Southside Star Cubs U8 - Cheltenham League Tournament 3 Week 2
Great performance again from our U8 Cubs, played with a real joy. Just take a look at the photos from the day!
After a last-minute flurry of drop-outs, there was some hasty re-shuffling of the teams, although for the most part we were consistent with the teams from the first part of the tournament 2 weeks earlier.
The groups were seeded on performance from that first week and having won their group, this meant that the Lions had the daunting task of playing in League 1. They were managed by Colin Durrant and their squad for the day was son Ollie, Ethan, Max G, Noah H and Alfie, who came in as a replacement for Zaya. They started with 2 hard-fought draws, with Ollie & Ethan on target in the first and a goalless stalemate in the second. 2 goals from Alfie and another from Ethan earned a 3-2 win in game 3, then Ethan and Ollie were on target again in another draw in game 4. This one was notable for a tremendous triple save from Noah that denied the opposition a winner. The Lions finished on a high in game 5 as Ollie scored both goals in a 2-0 win. This meant the Lions had gone through the 2 weeks of the tournament without a single defeat, so quite a remarkable performance. Unfortunately, they were just pipped to first place, but came away with a very creditable second and silver medal. The whole team were superb, but special mentions to Max, who was rock solid in defence, and to Noah, who took the Man of the Match award for an awesome display in defence as well as some great goalkeeping.
In Group 3, we had both the Panthers and the Pumas.
The Panthers were managed by Andy Cook. Their team consisted of son Elliot, Seb, Lukas, Jacob and Preston. They started with a draw courtesy of a Lukas goal, then went down 2-1 in the next game, despite a fine strike from Preston. Game 3 ended in a 1-0 defeat, but the Panthers ended on a high with 2 successive 1-0 wins, with goals from Elliot and Preston, the second of those wins coming against our Pumas. As per week 1, this team fought and battled for each other and showed a great team spirit. Seb was again fearless, but Jacob was the stand-out player this week with his never-say-die attitude and some fierce tackling, which earned him the man of the match medal.
With Darren Varley away, the Pumas were managed this week by James Carpenter. This meant we were also without Noah; in addition, Lucas and Jack T were away, then keeper Josh C cried off sick! Remaining from week 1 were just Jamie, Joseph W and Archie, so we drafted in Terrence and also Teddy Finch, on loan from our U7 Cubs. Much like the Panthers, the Pumas showed they were up for a battle. They went down 2-0 in game 1, but earned a good point with 2 goals from Archie in a 2-2 draw in game 2. They went down 1-0, 2-1 and 1-0 in their last 3 games (last game versus the Panthers), 3 close games where they could so easily have come away with a point. Terrence scored the goal in the 4th game and could have had a couple more. Teddy did really well stepping up from the U7s and didn’t look out of place, Jamie had a very good game in defence, but man of the match went to Joseph for a tigerish defensive performance.
In Group 4, we had both the Tigers and Leopards.
The Tigers were managed by Jamie Rudd. His team was unchanged from week 1, with son Josh, Austin W, Jonas, Leo, Sam and Oscar R. They started like a house on fire, with a goal from Leo earning the win in game 1, then a tremendous hat-trick from Josh in game 2 earning them a 3-0 win. Game 3 was a no-holds-barred clash with the Leopards, with Sam scoring the Tigers goal in a 1-1 draw. Despite strong performances, they went down 1-0 and 2-1 in the last 2 games, with Josh again on the mark. Star of the day for the Tigers was Oscar, who showed a real never-say-die attitude and was up and down the pitch, supporting at both ends.
The Leopards were managed by James Jackson. His team was slightly re-shuffled with Charlie joining son Will, Leonidas, Tobi and Lennie Middlecote, our U7 keeper again helping out. Zain was recruited to assist the Wildcats and Jack S went down sick at the eleventh-hour. Things didn’t start well with a 2-0 defeat in game 1, but the Leopards sparked into life in game 2, with 2 goals from Leonidas and 2 from Will, the second of those running the length of the pitch to score (see main photo for his celebration!) Tobi also came close to making it 5, when his effort came back off the post. Game 3 was the 1-1 draw with the Tigers, followed by another 1-1 draw, with Will on target in both games. The final game was a super 3-1 win; Tobi breaking from defence to score the first, with Leonidas then turning in a Will corner, before rounding things off with a scorcher from long range into the top-left corner. Charlie worked his socks off and Lennie again looked a star in the making in goal, but man of the match went to Leonidas for his 4 goals and his overall tremendous attacking display.
On Pitch 5, we had the Wildcats. With Ian Goodall away for the day, they were lucky to be able to call on a top coach for the day, namely yours truly! ;-) In the Wildcats team was Tate, Oscar J, Finley, George Maslin (again on loan from our U7s), Zain, who was recruited from the Pumas, and Lorenzo, making his Southside debut. The first game ebbed and flowed and twice we took the lead through George and Tate, but both times conceded equalisers to long range strikes, the second of those taking a wicked bounce to deceive Lorenzo in goal. In game 2 we conceded a goal in the first few seconds of the game and try as we might, we were unable to claw that goal back, despite Zain going close on a couple of occasions. In game 3, we did exactly the same thing, although this time we had a chance to claim a point when we were awarded a penalty for handball. Tate stepped-up confidently to take the kick but went for placement instead of power; unfortunately, he placed it just wide of the right upright! With only 5 teams in this group, game 4 was our last chance to earn a win and we were on top pretty much throughout, without being able to find the breakthrough. With 3 or 4 minutes left, a shot from Tate went through the keeper and squirmed over the line. The Wildcats turned away in celebration, only for the referee to wave play on! Every single player, parent and spectator saw the ball clearly cross the line, but the one person who mattered did not! Just when it seemed we would have to settle for a point, Lorenzo seized on a weak clearance to race through on goal and gleefully thump home the winner. The boys all played well and seemed to really enjoy the day, and really deserved that win. Oscar put in a strong defensive performance and looks like a future left-sided centre-back, but star for the Wildcats was Finley (Finster), who was surely powered by Duracell batteries with a performance full of energy and a string of fearless tackles.
As always, all our teams did us proud, not just with their performances, but also with the way they behaved. They really are a credit to our club and to you all as parents. Please do take a look at the fantastic photos provided by Pano; the sheer joy captured on the faces of our Cubs is the exact reason why I love to coach them!
Players of the Tournament: Noah Holden, Jacob Brindley, Joseph Walls, Oscar Rushworth, Leonidas Kaliszewski & Finley Martin