U16B - Braintree U16B (EH U16 C3) - L 3-6 - City U16 Boys Beaten but Unbowed
U16 BOYS - 20/11/2016 VS BRAINTREE U16B (A) |
TEAM: U16 Boys
FIXTURE: U16 Boys VS 20/11/2016
HEADLINE: City U16 Boys Beaten but Unbowed
LEAGUE: EH U16 Boys Cup
VENUE: Braintree HC
RESULT: Lost 3-6
Unbeaten in their two U16 Cup outings so far, City’s Boys knew that the away trip to Braintree would probably determine who finishes top of the Regional Group. City started the better and within the first five minutes Ben Withers won a short corner with a strong run into the D, drawing a Braintree stick tackle. Harry Paterson struck a well-hit shot which the Braintree keeper could only parry to Withers who scrambled the ball home. Braintree came back strongly and looked like they had a good counter attack, when Tom Bailey made a superb tackle just outside the City D. The ball was shipped quickly to George Harrad on the left flank who crossed to Withers just outside the Braintree D. Withers sped into the D and unleashed a howitzer into the top right corner. 2-0.
Braintree bounced back again, attacking in numbers. With City’s defence struggling to man-mark the runners, Braintree started to play some excellent 3D hockey. Braintree scored two quick goals to equalise. City not knowing what had hit them, began to rush the play and gave the ball away too cheaply. Heads dropped. Braintree scored three more times before a halftime whistle which was desperately needed from City’s perspective.
The coach’s message at half time was that we needed to use our heads, keep the ball and concentrate on quick passes to our team mates. At the same time, we needed to communicate better in defence and win the 50:50 battles across the field. City started the second half in a completely different manner. Dan Phillips, Harry Paterson and skipper Sam Bingham in midfield tackled and passed like their lives depended on it and Cameron Cook joined Tom Bailey in defence to form a formidable centre pairing. And up front, Harry Basset, Ben Chapman and George Harrad made run after run, stretching the Braintree defence.
The second half was a fantastic gladiatorial combat of end to end hockey from two very good teams. Braintree scored first with a well worked short corner routine. City bounced back, with a great breakaway goal, Withers smashing a diagonal ball from the right which Harrad at full stretch deflected into the goal. City had several more chances, with one short corner being miraculously saved on the line and another in the net but too high.
The match ended a 6-3 loss to City. However, it was a great game of hockey and, apart from a 20 minute spell in the first half where we lost our heads somewhat, we were very competitive against a strong Braintree side. The Boys will learn a lot more from this match than they have from the easy wins they have had so far in the competition. Our final match is not until February, when we take on IES when a good result should take us through into the Regional Finals.
There was strong competition for man of the match, with candidates including the versatile Cameron Cook and the midfield dynamo Dan Phillips. However, the award goes to Ben Withers who not only scored two goals and assisted the third, but also sprinted back to assist the defence on a number of occasions.
RESULT: L 3-6
SCORERS: Ben Withers,Ben Withers,George Harrad
POTM: Ben Withers
U16B - Bishops Stortford U16B (EH U16 C2) - W 8-1 - City U16 Boys Beat Bishop’s Stortford to Top the League
U16 BOYS XI - 06/11/2016 VS BISHOPS STORTFORD U16B (H) |
TEAM: U16 Boys XI
FIXTURE: U16 Boys XI VS 06/11/2016
HEADLINE: City U16 Boys Beat Bishop’s Stortford to Top the League
LEAGUE: EH U16 Boys Cup
RESULT: WON 8-1
Having beaten Pelicans convincingly three weeks ago to become the unofficial Norfolk Champions, City’s U16 Boys faced Bishop’s Stortford in a battle for one of the top spots in the League element of the EH Cup. Bishop’s Stortford reached the National Finals at u14 level last season and were bound to be tough opposition. On a cold, rain swept pitch, Stortford came out hard and, after five minutes where City repeatedly gave the ball away, snatched the lead with a well taken deflection off a short corner.
City started going up through the gears and began to take control of the game, with some excellent harrying through George Harrad and Alex Merron. With Tom Bailey and Jack Watling snuffing out any Stortford attacks, City began to win the 50:50 balls and attacked quickly, feeding speedy wingers Harry Bassett and Ben Chapman. The equaliser didn’t take long to come with Cameron Cooke dribbling through into the D and smashing a well placed strike into the corner of the goal.
