NEWPORT JAGS - LEAGUE CHAMPIONS !!!!
By Kierran Groom
…as they secure the title with a resounding 13-1 win.
Having moved up to joint leadership of the table last weekend, the Jags hosted Walton Power - knowing that just 1 more point would see them win the league title outright.
The game was played out on a bright morning, the pitch gratefully now mown since the last home fixture - and in front of a typically numerous gathering of parents, grandparents and other supporters.
Taking nothing for granted, Newport coaches made sure the boys were well warmed up and in the right frame of mind. All were aware that Walton were a very able mid-table side, who had achieved some good results during the season. Furthermore, although the Jags had been victorious in the away fixture, the final score was somewhat flattered by 2 late goals.
Any pitch-side nervousness though was soon put out of mind as the Jags immediately took charge of the game - and a fine first minute run from Henry was unlucky not to earn a penalty as he was unceremoniously bundled over in the box. However, it was just the first of many repeated attacks and the Jags were 3-0 up within 15 minutes and a total of 7 (some were sure it was 8!) by half-time.
The visitors scored midway through the first half - and it was an excellent well struck shot from outside the box that beat the diving Newport keeper. Otherwise, it was a match the Jags completely dominated - and, for even the most uneasy of Newport supporters, it was evident from early in the game that all 3 points were very likely going to the home side.
At times the quick passing between Jags players was simply outstanding. The defence very solid and comfortable throughout, the midfield in near total control - creating opportunity after opportunity for the forward line, who were in unforgiving form as they readily picked up the through-balls and so frequently found the net.
Indeed, the score could have been be more, with shots just wide and others just over or hitting the bar. A great team spirit too, lots of talking on the pitch and keeper Tom invited up to convert a penalty just ahead of the final whistle.
Man of the Match went to Henry who was a constant threat throughout the game and secured a hattrick by full-time, which included a header, after a cross (or was it a shot?) from Roman bounced back off the bar.
So, a win that finally saw the Jags move ahead of rivals Oakley and take the league title outright - and a triumph all the more notable for it being an U12s squad securing this U13s title. The earlier decision to seek league permission to play up a year entirely vindicated - and a memorable season which has also included two very impressive U13 cup runs too.
With one game still to go, there is an opportunity for the boys to put even more daylight between themselves and the league’s other top teams - but this was the moment, with victory now secured, for applause as the (non-alcoholic) champagne fizzed to celebrate a job well done.
Some great football on the field, always first class support from the Newport “family” on the touchline - and with huge thanks to the coaches Kierran and Scott who have guided the boys to the top (and always in the right way) against some capable at times challenging opposition.
A season that will remain long in the memory - as a league title is added to the fine record that these Newport boys have already established in their numerous tournament wins over the past three years.