"I could not be more proud of every single one of you in your individual and team efforts today. You all played exceptionally well, with total dedication and passion..."
Squad: Ehsan A, Barney B, Sammy D, Felix F, Ben G, Liam K, Toby K, Archie P, Rafe W, Sam W
Pool Match 1 v Amersham & Chalfont (1-0 win, Sammy)
All pool matches were 15mins one way. Exactly as per our training on Friday night the boys came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders, pressurized the opposition, kept calm and were rewarded by a great goal. More to the point there were three more excellent shots at goal which were brilliantly saved by the opposition.
Pool Match 2 v Canterbury (1-0 win, Sammy)
This was clearly a grudge match (in the nicest possible way) as Canterbury had beaten us the week before in their own tournament. Also Canterbury were clearly a force to be reckoned with having won the Kent county tournament. Again, the standard of hockey was exemplary, both umpires commenting to me afterwards on the quality of the boys teamwork and play.
Pool Match 3 v Wallingford (4-1 Win, Rafe, Sammy, Rafe, Ben)
Wallingford had won the Oxfordshire county tournament. As a team our boys had got better with every game and this game was another step up with exceptional team work and a number of rapid passes all the way up the pitch followed by clinical execution to score each goal.
Quarter Final v Reading (3-0 win, Sammy, Sammy, ?)
Once again the boys played fantastic team hockey and kept their discipline even when those around them were not. It was a fine example of how discipline wins a game, our boys refusing to be pulled into the niggling. I am really sorry but I failed to write down who scored our 3rd goal scorer, but now is a good time to point out that this is a team game and every goal needs to be built before someone can score so whilst naming the scorer of each goal we must remember none of these would have happened without the effort and skills from everyone in the squad.
Semi-Final v Chichester (3-3 draw, Ben, Sammy, Sammy; 3-2 win on penalty flicks Sammy, Ben, Toby)
Matches were now 10mins each way
From a coach's perspective this was the standout match of the day. The boys were stunned into going down 0-3 during the first half before Ben scored our first goal just before half time. The boys could not have looked more dejected at half time, heads were down and attitude was we had already lost. A fairly major pep talk and a reminder of how well the boys can play and the trust they should have in themselves worked wonders.
The boys came out all fired up and totally dominated the second half with two excellent goals from Sammy, a disallowed goal from Toby and another excellent opportunity. This game was so nearly won in normal time however a 3-3 draw was still an incredible turn around. This brought us on to penalty flicks which were all incredibly well and confidently taken by Sammy, Ben and Toby.
We were now guaranteed a place at the Nationals!
And lastly the FINAL vs Surbiton (2-3 loss)
The boys started this game in exactly the way they ended the previous game and very quickly went 2-0 up with two fine goals from Ben before Surbiton pulled one back just before half time. Second half was extremely tense with multiple short corners awarded to Surbiton most of which were defended superbly by the boys however unfortunately Surbiton managed to slip in 2 more goals in an extremely close match which could have gone either way. Never mind we are used to keeping our best for last so Surbiton beware in the Nationals!!
17 goals for, 9 against
My man of the match was Sammy for his incredible effort throughout the day in multiple different positions not to mention his haul of 8 goals!
This report would not be complete without thanking Matt for all his coaching assistance and for all the parents for their fantastic support.
Boys what an incredible day - CONGRATULATIONS!