City’s strong midfield of Sam Bingham, Dan Phillips, Harry Paterson and Dan Phillips now hit their straps and were to dominate for the remainder of the game, winning the battles in the centre of the pitch and feeding our speedy forward line. Three more goals were to come in the first half, all to Cooke, who was in irrepressible form. One of them involved a beautiful piece of 3D ball-juggling as Cooke charged into the D before smashing the ball into the back of the net, and another was rifled off the post into the goal from a narrow angle!
4-1 up at half time, but the boys recognised that they needed to keep the width and pass more. The second half continued with the same intensity and, with Stortford heads beginning to drop, City carried on the torment. Ben Withers was added to the scoresheet after some mazy dribbling by Cooke gave him a simple tap in. Cooke scored another and then Ben Chapman was to tap in from a short distance for the seventh after good work by Harrad. Finally it was Withers who finished off the scoring for City: after a venomous Cooke shot, the goalkeeper parried the ball invitingly towards Withers who dispatched the ball with gusto into the roof of the net.
The game finished an 8-1 win to City and could have been more. Credit is due to all the players in what was an exciting and convincing performance, but Man of the Match could only really go to one player, Cameron Cooke, who was unstoppable yesterday and has now scored ten goals in two cup games.
The win leaves City well placed in top spot in the League. Our next match is in a fortnight away to Braintree HC (previously Phoenix) in what will be a challenging and well matched game. We are looking forward to it!
RESULT: W 8-1
SCORERS: Cameron Cooke,Cameron Cooke,Cameron Cooke,Ben Withers,Cameron Cooke,Cameron Cooke,Ben Withers,Ben Chapman
POTM: Cameron Cooke
U16B - Pelicans U16B (EH U16 C1) - W 13-1 - City U16 Boys Win in Style at Pelicans
U16 BOYS - 16/10/2016 VS PELICANS U16B (A) |
TEAM: U16 Boys
FIXTURE: U16 Boys VS 16/10/2016
HEADLINE: City U16 Boys Win in Style at Pelicans
LEAGUE: EH Boys U16 Cup
VENUE: Pelicans HC
RESULT: Pelicans 1 - Norwich City 13
The City U16 Boys left Norwich early on Sunday Morning for the first match of this season’s campaign, away to Pelicans in rain soaked King’s Lynn. From the first forays of the match it became clear that City were significantly stronger than their opposition and it wasn’t long before all the City players, bar goalie Ben Millett, were stationed well inside the Pelicans half.
In the first half of the match, City tried to bludgeon the Pelicans into submission by going straight through the middle in all out attack. Some great goalkeeping from Pelicans and some profligate finishing by City meant that a 5-0 half time score was somewhat disappointing!
Instructions at half time were to keep our structure, spread play wide and move the ball quickly. By and large it worked, although not before City had conceded a sloppy goal from one of Pelicans’ rare attacks. City then started to attack at pace, scoring eight times in the half, for a final 13-1 scoreline. Although the first half was a little pedestrian at times, the second half was a thing of beauty, keeping the City supporters in good spirits.
There were some very classy goals in the 13 scored. Goal of the match winner was awarded to one which started in defence: Harry Paterson tussled hard to win the ball just inside the City half and, after beating a player, passed a good ball into George Harrad in space on the left. George got his feet round and smashed the ball diagonally across the Pelicans D where Ben Chapman at full stretch deflected the ball high into the back of the net. Fantastic Hockey!
In terms of scorers, Cameron Cooke got his standard 5 goals, one of which was an absolute scorcher into the net. Harry Bassett also scored a hat-trick, coming in off the left wing to slot the ball home on three separate occasions. Chapman scored two, with one apiece for Paterson, Harrad and the effervescent Daniel Phillips.
However, it wasn’t all about the scorers and there were strong performances across the pitch. Of note, Tom Bailey was majestic at the back, supported by Alex Merron and Jack Watling, Sam Bingham played the captain’s role with aplomb and Fitz Hornor played a confident game at right midfield. Man of the Match could have gone to almost any of the players, but it was awarded to Doug Tomlinson for a very mature performance where he played deep and laid the ball off sensibly throughout the game.
