Thursday, July 3, 2014
Sidmouth Warriors Under-9s were so unfortunate not to return from a summer tournament at Cullompton with winner’s medals.
The team travelled to the Mid Devon ground where they found themselves one of 14 teams in the competition.
Organisers split the teams into two groups of seven with the top four in each group qualifying for the knock out stages.
Warriors made a sluggish start and lost both opening matches! For some of the watching parents there were shades of England’s World Cup disappointments!
However, these Warriors are made of strong stuff and they regrouped to go on and bag two wins and a draw to book a berth in the last eight.
In the quarter finals (the first round of the knockout stage) Warriors were paired with the winners of the other group!
Undaunted by the size of the task Warriors were quickly onto the front foot and took the lead when Charlie Roberts thumped the ball home. The opposition response was immediate, but they were unable to find a way past the solid defence of Lucy Spiller and skipper Oliver Beech who both played exceptionally and, when they were beaten, Warriors goalkeeper Freddie Roberts made sure his goal remained intact to see the side into the last four!
In the semi-final Plympton provided the opposition.
Once again Warriors put plenty into their game. With Ewan Badcock holding the ball up well up front, it allowed Ben Fisher and Charlie Roberts to play of him and this created plenty of work for the Plympton defenders.
Both sides battled away looking for that elusive goal, but it was not forthcoming in either normal time or extra-time and so the tie was settled by a penalty shoot-out. A magnificent Freddie Roberts save sent the shoot-out into a sudden death decider!
The Plympton player missed his chance leaving the next Warrior up, Ewan Badcock, to have the chance to fire his side into the final.
The youngster displayed nerves of steel as he stepped up and cracked the ball home to set off great celebrations from team mates and supporters alike.
The final saw Warriors paired with a Pinhoe side that looked nigger and stronger.
However, that hurdle was quickly overcome by the Warriors playing some delightful football that kept the Exeter side on their toes. Both teams created chances, but neither could, find a wining goal until late in the contest a penalty was awarded to Pinhoe.
The spot kick was hit with real venom, but young Freddie Richards got a hand to the ball, but could only help it on its way into the net such was the power with which the ball had been struck!
That proved to be the only goal of the final and a heart broken Sidmouth Warriors were forced to settle for the runners-up medals.
Post tournament the players were able to bask in the glory of their achievement. They had beaten a number of very good sides and got all the way to the final only to be edged out and they were able to return to Sidmouth with their heads held very high.