UPLANDS defeated defending Bracknell Forest Primary Schools Festival of Hockey champions Binfield 2-1 at the end of a fabulous day at South Berkshire HC.
The 24 participating teams were divided into eight groups of three, with each team playing the other two twice and the top team progressing to the quarter finals.
In Group A, Binfield started well, but a draw with Whitegrove gave their opponents hope. However, a comfortable win in their final game saw the defending champions safely through.
Wildmoor Heath looked strong from the start in Group B, winning their first match by five goals. They were not so prolific in their remaining games, but two wins and two draws saw them into the next round.
Group C was really tight with Meadow Vale and New Scotland Hill neck and neck throughout. Ultimately New Scotland hill’s victory over their closest rivals proved conclusive.
The top half of the draw was completed in Group D, where Wooden Hill swept all before them scoring 12 goals without conceding to claim maximum points.
Group E was interesting as all three teams took points from each other, but St Joseph’s managed to win two games, enough to see them through.
The tightest group was F, where Uplands and Crowthorne battled for top spot. Both teams finished on nine points and beat each other once.
However, Uplands started with a bang, scoring eight goals in their first match – and that was enough to qualify by superior number of goals scored.
After a slow start in Group G, Jennett’s Park picked up to win their next three matches and take top spot.
The qualifiers for the knock-out stages were completed by St Margaret Clitherow, who also won three matches to take the final quarter final place.
In the first quarter final Binfield showed no mercy against Wildmoor Heath, scoring regularly to win by three goals.
The remaining three quarter finals were all decided by just one goal with St Margaret Clitherow overcoming Jennetts Park with a late goal, Uplands winning more comfortably than the scoreline suggested and Wooden Hill taking 20 seconds of extra time to score the golden goal against New Scotland Hill.
In the first semi final, Binfield and Wooden Hill were fairly even until a fortuitous goal took Binfield into the lead. A second goal looked to have made the game safe, but a late Wooden Hill goal made the last couple of minutes interesting. Binfield held on to reach the final with a 2-1 success.
Uplands had a rather more comfortable passage, finally ending St Margaret Cltherow’s fine run 3-1.
The standard throughout the day had been of the highest order with Binfield arguably the standout team, but Uplands were more than a match for last year’s winners in an excellent final.
The match was played at a great pace with chances at both ends. Binfield opened the scoring, but two quickfire strikes midway through the match gave Uplands the lead with a few minutes to play and they defended stoutly to take the title, which was presented by Bracknell Forest Council mayor,Tony Virgo.