The remaining fixtures in a tough Group are likely to be much harder, but we are looking forward to the challenge, with the next match being at home to Bishop’s Stortford on 4 November.
RESULT: W 13-1
SCORERS: Cameron Cooke,Cameron Cooke,Daniel Phillips,Ben Chapman,Harry Paterson,Cameron Cooke,George Harrad,Ben Chapman,Cameron Cooke,Harry Basset,Harry Basset,Cameron Cooke,Harry Basset
POTM: Doug Tomlinson
U16G - Dragons (EHC U16 R5) - W 7-4 - City Win Again To Qualify For Regional Finals
FILLIES XI - 14/02/2016 VS DRAGONS (H) |
TEAM: Fillies XI
FIXTURE: Fillies XI VS 14/02/2016
HEADLINE: City Win Again To Qualify For Regional Finals
LEAGUE: U16 England Hockey Cup
REPORT: Needing to avoid defeat to qualify for the finals City were confident of a good performance. However with only 11 players available and no keeper it proved to be an exciting game! The team started in amazing fashion with a goal in the opening minute from a long range shot by Abbie after a neat break by Evie. The Dragons then gave the ball away, after some great pressure by Abi, straight from the centre and again the powerful city attack created a chance for Ella to tuck away. The half continued to be dominated by City. Evie scored two with two trademark power shots and Abbie bagged another after some great work by Phoebe. The score at half time was 5-1.
The second half saw City be a little less determined and we gave a couple of poor goals. It could have been more with last ditch clearances from Ellie, Alice and then Molly. However, everytime we kept possession we created a scoring chance. The last 10 minutes saw City in complete charge. The defence well marshalled by player of the match Megan would not let Dragons into the D. Ella bagged another after City had put ball in the net twice but both were disallowed. The final goal was a highlight of the game with a great interception by Maddie followed by a quick break and pass by Emily to release Abbie to score. The final score was 7-4. The girls thoroughly deserve the title of the best team in Norfolk. They have played as a team throughout and they will give their all to make an immediate return to the National Finals.
RESULT: W 7-4
SCORERS: Abbie Ingham,Ella Sharrock,Evangeline Wills,Evangeline Wills,Abbie Ingham,Ella Sharrock,Abbie Ingham
POTM: Megan Conway
U16G - Sudbury U16 (EH U16 R2) - W 3-0 - Crunch game vixtory for City
FILLIES XI - 31/01/2016 VS SUDBURY U16 (H) |
TEAM: Fillies XI
FIXTURE: Fillies XI VS 31/01/2016
HEADLINE: Crunch game vixtory for City
LEAGUE: EHC U16 Cup
VENUE: Redmayne Fields Norwich School
This was a vital game for City with both teams level on points. After an earlier postponement the girls were determined to show they had what it takes to qualify for the regionals. The game was end to end in the first 10 minutes with stand in keeper Maddie making two important saves. The team constantly pressed Sudbury who were repeatedly forced into errors. This eventually led to our opening goal from the tireless Matilda who hit a powerful strike from just inside the D. From that point City dominated the match and the few attacks Sudbury managed were dealt with confidently by the defence of Louisa, Megan, Alice, Ellie and Becky. Either side of half time Abbie scored twice, with the second sending the keeper the wrong way following a clinical pass by Phoebe. Sudbury almost scored a consolation goal but Megan dived full length across the goal in a brilliant act of bravery! We won the game because virtually every tackle was won by City and the midfield's relentless pressing led by Evie and fully supported by Emily and Ella constantly won the ball back.
Thanks also to the backroom team of Karl, Gillian and parents who ensured we put on a great match tea!
Our final game is against Dragons with City needing to avoid defeat to progress.
RESULT: W 3-0
SCORERS: Matilda Warde-Aldam,Abbie Ingham,Abbie Ingham
POTM: Matilda Warde-Aldam
U16B - Norwich Dragons (U16 Cup) - W 5-1 - City U16s Sign off in Style
U16 BOYS - 20/12/2015 VS NORWICH DRAGONS (A) |
TEAM: U16 Boys
FIXTURE: U16 Boys VS 20/12/2015
HEADLINE: City U16s Sign off in Style
LEAGUE: U16 Cup
RESULT: WON 5-1
On an unseasonably warm December afternoon, Norwich City U16 Boys convincingly beat Dragons 5-1 in the England Hockey U16 Cup. However, were it not for an outstanding day’s work from the Dragons keeper and some Christmas generosity from the City strikers, the score could have been a lot more one-sided.
