The Tigers made the journey down the M1 to play in the prestigious Willen World Cup on Saturday.
The lads arrived at 8:30 and with the last group game scheduled for 2:50 we knew we were in for a long day.
There were 2 groups of 9 although and with England playing in the afternoon there were a couple of no shows, resulting in us having 6 group matches. First up was Willen Lions Red and the boys were electric, moving the ball at speed, goals coming from Mason, Hudson and Oli Winn. After the match their manager asked me if we were an academy side, which was a big compliment for the lads.
Next up Toddington; and despite dominating play the lads couldn’t find a way to score. Onto to Olney; a strong side who we’ve played a few times over the summer. Again the lads dominated play but couldn’t find the net.
Then came Willen Whites and Newport Pagnell, and two 3-0 wins with the lads punishing any defensive errors. Goals from Toby, Kaydon, Hudson and Mason. After the second match a Luton scout congratulated Kaydon and Toby on the quality of their strikes!
Both left footers, both striking the ball cleanly in the corner,s giving the goalies no chance. Last up was Cleanslate FC and a hard fought 0-0, which meant we qualified for the quarter finals in second place in our group.
James in goal had been steady, Toby, Oli H and Oli W strong in defense and Mason, Henry, Kaydon and Hudson terrosing teams in midfield and attack. In the quarters the lads faced Willen Jaguars, who had great vocal support. Again the lads dominated but just couldn’t break through, and it was onto the dreaded penalties.
The lads are used to this now and Toby, Hudson, James and Mason all scored with no need to take the 5th.
Into the semi against Walton MK FC Warriors, who topped their group and were the tournament favourites at the start of the day. Although having the better of a physical game, Henry was really solid in the middle and the lads couldn’t find their shooting boots, so it was penalties again.
This time the lads went behind but with Toby, Mason, James and Kaydon all scoring and James making what can only be described as two wonder saves, the lads were through to another final; quite superb!
With a short turnaround the boys got some fluids down them and were ready to go again. Shenley were in our targets before the game, and the lads were asked for one last push, and to please score and win the game in normal time. My heart can’t take any more penalty shootouts!
2 minutes in Hudson delivered with a lovely finish in the bottom left corner. The lads had more chances to put the game to bed but didn’t take them. When finally the 12 minutes were up the Tigers had won their 6th tournament of the summer, and can now always say they won “The World Cup”.
A magnificent achievement for this group of boys who simply just love to play football.