Herts League 7 Aside Winchmore Hill and Enfield
By Graham Locker
played 3, Won 1, Drew 1, Lost 1
Boys U14s competed in their final Herts League 7 aside tournament on Sunday putting in some solid performances over the three games. It was clear to see the improvement that they have made over the season taking on board the lessons learned from Sunday training, particularly in defending, tackling and their moving off the ball which enabled some attractive passing hockey at times.
First game was against Royston, who like Hertford were without a 'keeper. The boys started a little slowly and were under pressure in their defensive D for the first few minutes but they managed to get themselves organised and with some good clearances into mid-field where Alex, Riley and Gabriel were dominant, started to take control. Alex opened the scoring with the first of his three goals and quickly added a second. Royston had some good breaks too and worked their first goal through the Hertford defence before Riley came through from right back to score Hertford's 3 restoring our two goal cushion. A goal each in the second half saw a final score of 4-2 to Hertford.
This Hertford team have always been wary of Blueharts who they faced in the second match and the first half went all in favour of their nemesis with Hertford finding themselves 5-0 down at half time. The half time talk was simple - "they were better than that and needed to go out and prove it" and for 8 minutes of the second half they played what was probably their best hockey of the year. Strong tackling, excellent movement off the ball and slick passing built great pressure on the Blueharts defence with their goalkeeper forced to make a number of saves to deny the Hertford attack; their 'keeper being the difference between the teams in the second half. Blueharts scored on the break with 2 minutes left and then immediately conceded again following a mistake from the restart finally loosing 7-0 but the boys should reflect proudly on how they played in that half rather than on the final result.
The final game against the hosts, Winchmore Hill and Enfield, began brightly for Hertford playing confidently and pressuring the WHE defence whose 'keeper saved and cleared well but five minutes in William Collier
picked up on a loose ball across the D and fired home a good shot to beat the 'keeper and put Hertford ahead. Hertford kept the pressure on with Lawrence Robinson
creating opportunities down our left wing and only a few minutes later he combined well with Alex who skillfully beat his WHE marker and cracked the ball home the moment he had the ball in the D to put Hertford 2-0 up. Alex was unlucky not to add to his tally in the second half firing just wide of the post whilst at the other end WHE were fighting back. After breaking into the circle a good strike from WHE's forward saw Arthur Davey
make a clean stop, however, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line and with WHE rotating their subs well, they added a second just before time to end the game 2-2.
A final mention to James Furse
and Matthew Attfield
our two centre backs who, with no goalkeeper behind them, did some great work in clearing our lines across all three games.
Team: Matthew Attfield
, James Furse
, Arthur Davey
, Riley Skillett
, Lawrence Robinson
, William Collier
, Alex Archer
, Gabriel Thornton