The Norwich City Boys arrived at Dragons wanting a big win to strengthen their chances of progressing in the U16 Cup. The pattern of the game was established from the outset, with City immediately on the attack. City kept the ball well, with Rob Duffy and Jake Cushion in the centres cleverly spreading the play and Harry Paterson and Josh Bailey driving forward at pace. However, City quickly realised that this was not going to be easy as the Dragons keeper saved everything that came his way. Wave after wave of attacks and short corners yielded no reward, until one particularly desperate tackle as City were about to pull the trigger left the umpire with no choice but to award a penalty flick. Up stepped Josh Bailey who, ignoring the friendly encouragement from the keeper, slammed home a great low flick for a 1-0 City lead.
City continued at pace, with dribbling Dan Phillips on the right wing causing havoc. City’s wing backs were getting in on the action too, with Jack Watling, Harry Ingham and Alfie Cooper all pressing up the flanks to provide more width. Goal number two eventually came, with some good work from Ben Withers on the left enabling Dougie Tomlinson to deftly reverse sweep the ball against the backboard for a 2-0 lead at half time.
The second half continued in the same way. City were camped in the Dragons half and tried valiantly to break down the defences but, with shots raining in on the Dragons goal, their keeper was imperious. City tried everything but somehow every strike, prod, sweep and stab of the ball either found the keeper, the post or missed the goal by a whisker. Eventually a goal had to come and it was cool-headed Sam Bingham who swept the ball home after a cross from the right eluded the Dragons defence. The game continued in the same vein and, after another batch of City missed chances, Ben Withers on the right post showed great reflexes to volley the ball into the net for a 4-0 lead.
With City thinking the flood gates might now open, surreally it was Dragons who scored next with their only meaningful attack of the game. Dragons broke quickly and the attack looked about to be snuffed out when the ball bobbled against a City foot. The resultant short corner was hit straight at the City goal, deceiving City’s defence, bringing the score back to 4-1.
City continued to press hard without any reward until a frustrated Harry Paterson intercepted a Dragons 16 yard hit, drove into the D and smashed a hard shot into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The game ended with City running out 5-1 winners and, unusually, fairly disappointed with the result – we had around 15 or more short corners, about 80% of the play and around 100 shots at goal. Nevertheless, the boys should feel proud. They have played outstanding hockey this season, are a team chock full of talent and have been a pleasure to manage.
There were a number of candidates for man of the match from City, including Jake Cushion, Harry Paterson and Alfie Cooper. However, the winner is Harry Ingham, who didn’t put a foot wrong in defence and provided a great wide option up and down the flanks.
RESULT: W 5-1
SCORERS: Josh Bailey,Doug Tomlinson,Sam Bingham,Ben Withers,Harry Paterson
POTM: Harry Ingham
U16B - Sudbury U16 (EH U16 R4) - W 10-0 - City Boys Put Ten Past Understrength Sudbury
COLTS XI - 22/11/2015 VS SUDBURY U16 (H) |
TEAM: Colts XI
FIXTURE: Colts XI VS 22/11/2015
HEADLINE: City Boys Put Ten Past Understrength Sudbury
LEAGUE: BOYS U16 CUP
RESULT: WON 10-0
Having got less out of their first two group matches than they wanted, City’s U16 Boys needed a good win today against Sudbury. Their cause was helped when Sudbury arrived with only nine players, but playing against a reduced team is not as easy as it sounds. Sure enough Sudbury had some good players, they dug deep and filled their defence with numbers. For the first 25 minutes City worked hard but could not break through until finally Ben Withers found space and crashed the ball home. City began to work wider and started scoring more freely. With Jake Cushion, Josh Bailey and Sam Bingham working hard in midfield, Harry Paterson scored City’s second with a great reverse stick volley, and Ben Withers completed his hat-trick with two more goals before half-time.
