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Football report – U14As unbeaten as the season rounds off in style

March 30th, 2017

The past week has seen a multitude of fixtures take place with many age groups playing at least two matches. However, last Saturday saw the final block fixture against Marlborough College take place.

Away from home the U15s came up against tough opposition with the As losing 3-1 and the Bs winning 4-0. This caps off an intriguing season for the age group with both teams winning just under half of their games. I am sure that they’re excited to take what they’ve learned this year into senior football next year.

The U16s completed an outstanding year once again in their age group with an enthralling 3-3 draw at home. The team showed excellent attacking football and have only lost 2 games this year; when often playing against older opposition. These performances saw almost half of their squad representing the first team throughout the season and this bodes well for next year.

Game of the day at home had to be, however, the 3rd XI’s much anticipated fixture against Marlborough which has provided some enthralling games in recent years. The game once again did not disappoint this year. Things were looking bleak as they found themselves 1-0 down with ten minutes remaining. However, their team spirit and hard work shone through allowing them to get an equaliser. Head Boy Joe was back at it again and he described his sensational goal to me as ‘an elusive run into the box where he jumped like a salmon and, with a deft flick of the head, caressed the ball into the top corner.’ The 3rd XI had not settled for a draw and powered forward once again with Fowzi’s flair once again creating havoc amongst the opposition defence. The winner finally came from a corner, where Ceri’s dubious deflected header found the back of the net. This capped off an exciting season for the team.

Mr Despontin’s 2nd XI finished off a near perfect season with a 3-2 victory away at Marlborough in difficult conditions against a physical opposition. Ben continued his fine scoring form with a brace and the winner came from vice-captain and striker Dominic’s first goal of the season. Losing just one game this season the 2nd XI can be proud of their achievements and I’m sure the V1.1s will transition with confidence into the 1st XI next year.

For the 1st XI a somewhat lack-lustre first half display against Marlborough lead to a 3-1 loss. The first half saw our defence endure constant aerial bombardment from the Marlborough players who did not attempt to keep the ball on the floor whatsoever; this lead to three early goals as we were unable to combat this threat. They included an own goal from James and Ross giving away a penalty. We did, in spite of this, put in an admirable second half performance with Alex finishing off a great team move. The game could’ve easily ended 3-3.

Luckily, we did have a chance to redeem ourselves in a local derby against Monmouth Town on Tuesday in a game which saw next year’s potential squad members merge with the current ones. For many of the V1.2s it was their last game of school football after playing for 5 years. Monmouth started brightly in an even first third with both George and Asanji going close. The second third saw us dominate possession creating several chances which meant that their ‘keeper had to produce some incredible saves. We were unlucky to be hit on the counter attack and go 1-0 down. The final third, however, saw complete dominance by the 1st XI who managed to keep the opposition camped in their own half. The ball finally went into the net from Alex after we came close with a succession of corners. Yet this wasn’t the end of the game and very typical of our season; we managed yet again to find a way to lose the game. In the dying seconds of the match we continued to adhere to our footballing philosophy by playing out from the back. It was unfortunate that a well hit pass from centre-back Nick went straight to the opposition striker who was able to tap the ball into the net unchallenged. Although I am told he’s only willing to accept 50% of the blame.

Finally, the U14s age group have had by far the most successful season in the football club. Mr Hawley’s B team once again implemented their coach’s attacking philosophy with a 7-0 demolition of Hereford Cathedral School’s U13As.

Mr Picken’s A team have definitely been the form side throughout the year and he has written a short report of Saturday’s game. ‘The U14A team played very well on Saturday to win 4-0 against a strong, unbeaten, U15B Marlborough team. The opening minutes were understandably nervy as winning this fixture ensured that the team have gone unbeaten all season; indeed their only draw came in a gutsy 2-2 performance away at Malvern. The team deserve an enormous amount of credit for the way they have truly bought into the team ethos and followed the clichéd mantra of their coach – ‘one game at a time’. The final week of the season saw a real fixture pile-up – of the sort that would have made Jose Mourinho incandescent with rage and dishing out the pitch side bananas – but the boys came through admirably with increasingly assured performances. Seb’s 33 goals will understandably steal the headlines of the back pages but all the players in the squad can feel extremely proud of their first season in school football. It is an outstanding achievement. Credit should also be given to the outside coach, Ben Stait, who has been invaluable in developing the players throughout the season. Very well done boys!’

This amazing feat now leaves the A team 4th in the national rankings for their age group and as an age group as a whole both teams have scored a combined total of 111 goals. This shows great potential for the years to come.

I would like to say thank you to Mr Tamplin and all the teachers and coaches who devote their time to football at the school as it is clearly thriving here. It has been an honour to captain the 1st XI and represent the school during my time here and I would like to wish everyone the best in their footballing pursuits in the years to come.

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