The Under 12 Boys went toe to toe with the best teams in the South region in the Teddington Christmas Invitational 2016. This is always one of the events in the calendar we look forward to. This year it clashed with the squad's other big December event which meant that several players stepped up from Bs to As to play in this top tournament...
Team for the day was Luke M, Cole, Ollie B, Liam, Ted, Sammy, Toby K, Archie, Ben G
The first game for the squad was Surbiton which was meant to be our toughest match and we took the game to them in the first 5 minutes! I asked each of the boys to get the first hard tackle into each of their players and they did! They scored first after a few “non velcro’d” marking but they team kept their spirits and passed the ball quickly and out wide and Gibbo ran through and scored a great goal to level the score. Luke M made some FANTASTIC saves for us and thankfully he managed to get a stick to the last shot of the game to deflect the ball over the top of the goal. The final whistle blew and I could see the shock on the Surbiton parents and coaches. WELL DONE boys…..
The boys kept the same pressure up and scored quickly to settle nerves. Once we did score, I sent Ollie B up front to get a goal and he did! J He had the biggest grin on his face knowing that he is now challenging his twin brother as a striker!! Toby K played very well in this game and tracked back and marked really well. Liam made some excellent passes and between Cole, Ollie and himself, they controlled the ball around the back of the pitch perfectly and we went wide and fast and scored the 4 goals that put us top of the group and rocked the coaches around the other teams!!! Archie scored the goal of the tournament with a first timed strike into the net and I think even he was shocked with how good this was!! J
Semi Final – Wimbledon (1-1 and won on strokes)
This was the game that scared the boys as most of they had played a rough Mavericks game where they were pushed off the ball and I convinced them that NOT ONE of their players would be able to keep up with our quick and accurate passing of the ball so we wove our magic around them and got stuck into the tackles. Sammy, Ollie were solid in the midfield and muscled Wimbledon players off the ball and we scored a great goal through the confident Gibbo!). We went to strokes and after a decent practice on Friday night, we had our sudden death team order which was lead by Sammy and we won the toss and got to defend first. I have to say that Luke was SO confident in goal that I had a feeling that he would save it and he did. The Wimbledon flicker was so upset and it rocked them! Sammy stepped up and got top left corner. WHAT A FLICK!!!!! The team was now in the final.
Final – Woking (1-0)
The boys were tired but they held their nerves and composure and did not run with the ball as we thought they might do. They stuck to the 3 rules of the tournament (VELCRO, WIDE, FAST) and it worked! We fizzed the ball around the pack and Toby picked a wide ball from Sammy after a quick free hit in the middle of the park and he passed to Gibbo to score again. The team held on to the lead and AGAIN Luke made some fantastic saves to keep us in the game.
The Man of the Tournament was Luke for a great spell in goal and making 7-10 great saves.
Sammy as the winning captain was the real engine in the midfield and did EXACTLY as I asked of him which was instrumental in us keeping our shape and pace.
I was so proud of the squad as everyone of them did what I asked and I said to them that this is the best achievement in all my years of coaching hockey. I cant wait for the Surrey’s to take the B side into the Cup and take the game to the A sides of the region.