England: National State School Festival 2023 Review

In the Boys tournament on Day 1 teams played off in pools in the morning and then played crossover games against other teams from similar standings in the afternoon in five mini competitions to ensure games of a comparable standard. 

In the Cup final between pool winners Kings Winchester defeated Ecclesbourne from Belper 2-1. The Trophy final went the way of Sir Joseph Mathematical from Rochester who overcame Langley Park from South London 4-2.   Hitchin Boys beat Calday Grange on strokes after a 2-2 draw in the Vase final and Queen Marys Walsall took the Bowl defeating Sackville from East Grinstead 4-1.  Thorndean from Eastleigh won the Shield thanks to a 1-0 win against Wirral Grammar.

There were seven teams in the Girls Tier 1 competition and the teams played an all play all round robin tournament. The winners were only decided in the last round of games with Cranbrook’s defeat of Caroline Chisolm from Northampton proving decisive as their nearest challengers Ecclesbourne were held by Great Marlow.

Day Two saw similar formats to the Boys Tier 1. An added boost was the presence of England and GB star Ellie Rayer who spent all day talking to players, having selfies and taking impromptu coaching sessions.

In the Girls competition Rosebery School from Epsom won the Cup thanks to a 1-0 defeat of Wheatley Park School in the final. The Trophy tournament went the way of local school Toothill who beat Cowley International from St Helens 1-0. County High Bury St Edmunds took home the Vase with a 1-0 win over Malcom Arnold Academy Northampton.

The Boy’s Cup was won by Bishop Stopford School Northampton on strokes, after their final with Coombe Boys from New Malden ended 1-1 in normal time. The Trophy final was also decided on strokes with Mercia from Sheffield defeating Shipston High from South Warks. Great Marlow won a mini round robin to lift the Vase.  

“We had the most fantastic day and the Girls finishing third was a bonus! We are really hoping this will be an annual event which we can put in the diary and attend on a yearly basis!” Island Free School, Isle of Wight.

“Thank you for putting on a really good show. We had no idea what we were going to expect. However, every game bar one was competitive and it is good to enter a tournament where there isn’t an outlier team packed with sports scholars; and you have a genuine feeling that you can win a match. It’s also good to play completely different teams.”  Herts & Essex High School

“Thank you so much for organising today. Our girls had a fantastic time!” Newlands School, Maidenhead

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