The Woking U12s Boys headed for Surbiton HC on Sunday to compete in the U12 Boys Surrey Plate. The weather was lovely and sunny, if a little windy and cold. Here’s how they got on.
Woking – Jack McK (GK), Sam B, Miguel De M, Ollie H, Felix J, Daniel Q, Ollie R, Jack T, Matteo
We were in Group 4 with 4 other teams and only 2 would progress to the quarterfinals. We would play 3 matches each and points would decide who went through.
Match 1 v Old Cranleighans (OC) Vikings. Won 3-0
Woking B started well and put pressure on the OC team from the off. This was a positive start as past performances during the season had not always seen them start so brightly. Within a couple of minutes Daniel Q was making great runs into the D and as OC failed to clear the ball he scored from close range and we were on the scoreboard. More possession followed and a 3 minutes later Daniel Q was at it again. Another short range shot and it was 2-0. Things were looking good and OC didn’t have any answers as we pressed forward again, making lovely runs out wide. Soon it was 3-0 and it was turning into a convincing win. With one sub on I looked to get the second on, only for the full time hooter to blow! As I looked down at my stop watch, the time elapsed said 7 minutes. Confusion reigned as Gihan our umpire looked perplexed, as was I, and the game was over. We were due to play 11 minute matches and when questioned, the organisers said they wanted to catch up time a bit. Not ideal (or fair) given goal difference could be a factor at the end and one team had already beaten OC 8-0. Anyway, we were off to the perfect start with a win.
Match 2 v Spencer B. Drew 1-1
Having got over the issue of a broken strap on Jack the GK’s boot, and a loan from the Epsom team of another boot (thank you!), we were perhaps less than ready to take to the pitch for our next match. Spencer started well and after a few minutes they took the lead. We were not disheartened and continue to press and chances came and went. Eventually it was Matteo (I think) who drew us level as he struck from close range. With one match left it was all to play for.
Match 3 v Dragons Fire. Drew 0-0
Next up were OG Dragons, thought to be the strongest side in our group. Fortunately, Jack had repaired his GK boot with some trusty tape as we had returned the loaned boot. We had a real match on our hands but the boys were up to the job. Miguel & Felix in defence stuck to the task and some great saves from Jack, kept the score line at 0-0. We too had our chances but the Dragons also defended well. As the final hooter blew, a draw was a fair reflection and we would have to see if 5 points, from one win and two draws, were enough to progress. Luckily for us, although tied on points with Spencer, we were through on goal difference.
Quarterfinal v Chertsey. Drew 1-1, but progressed on Pens 2-1
So Chertsey were our opponents who had won Group 3. This was not going to be an easy match although we continued our fine form and went ahead from a Daniel Q shot. As the game progressed our defence was looking a little bit shaky at times. We were giving away short corners and allowing them shots. Eventually, Chertsey made us pay and scored to level the game. It was then straight to penalties and curiously there was a bit of debate with the officials as to where the penalty spot was. We’d actually practised in between games earlier in the afternoon so our three chosen boys were Daniel Q, Sam B and Ollie H. After both teams scored and missed, it was Chertsey who faltered first. Ollie H stepped up to take the 3rd and hopefully final penalty and slotted it cleanly into the corner. Semi-final here we come.
Semi-final v Wayfarers, Drew 1-1, lost on Pens 3-2
This time it was opposition who started quicker and were putting pressure on our defence. That said there were chances at both ends although eventually Wayfarers scored to go 1-0 up as a short corner was not closed down and they shot from the edge of the D. Despite this, the boys continued to press and eventually a chance fell to Ollie H who scored from close range. At 1-1, a 5 minute golden goal period was heading our way. It was end to end stuff with Wayfarers perhaps having the better chances and eventually it ended 1-1 with no golden goal. We were into penalties again. The same 3 boys stood ready to take them, not a nerve between them. We lost the toss yet again and Wayfarers slotted home the first stroke. After 3 strokes it was 2-1 to Wayfarers. Sadly, a miss was to follow and all Wayfarers had to do was to score from their final stroke, which they duly did.
3rd/4th playoff v Guildford C. Won 1-0
It was a quick turnaround, and within minutes we were back on again with a bronze medal still to play for. We were a player down as Jack T had gone off injured in the semi-final, but despite this we started strongly. Chances came at both ends as our defence looked a little unsettled and possibly tired. Upfront, Daniel Q was still causing trouble and he struck in front of goal from a scrappy piece of play that wasn’t cleared. Could Woking hang on for the final few minutes. Sam B fell hurting his hand and Jack returned to command the centre of midfield as he had done most of the afternoon. Suddenly the final whistle blew and it was cheers all around. The bronze was ours!
Fantastic effort from the boys all around, they didn’t actually lose a single game in normal play. They all played their hearts out and it’s always nice to get one over a Guildford team. Those in defence, marked with confidence and the wide boys of Ollie R, Sam B, Ollie H and Matteo worked tirelessly up and down the side-lines. Jack T held the midfield together and Daniel Q upfront was usually there to provide the killer punch. Jack McK was marvellous in goal and kept us in the games towards the latter stages. These boys have a great hockey future ahead of them as most are U11s, and are effectively playing up a year. A medal was the least they all deserved and could so easily have been more as they drew in the group stages to the eventual winners the Dragons.
My thanks must go to Gihan for umpiring throughout the afternoon (and sometimes without any opposition umpire to help) and Giorgio Varda who helped me encourage the boys (or was that shout words of wisdom at them – mainly ‘get wide’ and ‘marking’ as we tried to be heard over the wind!) and fix the GK’s boot. Thanks also to all the parents for their continued support and supply of biscuits on the day. And Graham (Buss), you may not have been there in person (although on the end of my phone in one of the penalty shoot outs!), but your words of encouragement and tireless support all season were never far away. I thank you.
Finally, apologies if I have got any of the details wrong, I was too nervous and stressed by the end to note down all those who scored and when. It was a rollercoaster of a ride throughout the afternoon, but one that I am very proud to have been part of.
Updated 20:48 - 13 Mar 2019 by Amelia MacPhee