Ahead by four goals at half-time, City’s aim was to achieve the maximum allowed goal difference of eight. The coaches urged the boys to get the ball moving more quickly and to use the width of the pitch. With City’s defensive line of Harry Ingham, Rob Duffy, Jack Watling, Alex Merron and James Hewett pushing up the pitch, City continued to pressurise Sudbury. Declan Ordish scored City’s fifth with a shot that deceived the Sudbury goalkeeper, before Paterson scored two more for his hat-trick. Withers got his fourth, Ordish scrambled home City’s ninth (and his second) before Josh Bailey rounded off the match by sneaking the ball home off a short corner on the final whistle.
So, with a 10-0 win, it was job done for City, who got maximum points and goal difference from the game. The boys’ dominance is best demonstrated through the fact that keeper Ben Millett did not touch the ball through the whole game. However, credit is also due to Sudbury who defended resolutely throughout. Man of the Match voting was spread between several players, but the winner was Sam Bingham who played well throughout.
RESULT: W 10-0
SCORERS: Ben Withers,Harry Paterson,Ben Withers,Ben Withers,Declan Ordish,Harry Paterson,Harry Paterson,Ben Withers,Declan Ordish,Josh Bailey
POTM: Sam Bingham
U16G - Magpies U16 (EH U16 R4) - L 0-5 - Defeated by a strong team
FILLIES XI - 22/11/2015 VS MAGPIES U16 (H) |
TEAM: Fillies XI
FIXTURE: Fillies XI VS 22/11/2015
HEADLINE: Defeated by a strong team
LEAGUE: U16 Cup
The scoreline reflects a tough game against a Magpies team who cam third in the Nationals when U14s. The score after 30 mins was only 1-0, City then lost a key defender to injury when we were playing well and counter attacking dangerously. Two spells either side of half time saw Magpies, led by their dominant England player, score four goals. The team battled and battled and in the last 25 minutes of the match there were no goals at either end. Jessie in goal made a string of brilliant saves and we actually defended better then we did against Bury when we won 11-3. Next week we play Sudbury to decide if we will go through to the regionals. It will be a close game but we can do it!
RESULT: L 0-5
POTM: Florence Duffield
U16B - Harleston Magpies U16 (EH U16 R3) - D 4-4 - City U16 Boys held in 8 Goal Thriller
U16 BOYS - 08/11/2015 VS HARLESTON MAGPIES U16 (H) |
TEAM: U16 Boys
FIXTURE: U16 Boys VS 08/11/2015
HEADLINE: City U16 Boys held in 8 Goal Thriller
LEAGUE: Boys U16 Cup
After an unlucky and narrow loss against Phoenix in the first group game of the u16 Cup, City’s Boys now came up against Magpies. Both teams had a host of JRPC and HiPAC players so the game was sure to be competitive. The challenge was made tougher for City’s boys in missing five players – three not available and two more pulling out during the week injured – and so we turned up with just one sub and with a number of players playing out of their preferred positions.
City started out tentatively and, after five minutes, it was Magpies who scored first, dribbling along the byeline from their left hand side and somehow squeezing the ball into the goal. It was a wake-up call for City, who started attacking with speed and skill. Within minutes, City had equalised. Dan Phillips threaded a ball through to Harry Paterson who drove down the right hand channel and smashed the ball in off the far post. City continued to attack and soon made it 2-1. Ben Withers skilfully dribbled the ball in from the left and showed the awareness to cross to Harry who calmly slotted the ball home from the P spot for his second of the match.
The game was now end to end. Jake Cushion was doing a fantastic job mopping up at centre midfield, ably supported by the defensive line of Rob Duffy, Harry Ingham, Alfie Cooper and Jack Watling. City were winning most of the midfield battles but Magpies were attacking regularly and, after an unusual defensive hesitation from City, Magpies scrambled the ball home for 2-2 at half time.
After the break, the game went on at a frenetic pace. City continued to attack, but this time it was Magpies who took the lead from a shortcorner. City’s heads dropped but then equalised with a moment of brilliance. The excellent Josh Bailey pounced on the ball just inside the opposition half and used his pace to get round the defender and bear down on goal. With the goalie coming out fast, Josh pushed the ball to the right, leaving the keeper floundering and coolly slotted the ball home from a narrow angle. City started to believe and had a host more chances, before James Hewitt got City’s fourth: a beautiful threaded pass found James free in front of goal, he spun and squeezed the ball under the keeper for a slender lead.
