stage they knew they would have to win both matches in the second day to guarantee a spot in the final.
The second day arrived with a frosty start which set matches back slightly, but the Banbridge Academy girls’ determination and drive did not alter. They beat Salerno Galway 4-0 and Teresians Dublin 1-0, securing a place in the Final against a very impressive side from Mary Erskine Edinburgh. The match was very even with both sides having equal possession and attacking play. The Academy girls broke the deadlock with a goal from Molly Mathers, but the Scottish school matched their efforts within 5 minutes of the restart to even the score line, leaving the outcome to be decided by penalty strokes. Academy keeper, Rebecca Spence, made it look easy by saving 3 out of 4 strokes and with Jodie Simmons, Katie McDonald and Ellen Reid all scoring their flicks Banbridge Academy’s 1st XI Girls’ Hockey team were once again crowned Topflight Champions!
Well done to the girls and to their coach Mr Neil Madeley and Mrs Gemma Todd (Head of Girls’ PE).