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Champion Mariners!


mariners-2010Last but by no means least of our season 2010-11 round ups come possibly our most successful team of that period – HT Mariners. Read their Season Report here.

Before you read the rest of this report, just take a few seconds and think back to the start of last season. We played two pre-season play off games, got hammered 4 and 5 nil respectively by KCA Amersham and Westwood Park, and were placed in the “weaker” of the two U8 leagues. How depressing!!

Now fast forward to the end of this season and it helps to get the remarkable progress this fantastic group has made into perspective. It’s difficult to express how proud everyone is of their achievements this season, and I for one can genuinely say that this team puts a spring in my step when the alarm goes off on Saturday morning. That’s no mean achievement given the state of my knees!!

As the season dawned, Chris secured the necessary “A” level grades and set off for university, and John became the second member of the Dashwood clan to join the Mariners in an official capacity. At the time I didn’t realise it was a buy two get one free deal, but I’d like to place on record my personal gratitude for the huge contribution that not only John has made to the coaching and development of the team, but also to Rachel for her tremendous contribution behind the scenes.

We also started the season in new kit and I’d like to thank Stewart Andrews for kindly sponsoring the team through VSNi/Genstat.

So to the football. The old guard of Alex, Luke, Dan, Rhys, Dan Dan, Charlie, Henry, Adam, Timmy, Caleb and Max were joined by three new players – Bethany, Megan and Jack, and we got off to flying start with a 3-0 victory over St. James Bears. Our formation quickly settled into two defenders, a holding midfielder and three in attack, and the combination of a tight defence and a free scoring attack saw us at the right end of the league from the early stages of the season.

Although it’s fair to say that the goal scorers get the glory in football, John and I have always told the defenders that keeping a clean sheet is their equivalent of a hat trick, and our core defensive team of Alex, Henry, Caleb, Adam, Max, Dan G and Bethany have done a fantastic job in delivering the best defence in the league with a meagre 12 goals conceded in 18 games.

Despite the customary losses against the two St. Josephs teams, the first ghost was laid in November (Manager Paul also won the manager of the Month award – pictured right) that with a comprehensive 3-1 victory against Westwood Park, courtesy of a hat trick from Luke. Shortly afterwards KCA County were beaten 2-1 in the cup and that victory seemed to provide the impetus for a sensational end to the season when we swept all before us. Another Stokoe hat trick, this time Dan, secured a 4-1 win at KCA Orient, a nervous game against St. James was won when Jack sensationally hooked in a volley with no more than 3 minutes on the clock, and finally after three years of trying we beat St. Josephs Reds when Charlie stabbed in the decisive winner. A place in the cup final was secured with a 4-0 victory against Harefield which included a header direct from a corner by Timmy and the only blip came with a home defeat by St. Josephs Blue, despite an amazing penalty save by Alex. Add in crucial contributions from Rhys who found his perfect position on the right side of midfield and the end of the season was set for a thrilling climax.

We entered the final two games with a league and cup double at stake. The cup final at Chalfont St. Peter was a great occasion but sadly the wrong outcome as we were beaten 2-0 by a very good Westwood Park side who deserved their victory despite a man of the match display from Alex in goal. Picture left show the Mariners with their finalists medals.

The good news was that we had an immediate shot at revenge, as the final game of the season was also against Westwood Park with victory needed to secure the league. After a nervy first half our heroes stepped up to the mark and delivered a stunning 4-0 victory, inspired by a Jack Crawford hat trick and underpinned by yet another clean sheet.

So there you have it, league champions and cup finalists, and outstanding contributions from every single player.

So the final thank you (s). It’s a real privilege to be involved with HT Mariners, it puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face and two groups of people make that possible. To the parents and supporters, massive thanks for your support and help this season. You really make a big difference and it’s a pleasure to count you all as friends. And finally of course, the Mariners themselves. Alex, Dan, Luke, Daniel, Max, Henry, Adam, Timmy, Caleb, Jack, Bethany, Charlie, Megan and Rhys. We love you all and thank you so much for playing great football with a smile on your faces and putting a smile on ours.

Looking forward to next season already!! 

Paul Baldock
HT Mariners Team Manager



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