Four GHC Under 12 Boys teams completed in the Surrey Cup and Plate Competitions that took place on Sunday 26 February. The As and Bs were in the Cup and the Cs and Ds competed in the Plate. Here's how the D team fared...
We'd drawn a tough group in the Plate competition, made up of teams all higher ranked in their respective clubs but the boys weren't daunted and started with smiles on their faces and a spring in the step.
v Woking C 1-0 win
First up was local rivals, Woking C, and what was to become a familiar pattern developed - plenty of strong defence and mostly tight marking, good passing from the central midfield dynamo of Robert M to Edward and Sergei, with Ethan hassling the defence up front. Sergei in particular was causing Woking all sorts of trouble down the left, and it was from another great run of his that he connected up with Ethan, who slotted it into the net. Henry, Harry and Alfie combined well at the back to stop Woking's attacks, with Harry making some great interceptions. It finished 1-0 and we were on the up!
v Spencer B 0-1 loss
The next game against Spencer B was always going to be tough against a strong club's B side, and so it proved. Spencer passed the ball quickly, hassled us when we got the ball and stopped us playing with the width that we knew we needed. The Wimbledon keeper who had very kindly stepped in to deputise for Joey in goal (who was playing valiantly as usual for the Cs as this game clashed) made some awesome saves but eventually got caught out and we were 1-0 down. The boys heads didn't drop though, and they pressed hard to create a few good chances which were well saved by Spencer. However, we just couldn't play with enough width and ended up as valiant losers.
v Cheam 0-1 loss
So we knew that to have any chance of going through we had to beat Cheam in our last pool game, so with the coach's mantra of "width, ball speed, Velcro" echoing in their ears, the boys stuck to their task. Alfie made many great jab tackles to stop their attacks, Rory ran strongly down the left and Robert passed well again. Cheam had few chances as a result, but a hard strike into the D took an unkind deflection of a passing stick and Joey, already leaping to his right, saw the ball slip into the left corner. We couldn't quite finish off our passing moves and as Edward ran until he had to stop, the game finished 0-1.
So we came 3rd in the pool on very close scores and unfortunately didn't progress, but the boys had learnt so much of the challenges and joys of festival hockey. They had given everything on the pitch, had continued to improve throughout the festival and if only they could have played with a little more width and slightly faster passing, would I think have got the result in the Cheam game and gone through. But huge smiles on departing faces shined through, and a happy coach was I!