Sadly for City, the speed of the game was taking its toll and, with Rob Duffy coming off injured, City had no subs left and a tiring team. The coaches’ worst fears were confirmed when a speculative Magpies ball into the City D was deflected up and into the netting, leaving the excellent Ben Millett in goal with no chance. Like two heavyweights tiring towards the end of a bout, both teams held on for the last five minutes and the game ended 4-4. A great game for the neutrals, but not quite the result we would have liked. Yet again, City played well and probably didn’t get as much from the game as we should have. As one of the boys said, if the game was decided on the quality of the goals (a novel concept), we would have stormed it! Nevertheless, the boys played brilliantly and put everything into the game.
There were a large number of potential players of the match, but the clear winner of the vote was Josh Bailey who had a great game in midfield, winning loads of ball and causing all sort of problems to the opposition. Champagne moment went to defender Alfie Cooper in dealing with a fast bouncing ball into the D which would have caused any player problems. Rather than stopping the ball, Alfie showed his cricketing credentials by driving the ball back with a magnificent cover drive one bounce and over the sideline. Four runs!
RESULT: D 4-4
SCORERS: Harry Paterson,Harry Paterson,Josh Bailey,James Hewett
POTM: Josh Bailey
U16G - Bury SE U16 (EH U16 R3) - W 11-3 - An Outstanding Start For City
FILLIES XI - 08/11/2015 VS BURY SE U16 (A) |
TEAM: Fillies XI
FIXTURE: Fillies XI VS 08/11/2015
HEADLINE: An Outstanding Start For City
LEAGUE: EHC Cup U16 Girls
VENUE: Culford School
RESULT: 11-3 Win
In the first game of the new season City wanted to begin with a win but also send out a message to the other teams in their tough group that we were a stronger team this year. They did both with an emphatic 11-3 win. There was plenty of work for the defence to do and the midfield and attack put together some brilliant moves.
The game started well with City scoring from two short corners in the first five minutes! They continued to press and Bury hit back on the counter attack to score. There was some end to end play and city finished the half on top 5-1 including two more successful short corners.
We started a little slowly in the second half and Bury scored from their first short corner. From that point on the city attack was dominant with lots of excellent patient passing creating chance after chance which city took.
The final score was 11-3. Next game is against top of the table Magpies and hopefully City will play just as well as they did today.
RESULT: W 11-3
SCORERS: Evangeline Wills,Abbie Ingham,Abbie Ingham,Matilda Warde-Aldam,Abbie Ingham,Abbie Ingham,Alice Beckett,Abbie Ingham,Eliza Barclay,Abbie Ingham,Abbie Ingham
POTM: Maddie Anthony
U16B - Phoenix (Essex) U16 (EH U16 R1) - L 2-3 - Super City Shaded in the Sun
U16 BOYS - 04/10/2015 VS PHOENIX (ESSEX) U16 (A) |
TEAM: U16 Boys
FIXTURE: U16 Boys VS 04/10/2015
HEADLINE: Super City Shaded in the Sun
LEAGUE: EH U16 Cup
VENUE: Felsted School
RESULT: Lost 3-2
The Norwich City Boys couldn’t have had a harder start to the U16 Cup with an away fixture to the strong Phoenix HC in Essex. And so it was that the U16s and assorted relatives trekked down the M11 to Felsted School on an unseasonally hot Sunday.
It became clear from the off that this was going to be a fight between two heavyweights. Both teams were packed to the gunnels with quality and the skill levels on display were high. After the initial skirmishes, it was Phoenix who scored first. City were unluckily adjudged not to have backed off five yards for a free hit outside the D, a short corner was awarded and Phoenix skilfully dragflicked the ball just inside the right hand post.
With Skipper Duffy bellowing instructions from the back, City dragged themselves back into the game and equalised with a beautiful example of fast, flowing hockey. Josh Bailey took the ball at pace inside his own half and surged forward, laying the ball off to Harry Paterson on his right. Travelling at speed, Harry laid a perfectly weighted pass into the run of Declan Ordish on the right wing who crossed accurately for Ben Withers to slot home. Perfection!
