The Under 18 Boys played in the Club South Indoor Finals on 17 December. Gold medals and a trip to Telford for the Nationals...
Pool game 1 v Sevenoaks
A nervous start had us facing a short corner in the first minute. The urge to run out quickly resulted in two false starts and so the third pc in a row had us two defenders down but resolute. The flick went high and we all breathed more easily and found our legs.
A superb attack from Raph up to Elliot went in for our first goal ... we thought… but a short corner had been blown as the ball went in. The Isaac PC flick was saved but Raph pounced on the rebound to score ... however, the ball was deemed to have not left the circle before it went back in. So with the score stuck at 0-0, Sevenoaks ran through a few minutes later to score for 0-1.
After the half-time restart we faced a corner and then had one of our own that was saved by an opposition body part. Isaac put in the resulting p-flick for 1-1. A period of intense pressure at the back put Sevenoaks up again 1-2. Raph then tackled well to get the ball inside the Sevenoaks half and sent it back to Isaac who went on a superb run and smashed in for 2-2.
Tough start but we were finding our feet.
Pool game 2 v Horsham
First action on goal was Horsham stuck in our corner with the ball and we tackled to take it away - Isaac sent it up front to Charlie in the opposite corner who sent it to Elliot in the D who slotted in for 1-0. Next one was another Isaac move when he outmanoeuvred opposition players to get inside the edge of the circle from where he sent the ball top left for a beautiful finish and 2-0.
More playmaking from the back saw Raph spot an opportunity to send a screamer diagonally through a court effectively marked by Ed and Ollie. Elliot got on the end of it and put it in for 3-0.
Horsham then got a short corner and a well taken flick made it 3-1. A PC for us went fruitless and brought on the half time whistle.
The second half saw more great back to front linking with a Raph ball up to Elliot in the corner and in for 4-1.
Horsham then got a card and we had a series of three short corners none of which were scored. Horsham then scored for 4-2 against the run and then got a PC on the whistle which they scored for 4-3. Frustrating game as we should have had a better goal difference (missed at least four open goals and needed to do better than letting in three).
Pool game 3 v Winchester
We started well but on the counterattack Winchester scored for 0-1. Three PCs came and went but we got a goal just before the half time whistle. 1-1 and a few (several?) missed chances.
After the restart a stunning Raph tackle had him take the ball into the D and pass to Elliot who put it in for 2-1.
Alex than made a fantastic save to keep us ahead.
Elliot then saw green and the oppo took off their GK and put on a kicking back with five minutes to go. When we came close to getting in their D they swapped back to their keeper. We then faced three short corners, the third of which went in to even things up again at 2-2 … until we had a short corner which Isaac slotted with about 20 seconds left on the clock for a final score of 3-2.
More missed chances, but tighter discipline kept us ahead.
Pool game 4 v Trojans
Great start to this one with an Isaac ball from the back up to Ollie who smashed in for 1-0 early in the game. The half saw end-to-end action but no more scoring.
The second have was also dry of goals with both teams working very hard. We then faced a nervous PC with 2 minutes to go. The shot went wide and we were still in it. Trojans got a green for dissent after a call that went against them. This was then upgraded to yellow. And then a second yellow followed shortly after for a hard tackle on Marco. We then won a short while the time ran out. Scored the PC but the ball was deemed (again) not to have gone out the d. So 2-0 was not 2-0 but 1-0.
Pool game 5 v Canterbury
Playing Canterbury as our final pool match meant that we had had a chance to watch them a few times in action. A plan was formed and we were well warmed up by now. A draw or win would put us into the semis. A win would place us first and Trojans second in the pool. A draw would mean Canterbury through with us second.
Canterbury got a ball in the goal first but the pass was high, so no goal. A tight match but we were building up and being patient. A short corner for each team went scoreless. And then Raph got a ball to Charlie in the D for 1-0.
Semi final v Marlow
The boys were thrilled and really up for the playoffs. Marlow would be tough but by the time we played were no match for us. First goal was another great team effort from Isaac to Elliot to Charlie and in. Marlow then got a pflick which was scored - from the wrong spot - and had to be taken again (still scored - did make us wonder which lines were being watched during some of the short corner injection stopping).
Another Raph to Elliot move gave us 2-1 and Isaac scored in a PC before another Raph to Elliot move made 4-1.
Second half was much the same with the boys doing everything well – Marlow rose to the challenge and the half went scoreless until they earned a second goal from a PC for a final score of 4-2.
Final v Surbiton
Some excellent hockey in this one – with both teams doing everything well. Alex made a series of saves early in the game including saving a shot and its two rebounds with what appeared to be every body part. Two PCs against us went goalless – one in the first half and one in the second. And then we got through to score and continued to keep the attacks at bay. A PC on the final whistle meant the chance for a 2-0 final score, and 2-0 it was.
So, South Finals Winners and qualified for National Finals in January!
Massive well done to all of the boys - each and every one worked hard as an individual and the teamwork was beautiful to behold. And a huge, huge thanks and well done to Coach Tylo Remke who did a brilliant job in the training sessions and on the tournament day!
Back: Ollie, Raph, Marco, Charlie, Tylo; Front: Alex, Elliot, Isaac, Ed