Early on Friday morning, a very young squad consisting of year 4, 5 and 6 boys headed east, to sunny Grimsby, for the annual ISA North Region 5-a-side Football Tournament, hosted by St James' School. (It rained - in freezing temperatures!)
Playing against teams predominantly made up of year 6 boys, our boys, braving the inclement weather, made a sluggish start to their first match of the group stage - not surprising, following a three and a half hour journey. A combination of the weather, very soggy and small pitches, offering little space or time to think, resulted in a 1-0 loss.
Over to the practice pitches to get sharp and focussed - another loss would not be an option if we wanted to progress. It worked. 5 - 0 win, with a hat-trick from Jeremy to boot! We were off...
Next up, a scrappy game against a very talented goalkeeper - but for him, the score could have been double figures! 1 - 0 win.
Our final game of the group stage meant a win would see us through to the quarter final stage, and they saved the best for last! Four scorers in Manuel (2) Zac (2) Alfie (1) and Jeremy (1) brought us a convincing 6 - 1 win and passage to the QF. Goal of the day was a superb team effort: a goal kick from James through the whole team - William to Zac to Alex to Manuel - one and two touch passing from left to right, zig-zagging through the opposition, leaving their heads spinning and the goalkeeper picking the ball out of the back of his net - wonderful!
The quarter final pitched us against old foes - Hale Prep. They were huge, compared to us, over-physical and a tad lucky in their opener. It shook our boys a little and recovery began to build following the break, but we were two goals down. A lovely tackle and through pass from Manuel saw Jeremy through one on one with the keeper which he smashed in to the top left hand corner - game on! Hale were rattled - they had not lost a game in their group - we were battling and they were not used to it. After a shockingly foul tackle, Jeremy stepped up to take the free kick. Perfectly placed to the bottom right, it was in all the way, except for a brilliant save from their keeper, finger tipping it onto the post and out to the on-rushing Alex who struck the post, back off the keeper and out for a corner! The final seconds were not enough and the score remained 1 - 2 to Hale - but what a finish to an excellent tournament. Next up...Grimsby fish and chips!
Well done, boys. You were excellently behaved throughout this long, cold day. Not a moan or complaint and a credit to your parents and your school. And a big thank you, as usual, to U11 coach and parent, Paul Buchanan, for his time, energy, dedication and commitment. Bring on next year!
Published: Monday, 5th February 2018