It has been an impressive week for the U11 football team, who have travelled nearly 500 miles to play in three events! Following their qualification for the National ISA 5-a-side finals in Grimsby last Friday, the team have been to Southport and York this week for games. On Wednesday, an A and B team took on Scarisbrick Hall School in a now annual challenge match.
The B team game gave many of the boys who train with the first team an opportunity to get some much deserved game time. Jaydon was given the captaincy of the team and asked to control the midfield. Thomas was to be the rock in the heart of the defence alongside Moaed. Toby and Jake took up the wide positions with Kian and Henry the main strikers. With Bhargav in between the posts, the team set about their opponents with energy and enthusiasm. Driven on by Jaydon, Bridgewater forged a series of chances, but could not find a way past the Scarisbrick goalkeeper.
However, the pressure began to tell and following more good approach play from Jaydon, Jake scored to put Bridgewater ahead. Minutes later, a through ball from Kian found Henry in space and he made no mistake. With Bridgewater 2-0 up at half time, the boys were excited and eager to get back out on the pitch. In the second half, Jake hit the bar, Toby went close with a free- kick and Kian had a series of shots, as did Jake, but Bridgewater could not find another goal. At the other end, Thomas and Moaed repelled attack after attack and battled to keep Scarisbrick out. When they did get past, the opposition found Bhargav in magnificent form. With at least five vital saves to his name, Bhargav was instrumental in securing a clean sheet for the team. Bridgewater were delighted as the final whistle blew and can be proud of a hard fought 2-0 win.
On the adjacent pitch, the A team were in total control against Scarisbrick’s first team. Tobias made an impressive debut at the heart of the defence and even showed Harper how to defend at times. Matteo was physically imposing in midfield, whilst Craig, Regan and David were too hot for the Scarisbrick defence to handle. George had little to do in the Bridgewater goal, although he was beaten by a fiercely driven free kick midway through the second half.
Nevertheless, Scarisbrick only managed to breach the Bridgewater goal the once. On the other hand, Bridgewater found the back of the net ten times. Craig continued his fine form in front of goal and scored five goals. Harper scored a solid header from a corner and David lashed one in from an impossible angle for his goal. Regan scored the goal of the game with a delightful chip to complete his hattrick. The game underlined how far the team have grown and was the ideal preparation for the final game of the week at Queen Ethelburga’s in York.
A squad of 11 players set off to York on Thursday to tackle Queen Ethelburga’s in the quarter-final of the ISA Cup. On arrival, the boys ate what was left of their lunch in a heated bus stop, with a plasma tv, coffee machine and a table football game. The latter brought huge excitement to proceedings, as a competition to find the best players soon developed. Jaydon proudly took the individual honours and Matteo and Thomas took the pairs title. Unfortunately, the table football was the only football Thomas was to play as he hurt his ankle in the warm up.
The rest of the squad remained intact and faced off against QE with confidence. Bridgewater dominated possession early on, but despite a string of chances Craig and David could not score past an inspired keeper. Alfie was moved from the back and following a lovely run and cross from Josh, Alfie controlled and fired past the keeper to go 1-0 up. Minutes later, George played a quick ball out to Craig who passed down the line to Alfie. Alfie drifted past two defenders to cut the ball back for David to tap over the line to put Bridgewater 2-0 up. On the stroke of half time, Matteo put David in on goal and he fired the team into a 3-0 lead.
In the second half, Queen Ethelburga’s found more aggression and began to force Bridgewater back. Craig was caught in possession and there was nothing Luca could do to stop the ball nestling into the bottom corner. Briefly, Queen Ethelburga’s looked to be back in the game, but a calm run and finish from Alfie eased the Bridgewater nerves. Jaydon went close to extending the lead, as did Josh. Regan cleared two headers for the QE defence (!) and was unlucky was a couple of other chances at the far post. The final word went to Bridgewater, as David fired in a fantastic near post strike to complete his hattrick and a deserved 5-1 win.
With a week off ahead, thoughts can turn to an exciting end to the football season and to other events too. Next up is a rugby 7s tournament on Saturday 29th February at Terra Nova School at 9.30am. In the meantime, well done to all the players who have represented Bridgewater so very well in the last week. You have deserved the rest!