Bancroft’s School’s under-18s Girls’ hockey team are through to the regional finals after coming out on top in the east regional play-offs.

The side successfully defended their Essex title at Old Loughtonians Hockey Club earlier this month against Coopers’ Coborn, Chelsmford CHS, Brentwood and Chigwell, so travelled to Ipswich for the play-offs as the undisputed county champions.

Here, they faced teams from further afield as players from Kent, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk all came together for the tournament.

Bancroft’s opening two games resulted in goalless draws against Tunbridge Wells Grammar School and the Royal Masonic School respectively.

Their third match saw goals from Emilia Parsons, Eleanor Channer and England under-16s player Grace O’Malley-Kumar give them victory over Culford School, and that was enough to send them into the day’s final.

Here, they came up against Suffolk’s Saffron Walden High School, where a single goal from Saskia Murphy was enough to bring them victory, secure their place in the regional finals in November and extend their unbeaten run to eight games without conceding a goal.

Bancroft’s coach Jo Fryer-Green said: “I have rarely seen a better performance from a Bancroft’s team than at the Essex Championships.

“The girls were on tour together during the summer holidays and the experience clearly bonded them and taught them a lot about the importance of teamwork.

“They are now looking forward to training hard for the regional finals later this term.”