City were now in the ascendancy with Jake Cushion, Paterson and Bailey snapping up everything in midfield and our speedy front three of Sam Bingham, Ordish and Withers cutting Phoenix apart with their speed and skill. City were irresistible and it was fitting that it was Birthday Boy Cushion who would put City ahead with a well taken goal to make it 2-1. It wasn’t all City’s way though and Phoenix also looked dangerous. Our defensive line up of Duffy, Nathan Sharpe, Alfie Cooper, Will Pierson and Harry Ingham all had to make crucial interceptions and Ben Millett in goal was making himself a nuisance to the opposition attackers. Added to this, the heat was beginning to take its toll, with subs rolling at a regular pace to take on board fluids and provide respite from the sun.
2-1 up at halftime, we knew it wasn’t over. Having sent off parents for more water, the game continued end to end, with City still having the balance of the play. Doug Tomlinson ran tirelessly at left wing creating the space, Withers and Paterson both blazed shots narrowly wide of the goal and the keeper was called in time and again to make saves. However, against the run of play, it was Phoenix who scored next, using an aerial ball across the field to change the point of attack, the ball was smashed into the City D and deflected into the goal.
City continued to press and would have taken the lead had advantage been played when, after a Phoenix foul in the D, the ball fell to Paterson clear in front of the goal. Meanwhile, as the boys began to wilt in the heat, both teams started making mistakes and it was clear that the next goal would win. With minutes remaining in the tie, it was Phoenix who came out on top somehow bundling the ball into the goal after a collision which ended with two of our players on the floor.
This was an excellent game of hockey between two strong teams and (I imagine) would have been great for the neutral. City were probably marginally on top and were very unlucky to come out on the losing side. Nevertheless, the boys put everything into this and we couldn’t ask for any more. Our cup campaign is not over – the two top teams from the group of five go through, so there is still everything to play for.
There were 13 strong candidates for Man of the Match, but the clear winner was Jake Cushion who not only played a very strong game at Centre Midfield but also made the inspired tactical decision to hand out birthday cake just as the vote was being made.
RESULT: L 2-3
SCORERS: Ben Withers,Jake Cushion
POTM: Jake Cushion
U16 Boys Regional Finalists - March 2015
Having won the first regional tier of the England Hockey U16 competition, beating City of Peterborough, Norwich Dragons and Harleston Magpies to top the initial East regional group, Norwich City’s U16 boys went to play in the East Regional Finals, the last 32 in the country, at Surbiton HC in London. The Norwich boys had drawn hosts Surbiton, Oxsted and Saffron Walden in their regional final and so knew a fixture packed day on Sunday 1st March was going to be intense and feature much challenging hockey. |
The first game, thankfully the anticipated easier fixture and a chance for the Norwich side to overcome the fact they have travelled far further than all other teams, was against Saffron Walden, a team consisting of some U14 national finalists from last season and initially not proving to be as simple a victory as hoped. City started out a little slowly, as anticipated in all fairness, but eventually managed to get a lucky break when a fast counter attack saw Ross Pitcher with a one on one with the Saffron Walden keeper and delicately slipped the ball through as he ventured out towards him. This seemed to get City going and it wasn’t long before more opportunities fell their way, another opportunity for Ross Pitcher, this time a rifled shot from the top of the circle giving the keeper no chance. The midfield and defence continued to hold any pressure and great through balls to the forward line continued to create chances. The next goal fell to Sam Paterson after some great solo skills, and another goal again for Ross Pitcher but this top a top of the circle screamer coming off the inside of the far post and rattling around the goal behind a helpless opposing keeper. The final goal was another for Ross Pitcher, taking his tally of four and earning his well-deserved Man of the Match award (City 5, Saffron Walden 0).
