We had a squad of 12 boys at the KC Stadium yesterday. As the morning progressed they began to gel as a team, and made significant progress against sides which in the main were physically bigger and stronger and more experienced.
Slazenger (0) v (3) Driffield
Slazenger (0) v (0) Bradford
Slazenger (0) v (1) Doncaster
Slazenger (2) v (0) Sheffield
Slazenger (0) v (1) Wakefield A
The team started slowly against a skillful and well organised Driffield side spending most of the 17 minutes penned back in our own half.
A much better performance followed against Bradford, where we competed far better in midfield and contained our long-standing adversaries, Spike and Ethan, with more comfort. Tim Hunter and Isaac Fisher began to work more instinctively together and Rowan Tejura, James Higgins and Alex Calderley were more solid and better-organised in defence. They in their turn were able to snuff out our attacks, as we failed fully to exploit the width our formation gave us.
A really strong performance followed against Doncaster, who were head and shoulders the best team of the morning. Ralph Toon kept the team in the game with string after string of saves and Slaz troubled the Doncaster defence with quick breaks down left and right releasing Robin Brearton through the middle. Our passing game developed well and the boys were really combative, which promises well.
A good win against a depleted (and young) Sheffield team followed, where we really made our passing game tell with good pressure, leading to two cracking strikes from Robin. However, as we realised we were on top, we lapsed into bad habits of carrying the ball too far and into contact.
The final game was a true local derby with end to end play as the boys tired, and numerous chances created at both ends. With two minutes to go, a sloppy pass let in a Wakefiled forward, who miss-hit his shot from a couple of feet inside the D – I looked on disbelievingly as the side-spin took it beyond Ralph’s reach to clip the inside of the far post and scuttle over the line. The boys responded bravely and Robin had a strong shot well-saved by the goalkeeper. With 30 seconds remaining Danny Croxall was through on the left and laid a precision lateral to Peter Gunning, but the ‘keeper was wise to it and was out and down quickly enough to smother the shot. Time expired – but the ‘keeper had conceded a penalty corner. Rowan injected short to Luke who fired the ball across goal, just beyond Peter’s outstretched stick and the ball ran out of play. A disappointing end to a thrilling tournament.
Thank you to all the boys and to the parents who turned up to support.