The Tigers traveled to Banbury on Saturday to play in a very strong, well run festival. With 10 teams in the group and the sun shining we knew this was going to be a long tough day.
Things got worse when in the first game Hudson got injured and could take no further part. First up was Middleton Cheney and the lads started brightly, moving the ball quickly. Goals came from Toby, Kaydon and Alfie. Next up was Bure Park who had defeated us in a semi final a couple of weeks ago. This time though the lads dominated play with Kaydon and Alfie notching and James superb as ever in goal.
Wins then came against Bloxham, Banbury United and Oxford City, goals coming from Kaydon, Alfie and a rocket from Charlie who was having a fine day in the middle of the park. Toby and Oli Winn were playing with great composure at the back, while Kaydon and Alfie were tearing teams apart in attack.
We then played a strong Evesham side who beat us comfortably 3-1.
In tournament football you have to bounce back quickly and the lads did that, beating Shipston Scorpions. Next up Easington Sports; a lovely passing side and we played out a tense 0-0 draw.
Going into the last group game the lads had to win to qualify against Carterton Town. 2 crackers from Kaydon gave us a 2-1 win and into the semis qualifying in 2nd place.
After playing 90 minutes of football the lads had a 30 minute break. In the semi they faced the winners of the other group, Bampton Town, another tense affair with no one able to break the deadlock, then with 30 seconds to go Charlie burst through from midfield and hammered it into the top corner! A great strike and the boys were into the final.
In the final they faced our rivals Bure Park. The lads were dead on their feet by now, but were told before the game how immensely proud I was of each and everyone of them, and asked for the last push. The lads gave it their all but the energy just wasn’t there, a great save from James kept us in it and with the last kick of the game we hit the bar but it went over. So it was to the dreaded penalty shoot out.
5 each; quite impressive that both teams scored all 5 Toby, Kaydon, Oli, Alfie and James all struck their’s nonchalantly into the corners.
Sudden Death – gulp – Bure first and a wonder save from James. Charlie Nicholas stepped up and with the promise of the biggest ice cream he could find on offer, he smashed it into the top left corner. Cue the celebrations!
James was superb in goal all day with some great saves along the way.
Toby (who played the best he’s ever played with great composure on the ball) and Oli Winn were great at the back, solid in the tackle and passing the ball out nicely.
Charlie was immense in the middle of the park winning the ball and driving the game forward.
Kaydon and Alfie were fantastic on the left and right terrorizing defences and scoring plenty.
An unbelievable achievement by this set of lads playing 110 minutes then winning the penalty shoot out in the final.
I couldn’t be prouder of them and thank you to Hudson for staying and cheering the boys on all day.