After a bundle of games and a lot of training the U14 Boys faced a very simple choice on Sunday against a motivated Oxford Hawks side. Win and we were through and draw or lose and we would finish in 3rd place and not make the Mercian League Finals Day which includes only the top four teams across the many U14 leagues.
After the half term break a lot of boys turned up for training and had a good session on the Sat night. On the Sunday a strong squad faced Oxford Hawks at home well motivated to try and pass the ball and score some goals. The tempo of the game started very high with some fast ball speed and lots of lateral movement. From Toby and Jake at the back we kept moving the ball laterally and caused issues via Ben F, making an assured debut down the left and Joel through to Oscar on the left wing and then down the right with Ben T, Will F at right link and Ben B on the right wing. Fergie held the ball up well at centre forward and Harry acted as a pivot at centre half.
In the first half we made a lot of penetrations into the D and managed to get 2 early short corners that Toby dispatched hard and low to the keeper's left. We kept moving ball away from the defence and a third followed after a great save from Connor who sprinted off his line to deny a break away goal. Oscar tracked back in defence and then hit Fergie who made. Anice lead down the left and calmly waltzed around the keeper. To their credit their keeper was excellent and made a host of saves in the 1st half.
So at the break it was 3-0 and a decent start by the team. The bench was rotated through and the whole team managed to have a good run in a variety of positions. Jonny did well in a number of positions including right half and also Jasper did the simple things well on the left hand side by passing early.
At times we played some excellent hockey but in phases we opted to dribble and got dispossessed. However, one fantastic run by Toby where he beat 3 players and then fired a reverse stick rocket into the goal was to be applauded. This left us 4-0 up but still Hawks kept attacking and some great saves followed by Connor with a diving stick save to his right and also Jake calmly cleared up a tricky situation with 2 attackers running at him.
All in all a great squad effort and now leaves the boys well placed in 2nd to play in the Mercian finals on 1st May and also through to the EH Regionals on the 10th April.
A big thanks for all the commitment to date and the support from all the coaches and parents and the boys themselves. Also, thanks to Mike Cuin for umpiring on the day and for all the other games he has helped out on.
Now it's time to stay focused in training and aim for the next phase of the season.
A great effort from the squad to finish 2nd in the league and to finish unbeaten in the Cup. The Regional finals now await. . .
Squad - Ben T, Ben F, Jake, Toby, Will F, Harry, Joel, Oscar, Fergie, Ben, Jonny, Jasper, Connor (GK)
Coach - James