The team entered the Weekley Rovers tournament again this year, having reached the Semi-Final last year and narrowly losing 1-0 to Grange Park.
We took 10 lads this time around – Alfie took up his new position in goal and was joined by Bob, Cam, Dylan, Joey, Sam, Maynard, Alec, Oli as well as Jamari and Dylan who were making their tournament debut for us.
It was a baking hot day – one of the hottest of the year and almost on arrival we found ourselves on the pitch opening the tournament in Match 1. We got off to a nervy, slow start and found ourselves tailing 1-0 fairly quickly, more worryingly we were second to everything and not competing. Matches were to be 13 minutes and 6 a side which leaves little room for anything less than 100% focus from the get go. With 5 minutes left we finally got ourselves into the game – Alfie keeping us in it with a solid save, Maynard then won the ball in midfield and the ball broke to Cam, two touches forward and he was one on one with the keeper – bang and it was 1-1.
We had woken up and started to take control but time was nearly up – however with a minute to go the opposition pushed the attack, Joey broke it up swiftly, the ball bounced to Maynard whose first time through ball was met by Cam – 2-0 and the points were ours.
From that moment on, we looked comfortable all day, composed, played some decent if not great football. What cant be faulted was the lads efforts. We set our stall out early and the message from the coaches was simple – attack and push but when we don’t have the ball we all get goal side bar the forward, added to which we agreed that anything less than maximum effort would see players subbed as it was a hot day.
Everyone stepped up to the mark and we learned and experienced a lot:-
Alfie – Comfortable all day, made some cracking saves when needed and his distribution was largely perfect throughout – in 8 games he conceded just 3 goals. Outstanding.
Bob – Mr Versatile was consistently good all tournament but a revelation when played up front alongside Cam. His touches, flicks, control and passing creating several chances – went close himself in the last couple games with some excellent distance shooting.
Joey – Played as sweeper superbly well – his pace and reading of the game allowed the remainder of the squad to focus on the midfield and attacking positions so a massive shout out to Joey for sacrificing his own attacking instincts for the benefit of his team mates.
Jamari – Can’t believe this was his first tournament for us – read the game really well, battled non stop and, crucially, consistently chose the right moments to keep the ball moving. In tough conditions, Jamari’s energy was a real boost to the team – evidence by the opposition mullering him toward the end of the tournament – thankfully he recovered swiftly but that’s a big back handed compliment from the other teams.
Dylan – Another debutant, Dylan has bided his time though training and it was great to see him on the pitch in his proper competitive debut. Started off fantastically with a great assist for Cam in the second game. Later he nearly scored goal of the day with a delicate chip over the on rushing keeper but it just went over – later still he was denied a great volley finish with power that he was unlucky to see rocket of the keeper who knew little about it.
Oli – Mr Consistent and so strong – the opposition were continually frustrated by Oli all day. At one point Oli was spent and we waited for the ball to go out to make a change and rest him – but the ball broke from our defensive line and Oli sprinted the length of the field to prevent a corner at the other end! Amazing commitment and not un-noticed by his team mates who rightly roared their approval.
Cam – When Cam has his shooting boots on, there’s not many that will stop him and he had one of those tournaments where you could easily see him score each time the ball came his way near the edge of the opposition area. Finished the day with 5 goals and was the top scorer in the competition – great performance.
Maynard – the reluctant midfielder! Wanted to play on the front foot but asked to control the game from the middle on the day and my word did he deliver – he also played as sweeper twice to rest Joey and equally did as good a job. Maynard put fear into the opposition repeatedly as they couldn’t seem to get past him – the fact that he assisted 3 and scored 1 also shows that he was just as menacing going forward.
Sam – With Sam part of the squad you always have a chance and he will ALWAYS keep everyone motivated. This tournament showcased almost every aspect of his game – he was ball winner, creator and finisher here – getting his rewards with assists and goals. Everything’s better with Sam around!
Alec – He really struggled early on with blisters due to his studs on the hard ground and needed treatment on more than one occasion. At one point we were going to pull him out altogether but Alec’s determination was never going to let that happen. He was everywhere, busy every game and his commitment levels really shone through the deeper we went into the competition. Influencing a game is a skill, when you mix that influence with dogged determination you become a quality footballer and Alec showed exactly that in this tournament.
Played 8, Won 5, Drew 3, Lost 0. Scored 8, Against 3
Weekley Rover Tournament Winners!!!!!!!
A great tour, we all missed the players that couldn’t be there so this ones for Joe H, JJ, Harrison and Ella- and of course our manager Kirk!