KESGRAVE High School’s Girls’ Under-13 side are reflecting on a memorable journey after reaching the last four of a national competition.
The Suffolk side bowed out of the English Schools’ Football Association Under-13 Playstation 9-a-side Schools’ Cup, after losing 2-0 away to Bohunt School Wokingham in Berkshire on Monday.
The defeat brought an end to their seven-match winning sequence in the competition.
Their run started with an 8-0 victory over Thomas Mills high School from Framlingham, before beating Westbourne Academy from Ipswich 4-3 in round two.
The Kesgrave Girls then beat Sir John Leman from Beccles 6-1, Notre Dame High School, Norwich 3-2 after extra time and St Ivo School from Huntingdon 3-2.
Victories followed 3-0 against Shenfield High School from Essex and 2-1 versus Kingsdale School from South London to reach the last four.
PE teacher Chris Finch, who is also the team’s manager, said of Monday’s match: “The semi-final was a highly competitive contest with two talented teams playing fast flowing, attractive football.
“Despite having a number of chances and us hitting the woodwork midway through the first half, Bohunt were able to put their chances away, scoring once in the first half and then their second, a great header from a corner, with five minutes remaining.
“We were always in this game and in the second half really applied the pressure but without getting that all-important goal.
“Despite the result the school are very proud of the girls’ achievements. The girls have performed brilliantly, growing in confidence as a team and playing with real heart and desire.
“It’s the first time any Kesgrave High School team have reached the last four in the ESFA national cup competition and the support from parents, teachers and pupils along the way has helped make this a really memorable journey for the girls.
“Although the girls were initially disappointed about Monday’s result they have soon been able to realise what an achievement it was reaching this stage and are now even more determined to replicate and beat this year’s national cup achievements, next year.
“Just under 400 schools initially entered this Under-13 Girls’ national cup competition which is a tremendous reflection of how girls’/women’s football is growing in this country. To reach the semi-final by winning seven fixtures is a fantastic achievement.”
Kesgrave High School are still in the Under-13 Girls’ county cup competition, and are waiting to see whether they will play Westley School or St Benedicts Catholic School in the last four.
Finch added: “We’re sure that whoever we play will be a tough game but we hope we can build upon the experience the girls have had in the national cup competition and reach the final of the county cup this year.”
The Kesgrave High School squad are pictured above on Monday (back row, left to right): Hannah Nilsson, Jada Scoulding, Tatianna Flores, Yasmin Ling, Brooke Morling (captain), Demi Jones, Elizabeth West. Front row: Ingrid Baluta, Mia Gordon, Emma King, Molly Nicholson, Katie Yorke, Rhiannon Evans, Emma Drake.