In the week leading up to the festival a handful of Under 8 children had staked a claim for themselves by performing well in Games lessons so as a reward they were included in a 7 man Under 9 squad that travelled to Ardingly. Upon our arrival it was clear that this was not going to be like any other tournament we have encountered before.
The pitches were smaller than normal and the goals even smaller! It was then announced that there were to be no goalkeepers with an aim to encourage more attacking play. The format was an 8 team round robin with the team accumulating the most points being crowned champions at the end.
The boys got off to a good start with a 1-0 win over Cumnor A; Alex scoring the goal, then followed this up with a battling 1-1 draw with Ardingly A. Arun was on target. The goals flowed against Ardingly B as we hit the net on 4 occasions through Taran (2), Arun and Charlie.
We then played out a couple of goalless draws against Handcross and Great Walstead but in truth we should have won both games. We were a little sloppy in attacking areas and wasted some excellent chances to score. We got back to winning ways against Lancing thanks toanother goal from Taran but it was the defensive performances from Harrison, Rohan and Harry that caught my eye. They were very disciplined and quick to cut out any danger. We went in to the final game, against Cumnor B, expecting to win but we were faced with a wall of black and red shirts who had one goal in mind; stop us from scoring. It proved rather difficult to score in a small goal with 3 boys camped on the line! Another goalless draw was not the way we had wished to finish.
With all matches played everybody was itching to know the final results. We knew we had to be in with a shot as we had only conceded 1 goal all afternoon, scoring 7 in the process. 3 wins, 4 draws and 0 losses was just enough to put us on the top of the league and become the first ever Ardingly 5-a-side Champions!
I am very proud of the boys and pleased that I took the chance to give some Year 3’s an opportunity to play. Harrison, Taran, Harry and Rohan will all have the chance to retain their title next year whilst Alex, Charlie and Arun can be pleased with their debut win. Well done boys!