An Arctic wind blew across the artificial green hockey pitch at Charterhouse on Sunday 28 February. And while the parents huddled bravely for warmth in the boys' dugout, the U14As took on the elements in their friendly against Sunbury. Coaches Relph and Sampson had focussed the boys on playing with width, transferring via the backs, and staying aggressive, and from the first touch, we pressed hard up the pitch. We controlled the ball well, won the early 50/50s, and when the ever-speedy Lucas S fed in from the right, Charlie V, unmarked, slotted home easily to the bottom right corner: 1-0.
The match evened after that as Sunbury created several good chances. Jack was our Rock of Gibralter in goal, and nothing got past him. Jake S broke up several dangerous runs with well timed jabs and great defensive positional play. Meantime, Will S and Oscar L moved the ball smartly up our left channel and we were back in control by the end of period 1.
The second period saw waves of attack and counterattack by both teams. Harry R and Ben F did an excellent job in midfield, keeping pressure on the opposition and breaking up plays. Will F dominated upfront, taking passes and driving into the D to create short corners. Sunbury played a high forward line and had players behind our backs a couple of times, but Jasper, Ben R and Ben T were well positioned, and kept intercepting attempted through balls - snuffing out the risk.
The third period saw us change formation to a 4-4-2. We transferred better, and had success down the left, as Ben T found Harry R on a diagonal run to the left of the D. A clever reverse stick pass across the goalmouth gave Lucas S an easy tap in: 2-0.
A well earned win for the squad and another game played on the road to the Regional play offs on 10th April and the Mercian Finals in May.
Team: Charlie V, Will F, Lucas S, Oscar L, Harry R, Ben F, Will S, Ben T, Jake S, Jasper W, Ben B and Ben R.
Coaches - James Relph & Martin Sampson
Umpire - Sally Foster
Journo - Peter Wilson