St Catherine’s braved the arctic conditions to win the 2018 Rathbones National Schools Lacrosse Championships Under 19B Tournament for the second year in a row.
The Surrey school battled through the sub-zero temperatures and perishing wind that hit Rendcomb College on Saturday, defeating Benenden 3-1 in the final.
In the morning pool stages, the 22 participating schools battled hard in search of a quarter-final spot with Berkhamsted, St Pauls and Guildford High making the early running, topping their respective sections all with a 6-0-1 record.
St Catherine’s qualified in second behind Berkhamsted, along with Wycombe Abbey and Putney, while Lady Eleanor Holles and eventual finalists Benenden squeezed though as the best third placed teams.
It was then in the knockout stages where things got interesting as the form book from the pool stages was thrown out of the window.
In the quarter-finals, St Catherine’s safely negotiated their way past Wycombe Abbey, 3-2, with group winners Berkhamsted and Guildford High also both advancing against LEH and Putney respectively, teams they had earlier beaten in pool play.
However, it was Benenden, who after scraping through in third place, downed St Pauls in their QF, coming from behind to win 2-1, before causing another upset to then knock out Guildford High 2-0 in the Semi-final.
Meanwhile, St Catherine’s then avenged a 2-1 defeat earlier in the day to Berkhamsted to win their semi-final 3-2 with the St Cat’s goalie making a crucial double save at the death to set up a final against Benenden.
St Cat’s had already picked up two runner-up spots over the last week losing both RNSLC Under 19A and third team tournament finals and were hoping that this would be a case of third time lucky.
Despite the challenging conditions, the level of play throughout the day was impressive and this continued into the final, with St Cat’s going into an early lead before Benenden hit back to tie it up.
However, St Catherine’s began to control more of the possession and the chances soon came, with two goals in quick succession, while Benenden couldn’t convert their opportunities at the other end and St Catherine’s ran out deserved 3-1 winners.