U10 Football Team Voted Players of the Tournament

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Saturday 8th November dawned with a bright sky and a glimmer of sunshine, but this was a false dawn because as the morning progressed, so did the density and darkness of the clouds.  By the time the U10 boys departed Ratcliffe for Foremarke Hall to compete in the 2014 edition of the Foremarke Hall U10 6 aside Tournament, the rain was falling steadily with no sign of it relenting any time soon.

On arrival at Foremarke Hall, the weather conditions had not improved, in fact if it were possible they had worsened.  However, no amount of rain was going to dampen the enthusiasm and eagerness to play football that all of our U10 boys possessed.  They were completely focused on what lay ahead and they were determined to perform well.

Our squad consisted of four Year 5 boys, Sam Gray, Harry Gamble, Cameron Mulvihill and Thomas Leighton, and Four Year 4 boys: Riley and Kai Kirk, Sebastian Welch and Finlay Spencer.  As the Tournament started, the weather had broken and we had some respite from the incessant rain that had befallen us thus far.  Our first match saw us take on last year’s winners, Terra Nova. The boys were no respecters of reputation and played some wonderfully attacking and flowing football which resulted in a 1 – 0 win courtesy of a superb strike from Harry Gamble.  This was a dream start, and the boys were understandably buoyed by the performance and even more eager to play their second match.

The second match in the group saw us take on Old Vicarage.  This game saw our boys take their football to another level.  The passing was precise, the tackling tenacious, the teamwork seamless and, as a result, we created chance after chance to break the deadlock.   The Old Vicarage goal however, was leading a charmed life.  With literally seconds remaining, a speculative shot from distance skidded horribly in front of debutant goalkeeper,
Thomas Leighton, and despite his brave efforts to readjust his body in a split second, the ball squirmed through his grasp and into the net.

The opposition coach referred to his team’s victory as a smash and grab, complementing our boys on their dominating performance.

Undeterred by this unfortunate loss, the boys were highly motivated to get back into winning ways for their next match against RGS Worcester.  By the time the first whistle was blown,
the weather decided to return with a vengeance.  The skies that had briefly brightened became as ominous as they had been all day and sure enough the clouds burst forward with such force that it was hard to see the boys in action.  It seemed however, that our brave boys hadn’t even noticed the inclement weather as they set about dominating the game again, creating another raft of chances.  Unbelievably, the game ended in the same fashion as the previous one.

A snapshot on the turn from distance caught everyone by surprise and meant that the boys were beaten once again.  Again, the opposing coach breathed a sigh of relief as he knew his team had managed to sneak a fortunate win.

The results of the group games meant that we had qualified for the Plate Competition.  Many boys would have been disappointed with this outcome, especially as their performances had deserved so much more.  However, with great maturity, the boys changed out of their sodden kit and, attired in a fresh kit, they went out to play their Plate Semi Final, determined to not let the day become a complete wash out.  The rain had finally dispersed and, with the return of the brighter skies, our luck in front of goal also returned.  We won the semi- final against Grace Dieu with a beautifully taken near post flick from Kai Kirk securing victory and a place in the Final.

The Final against Birchfield saw the culmination of all the outstanding play the boys had produced throughout the tournament.  Three fantastic goals, one from Harry Gamble and two from Sam Gray saw the boys convincingly win the Final 3 – 0.  This was nothing more than all the boys deserved for their individual and combined efforts throughout the afternoon.

At the very beginning of this report, I spoke of a false dawn, well what everybody who had the privilege of witnessing what the boys achieved on Saturday will attest, this collective performance certainly is not a false dawn in terms of the footballing future at Ratcliffe Prep.  With continued hard work and passion for the game, I can only see a bright future for this set of boys.  Mr Plummer and I were extremely proud of the excellent manner with which they represented Ratcliffe College Prep School on and off the pitch throughout the tournament.

Well done boys and thank you to our fabulous army of travelling support who cheered the boys on in quite appalling spectator conditions at times.

The whole squad were voted as players of the tournament: Sam Gray, Harry Gamble, Cameron Mulvihill, Thomas Leighton, Riley Kirk, Kai Kirk, Sebastian Welch and Finlay Spencer.