Penkridge Junior u12′s – Hawkins Tournament 16th June 2012

Penkridge Junior u12′s tournament season kicked off at Hawkins on a wet Saturday in June, the 7 aside tournament was made up of two groups of 6 teams, with the top 4 teams going through to the quarter finals, each game would would be 7 minutes each way.

Our fist game starting at 10:30, having been their since 9:00, would be against Stafford Falcons, the team competes in an u13 age group with a mixture of both 12′s and 13′s, having played them a few times this would be the first time we’ve played against them with players of our own age. We kicked off against the wind and settled well seeming to be the stronger team, taking virtually all the possession and dominating but couldn’t find the back of the net, half time 0-0, second half and a couple of substutes and playing with the wind saw an early break down the right with the ball whipped into to Lewis for him to find the back of net, 1-0, same again with Penkridge dominating and scoring a further two goals to make it final score 3-0

Second game just over an hour later, saw us up against Osprey Sports a team made up of school mates but also included 3 Penkridge Athletic players making for a firey encounter, we kick off against the wind and to be fair the game was evenly matched with Opsprey’s probably just edging it in a well contested strong 7 minutes of football, kicked off the second half in much the same way with strong tackles flying in both ways, with about 3 minutes to go Ospreys conceded a free kick just inside their half, Elliot stepped up launching it into the box meeting Lewis’s head and finding the back of the net, 1-0. Ospreys gave it their all but the game ended 1-0, two games and six points.

Our third game was played against Brandhall Colts B, from the kick off we didnt seem to be as sharp as the last two but no suprise considering it was just over an hour and half since our last game and being over lunch time the team had consumed unknown quantaties of chips, burgers and biscuits. The lack of pace from our team was exposed and led to Brandhall opening the scoring, and the half played out much the same way with Penkridge second to every ball and chasing shadows at times. The second half was almost certainly Penkridge’s as we seemed to have run off the starch but couldnt find a way to get the ball in the back of the net. Final score 1-0 to Brandhall.

Our forth another hard fought game against old friends Hawkins sports, for much of the game both teams were evenly matched, unfortunetly Joe who has left Penkridge to play for Hawkins got injured midway through the second half and this seemed to spur Hawkins on and with almost the last kick of the game they broke down the right to fire hard and low past Josh, final score 1-0 to Hawkins. Wishing Joe all the best and a speedy recovery, as this being only his first competitive weekend with Hawkins and he seemed to have regained some of his confidence that he lacked a little for us last season.

Our Fifth game and almost 4hours since we kicked off our first was against Hopton Rovers, a team we came across a couple of seasons ago in the Mid Staffs league. Going into this game the team looked as though they’d had it, and this probably between Hawkins and them being our strongest test, we ended up losing 2-0 and would now need results in the last two games to go in our favour for us to progress into the quarter finals. First up Hawkins, scoring after only a couple of seconds helped and yes the result we needed Hawkins 2 – Falcons 0, second with only a drew needed, was Ospreys this one was a bit closer with them leaving it till almost the last couple of minutes to score, but to be fair they looked the stronger team anyway, so there it is through to the quarter finals in forth place.

Had lost track of time by now as expected to be going home after the groups. The first quarter final would be Penkridge Juniors against Brandhall Colts A, having struggled in our last group game I actually wasnt very optamistic espacially after being told they had won their group without dropping a point. Team talk went along the lines of maybe your last 14 minutes so enjoy it, but they did seem as though they’d found a second wind maybe it was the thought of a quarter final after having not a great season. We started well, playing against the wind, closing down quickly and being first to every ball, half way through the first Penkridge opened the scoring with Callum picking it up in the centre, pushing out wide and firing low and hard to find the back of the net. Brandhall fought back and equalised just before half time. The second half was again all Penkridge’s but couldn’t quite find the net, with a couple of minutes left time for a change and with Alex’s first touch took it round their defender and fired low to find the back of the net, Inspired, 2-1, a few frantic minutes went by and it’s there final whistle, Penkridge through the semi’s.

We now had to wait for the other quarters to be played out to find who was our next oppenants, thinking it would be Hoptons other team was suprised to find out it would be Osprey’s, this would be a tough game again with them looking for revenge for us beating them in the group, seeing as on paper our players are million miles away from this team. The game started well with both teams taking an even amount of possesion and neither troubling either goal keeper, that changed just before half time with the ball crossed in for Matty to tower above the defence and head the ball home, half time 1-0 to Penkridge, second half was much the same with strong fair challanges, which made for, a good, competitive 7 minutes of football. The last minute seemed again to last forever, but there it was and Penkridge were through to their third tournament final in three years.

The final, Penkridge Junior FC against Hopton Rovers Navy, whatever happened now was a great result for Penkridge, Hopton probably the stronger but we went about it the same as we’d played all along, playing with the wind we opened the scoring through Matty again, but that was short lived following a reffering mistake, straight from kickoff their player dribbled it out wide with the ball clearly going out by about a metre for the ref to wave play on with our team standing waiting for a throw in, he then powered the ball home to level the score, how many times do we say play to the whistle! Half time 1-1, second half was another even seven minutes apart for one moment of skill with a Hopton player picking the ball up in his own half and dribbling straight through the middle with know one able to get close, and slotting the ball home to make it 2-1 to Hopton, as much as we battled to find a second that was our lot and the final whistle went to make it 2-1 to Hopton and us a losing tournament finalist for the third year in a row.

Well that was it, 9 and half hours later we finally left Hawkins Social Club with our Silver cup and medals, very very proud of the boys today for what they’ve achieved, great competitive football, hard at times, but fair, but most importantly football the way it should be played. Well done lads another great day for Penkridge Junior FC

Team – Josh Humpries, Elliot Spillard, Matt Den Braven, Joe Duckhouse, Alex Richards, Lewis wootton, Marcus Bazzi, Callum Stephenson, Matty Dyke, James Wright

About Pete Spillard

Manager of Penkridge Junior U14's, FA level 2 qualified coach and Vice Chairman of PJFC Support Wolves and work in my spare time :)