Finishing 3rd in the league and drawing on points with City of York, who were 2nd, Rotherham U16 Boys were looking in good form for the play offs. High expectations were set after the young side beat a strong ‘select’ Rotherham side a couple of weeks prior in a friendly.
Rotherham’s first game was at 9:30, against Ben Rhydding, who were expected to be the toughest game of the day. The early start and excessive chocolate over Easter shone through with a slow start from the boys which allowed Ben Rhydding to score 4 goals in the first 15 minutes. However, in true Rotherham spirit they stepped up their game in hope they would even the score line; this determination lead to two quality goals by Jack Hartley
. Despite the effort of the midfield and forward no more goals were scored before the final whistle, concluding the game at 4-2 to Ben Rhydding.
Rotherham returned to the pitch with their spirits high and the positives taken from the previous match. The second opposition of the day was Doncaster who Rotherham had drawn with earlier in the season. The game began nicely with the Rotherham playing some quality hockey, involving Oliver De Roeck
and Hugh Barber making several vital tackles. 10 minutes into the game Rotherham had a spell of consistently fluent hockey eventually resulting in the ball being transferred through Ricky Benton
, Tom Sorsby, Emma Bray and Jack Hartley
who ensured the ball was placed comfortably in the net. The goal seemed to see Rotherham into a complacent attitude consequently allowing Doncaster through their defence and scoring 2 simple goals - sadly finalising the game at an undeserving 2-1 win to Doncaster.
By this time, Rotherham were aware of the fact they would not be going through to the semi-finals which disappointed all the team but especially our three senior players, Oliver De Roeck
, Jack Hartley
and Ricky Benton
, as they will be too old to play for U16 next year.
After an inspirational team talk from manager, Pete Sorsby
, the boys kept their chins up and fought for pride against their final opposition of the day, Bradford. Rotherham started strongly, utilising the wings via strong performances from Edward
Donaldson, Joshua Towers and Tom Zarowski, ending in a goal scored by goal machine, Jack Hartley
. Bradford remained no threat to the Rotherham side as the majority of the time was spent in their half, although possession was in Rotherham’s favour, Rotherham scored no further goals closing the game at a 1-0.
Overall, Rotherham came 3rd in their play-off group which the team considered not only as a very successful day but a successful season. Rotherham U16’s will return to the Yorkshire Youth Hockey League next year with the loss of three senior players but also a new set of young hopefuls and maintain the standard of pride set at Rotherham.
On behalf of the team, a massive thank you goes out to Pete Sorsby
for managing us all season; we wouldn’t be the team we are if it wasn’t for him. We would also like to say thank you to our parents and everyone that has supported us and driven many miles over the past season.