With their next game sadly back to back it was time to play the hosts, Surbiton, without doubt the group favourites and a team unbeaten and not having dropped a point so far, progressing to this stage with ease by all accounts, so a City team knowing the lack of rest and the quality of the opposition was going to make this a very good challenge, one that the boys, coaches and supporting parents were hoping would bring with it an exciting game. The game started with a high tempo, Surbiton pressing high immediately from the push back and put lots of pressure on the City defence, making the midfield work very hard as the play began to move from one end to the other. It was however City that would make the break, a threaded pass through to Ross Pitcher allowed him to turn and shoot and take City into the lead. This began to open up the game and fantastic hockey started to be put onto show from both teams, great goalkeeping at both ends stopping some great chances, great work on the forward, midfield and defensive lines from both teams and clearly signs that both teams were up for this game. It was Surbiton who scored the next goal but shortly afterwards George Brine scored the second for City with a well-placed pass to find him unmarked at the far post. With the game opening up more and more, and legs clearly starting to tire, Surbiton began to throw more and more forward and some fortuitous short corner decisions began to let them show off their very well drilled routines, sadly letting them equalise and then not long afterwards a long aerial ball was mis-controlled by City, albeit maybe a little too much pressure within the 5 metre space, and allowed the opposition to break and take the score line to 3-2, Surbiton now in the lead for the first time in the game. It was with seconds to go and some great work into the Surbiton circle saw City awarded with a short corner and as they huddled at the top to discuss their tactics the final whistle was blown and this was now their only chance to get something out of the game. The ball came out to the top of the circle and a switch left saw Sam Paterson fire home a precision shot just inside the far post and giving City a very well deserved draw and for Sam Paterson to take the award of Man of the Match not just for the exciting finale but also his outstanding work rate throughout the game (Surbiton 3, City 3).
It was time for a well-deserved break and City would need to focus on both a win but also a very positive goal difference as with only one team progressing out of the group it was going to be down to how many Surbiton would score against Saffron Walden and what Norwich City could do against a very strong Oxsted team. With so much riding on the last game and nothing but a win and a big win at that being needed, no prizes sadly for second place, City came out raring to go and hoping that they could build upon such an impressive and proud performance in the draw against Surbiton and with Oxsted still very strong and having beaten Saffron Walden 3-1 it was a sign that this was going to be a close game.
City started their last game very positive and started to push everything forward against what seemed like a very defensively minded Oxsted team, possibly looking to focus on not letting City score than they themselves looking to score. With all eleven of the opposition behind the ball in the Oxsted third it was clear that things were not going to be easy and it was probably the lack of space and movement to create space that saw City start to play unlike their previous games and lots of solo encounters and trying to force the play and individual skills through the opposition players. Opportunities were a premium and sadly most of the City attacks continued to be intercepted by the deep Oxsted formation and it looked as though our plans were not going to work as hoped. With the City boys trying to force their way into the Oxsted circle and threading balls into and through ambitious spaces it started to prove very hard to penetrate their defence and opportunities were few and far between. It was however a break away by Oxsted against the run of play, possibly City pushing more and more forward, that saw them go into the half time break 1-0 ahead of Norwich. The half time team talk was more of the frustration of how Norwich were playing and that we’d not been doing what we’d done so well in the previous two games, and possibly not helped by a well packed and well working Oxsted defending formation. So, the second half started and it was now all or nothing, and the City boys did indeed start to play far better and started to create more opportunities. Chances began to fall and some fine goalkeeping for Oxsted and some hard working defending around him continued to thwart anything City could throw at them. With the clock ticking the tactics turned to replacing a City defender for another forward and to try and push numbers forward, which created chances but still the final product was just not forthcoming. With more and more focus on getting a goal for City the inevitable soon happened and as the half started to close it was Oxsted who managed to absorb the pressure and two break away opportunities took them further ahead and that was it for the hopes and dreams of pipping Surbiton to the National Finals. Man of the Match was awarded to Fred Anthony.
Norwich eventually finishing third in the group but with Surbiton beating Saffron Walden 11-2 it was clearly a goal difference that the Norfolk side was never going to achieve in their final game anyhow. A very proud performance for the team and on the journey back they will have taken the positives that they will have been the only team to take points from Surbiton in this competition so far and we can look to focus on what will now be the U18 competition for next season as many of the balls move up to the next age group banding.
U16 Boys Squad: Rob Duffy, Josh Bailey, Sam Tomlinson (C), Fred Anthony, George Brine, Will Kidner, Ali Husband, Miles Doncaster, Ross Pitcher, Sam Paterson, Harry Ingham, James Hewitt, Tom Ling, Jake Aisthorpe (GK)
Coaches: Matthew Brine, Al Paterson