SUPER SUNDAY FOR SWANSEA YOUTH TEAMS
Juniors make it 4 National age group titles in 2012
Swansea’s youth teams had a fantastic Welsh finals weekend, adding the Boys Under 15, Boys Under 13 and Girls Under 15 titles to the Boys Under 18 title won last month.
The day started with the Boys Under 15s taking on North Wales champions, Colwyn Bay. Swansea started strongly, but found it hard to break down a well organised Colwyn Bay defence. Against the run of play Colwyn Bay took the lead from a short corner that the Swansea defence failed to clear. Colwyn Bay hung on to the lead for much of the first half, with the Swansea boys becoming increasingly frustrated and resorting to individual play rather than teamwork. Fortunately for Swansea a speculative shot deflected off a defenders foot to level the scores a few minutes before the break. Just when it looked like the first half would end all square, Swansea scored with a rasping shot to go into the break with a deserved 2-1 lead.
Swansea expected to take control of the second half, but failed to convert a hatful of penalty corner opportunities and found Colwyn Bay determined opponents. As the game wore on Colwyn Bay pushed for the equaliser, calling on Swansea’s stand in keeper, William Kelleher, to make a string of top quality saves.
The game was settled when Rhodri Jones completed his hat-trick with 2 late goals that gave the Swansea club its third Under 15 title in four years.
In the second competition of the day, the Under 13 Girls got their title challenge under way with battling wins over Colwyn Bay and Wrexham with goals from Lowrie Ratti and SJ Thorburn that left them needing a draw in their final game against a Whitchurch side that had beaten them convincingly in the South Wales finals a week earlier. The Cardiff team started the game by far the stronger; putting a lot of pressure on the Swansea defence before taking a deserved first half lead.
Swansea started the second half strongly realising that if they could level the scores they would lift the cup. The elusive goal came when SJ showed a goal-scorers instinct to scramble the ball over the line, but Swansea were only level for a matter of minutes before Whitchurch broke again and scored the goal that would secure them the Welsh title. The Swansea girls continued to battle hard right up to the final whistle, but in the end were beaten by the better team on the day. They can however be very proud of the way they competed in all three games and were deserved runners up in the competition.
The Under 13 boys by comparison were totally dominant in all of their matches, comfortably beating Dysynni, Colwyn Bay and Whitchurch to win their title in some style. Although Ioan Wall, playing in midfield for Swansea, was the dominant player of the competition, scoring half a dozen goals, including three reverse stick strikes into the top corner of the net, Swansea’s performance was noteworthy for the level of interplay between the team, particularly in creating goal scoring opportunities. Tom Davies was composed in defence and Jasper Addey was always a threat going forward.
The day ended with the Under 15 girls taking on Gwent HC, who they had already pipped for the South Wales league title. The game was a close run affair with few chances coming either way. The first half ended without any score and the deadlock was not broken until 15 minutes into the second half when Hannah Williams picked up a rebound from a penalty corner to give Swansea the lead.
The tension on the sideline grew as the clock ticked down, but Swansea held firm with goalkeeper Charlie Brown equal to any threat from Gwent and team captain and Welsh International Becca Hughes in complete control as Swansea’s juniors picked up their fourth National title of the year to confirm the club’s continuing position as the number one junior club in Wales.