Godalming College students won a clutch of medals at The Association of Colleges National Championships held at the University of Nottingham at the weekend. The Godalming Men’s Hockey Team became National Champions winning a medal each and a beautiful glass trophy. Ruby Wyles came second in the cross country winning a Silver Medal for the individual race and a Gold as part of the winning South East Team. Marcus Brimicombe and Stephen Lavery, also cross country runners won Silver Medals as part of the South East Men’s Team.
Ruby, Stephen and Marcus, who are delighted with their medals, won the regional cross country competition to take part in the National Championships. Ruby who competes on behalf of Guildford & Godalming Athletics Club and also represents Surrey regularly at National and International events, finished 8th in the British Cross Country Challenge Series for the 2018/19 season and clocks up more than 60 miles each week in training.
The Godalming College Men’s Hockey Team who took part in a one day tournament to qualify as representatives for the South East at the National Championships, are celebrating their triumph with fellow Hockey players from the Women’s Team and Mixed Team all of whom didn’t exist before Sports Teacher Vicky Shelbourn joined the College and shared her passion for Hockey.
“This is an incredible achievement for the College, from no hockey to winning the National Championships, it’s extraordinary. It has taken phenomenal commitment from the players who have become a real hockey family, supporting each other, turning up for each other’s matches and never missing training. They have played some fantastic fast paced hockey this weekend and they have also behaved very professionally throughout, I am very proud of them and they are a credit to the College.” Says Vicky.
Captain Jordon Robson has led the team through to the Championships, Ethan Kingsbury was named player of the tournament and Max Greenhalgh scored what is considered the goal of the season after a completely unstoppable shot from across the pitch at a sharp angle after dribbling past 4 members of the opposition smashing the ball into the top corner of the goal.
The professionalism and spirit amongst the team both on and off the pitch over the 3 days was a joy to behold, and the team spirit epitomised this success. For those of us leaving this term, we can honestly say we have completed a remarkable journey, and now leave with some great memories. For me as the captain, it has been a real privilege and honour to have lead such a great team - I have learned such a lot and without a doubt it’s been the team that’s made me a better player. I wish Godalming College hockey and particularly those finalists staying for another year, continued success and enjoyment next season.
Godalming plus other South East Colleges representing different sports contributed to the South East Team which became overall National Champions winning the coveted Wilkinson Sword for the third year in a row. The AoC National Championship included 130 colleges taking 1700 students to take part in three days of events. The Hockey tournament involved all teams playing each other, with some tough opposition, for example from the West Midlands Team which is an amalgamation of Colleges and has 9 GB Colleges players. However Godalming managed to win every single game because they were ‘determined and hungry to win’.
Head of Physical Education and Sport at Godalming College, Danny Bonney says “We had a fantastic time at Nottingham. The competition was really well run with excellent administrators and officials and the accommodation staff went out of their way to welcome us. The performances from our athletes speak for themselves but it was their behaviour and attitude around the venues that stood out for me; courteous, friendly and usually entertaining! We have always been a part of the AoC National Championships through cross country, trampolining, swimming, badminton, squash and women’s rugby but it is the first time since 2009 men’s basketball that we have represented the South East in a team event. I must give a huge thank you to the parents who travelled to support the team and for the ongoing support from the College who funded the trip in difficult financial times for sixth form colleges.”
Report by Captain, Jordon Robson
This was an incredible weekend in so many ways, and above all a remarkable story of how Godalming 6th Form College emerged from a new team to the best college team in the country in only 2 years. When I joined Godalming College there was no hockey team. We still don’t have our own pitch so practices are few and far between and our ‘home’ games are played on borrowed pitches. This amazing success was an amalgamation of a well-respected coach who kicked it all off 2 years ago, some truly gifted players with genuine enthusiasm and skill and above all a fantastic team spirit.
Through a knock-out competition, we reigned supreme as the team to represent the South East in the finals to be played at Nottingham University in a league play-off against 4 other teams who had won through their own regions. This weekend saw the finals of various sports including volleyball, sevens rugby, netball and many more all held at Nottingham University with all sports then competing for the overall National Title.
We arrived knowing the other 4 teams were all from colleges considerably larger than ourselves, so were under no false illusions that the quality of the opponents was going to be very high. However, we came up against a Birmingham/Worcester combined team, representing the West Midlands, after our arrival on Friday and indeed it proved to be a tough match with both sides having their chances. With only minutes to go it was 1-1, but with only 1 minute to go Kingsbury slotted home for Godalming to record a hard won victory. The team atmosphere on Friday evening was incredible, and suddenly there was genuine belief we weren’t just there to make up the numbers, and we had enough ability throughout the team to give anybody a hard game.
Saturday started where we had left off, but this time with more significant margins of 4-1 against Exeter College and 4-0 against the East– Hills road, with Max Greenhalgh and Freddie hares Taking most of our goals with Johnny Thompson, Ethan Kingsbury and myself also getting on the scoresheets. It’s often the goal scorers that get the mention, but in this team our defensive and goal-keeping ability of Louis Elston is significant as we conceded only 2 goals in the 4 matches. So at the end of Saturday we found ourselves top of the league with only 1 more game to play on Sunday, which we still had to at least draw to win overall.
The belief, passion and desire to win amongst the whole team was incredible on Saturday evening. The final game was against the North East, supported by a number of parents who had made the 3-hour journey. In truth we were perhaps at our most tense and took a while to settle, but a spectacular drag flick from Marcus Isherwood at a short corner, found the top right corner of the net shortly before half time. Another from Johnny off a short corner and one from Freddie in open play, saw us through to the final whistle and an overall euphoric victory – Godalming College now officially National Hockey Champions 2019.
Our victory also contributed to the South East’s overall victory for all sports and the award of the Wilkinson Sword.