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HT Knights – Sixes U10’s Champions

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Sixteen Heroes, Two Coaches, One Legend

Maybe it was the hot weather. Perhaps it was the inspiration the players took from meeting Wycombe Wanderers legend Keith Ryan before the matches had kicked off. It could have been due to the huge support that we had, with the families of our 16 players all cheering them on. It might even have been the fact that there was an action shot of our team from last year on the programme cover. Whatever it was, the Holy Trinity Knights found an extra spark from somewhere to overcome the odds to lift the Hazlemere Sixes U10’s Cup on a sweltering, glorious afternoon at the Rec.

Having entered two even strength teams into the tournament and knowing that most other teams were fielding a single, strong squad it’s fair to say that our expectations were ‘realistic’ going into the event. Both of our teams, however, performed wonderfully. On reflection, the first games of the afternoon set the tone for teams. The ‘Knights Blacks’ played well but couldn’t finish their chances and were narrowly beaten. The ‘Knights Blues’ had a very even game against Westwood Park but deservedly won it 1-0 with a well taken goal from Toby Bennett. The Blacks continued to play some lovely stuff but were unfortunately eliminated at the group stages. Meanwhile, on the other pitch, The Blues, marshalled superbly in rotation at the back by Ciaran Harris, Daniel Kimberley, Kaelan Oldham and Toby didn’t even concede a goal in their first three games. They had a solid 0-0 draw with Amersham County and eased to a 3-0 victory against Amersham Orient – Jake Roberts profiting from lovely build up play from Daniel Harris and Adam Hutchinson to score a hat-trick – before losing 2-0 to Iver Saints and securing 2nd position in the group.

This set up a monumental local derby with tournament favourites HT Mariners, a very good team full of excellent players. The Blacks had played very well against the Mariners in the group – it took a superb Mariners goal to beat them 1-0 in an even contest. In the semi-final, however, The Blues took the initiative in the first half, playing some lovely football with Jake and Adam prominent in attack and they should have been in front at half time but it remained goalless. As the second half progressed, Mariners began to take control and several shots flashed just wide before the final whistle signalled the dreaded penalty shoot-out. We lost the toss and Mariners went first – they missed. Kaelan lashed his penalty home and Mariners then scored their second. Daniel K hit a sweetly struck spot kick but it was brilliantly saved by Mariners skipper Alex Dashwood who then stepped up to take his kick. He hit it like a missile towards the corner…but Nathan ‘The Ginger Cat’ Wainman somehow, incredibly saved it. When you go last in a shoot-out, the chances are that one of your players will have a single kick of the ball to win or stay in a match. At times like these you need players who are not only technically skilful but also full of character. Step forward Toby Bennett, captain fantastic, to drill home the winning penalty and send the Knights tribe of fans delirious – we were in the final but credit must go to the Mariners coaches, players and supporters who were very generous in defeat.

In the final we came up against the only team that had scored against us so far – St Peters Iver Saints, a very fast, skilful team. The throng of Knights fans had swelled even further by now, with various coaches and players from other HT teams cheering us on – thanks guys, it was really appreciated! Again, in the first half we took the initiative and this time also took the lead – yet another classy finish from the unplayable Jake Roberts. The second half was very even but Saints equalised to set up another shoot-out to determine who lifted the trophy.

Again, Toby lost the toss (the only things he lost all day!) and again we were going second. Saints scored their first two but Kaelan and Jake had also scored emphatically. The last Saints kick…it’s on it’s way into the corner but no…it hits the post! As Toby stepped forward I knew he was going to score – it was just that sort of day. When the ball nestled into the bottom corner there was bedlam and the traditional ‘bundle’ – both Knights teams were jubilant with ‘The Blacks’ players supporting their mates and celebrating what was a thrilling victory for the entire Knights squad.

HT Knights Blue - 2012 U10 Sixes Champions

Before our first shoot-out we’d all agreed that we would concentrate on striking powerful shots that hit the target – six out of six to win the Sixes!

Maybe it was fate. Perhaps it was destiny. Come to think of it, more likely that it was a group of 8 excellent young men who played to their full potential, supported each other superbly, played as a real team and who thoroughly deserved to be crowned Hazlemere Sixes Under 10 Champions 2012!


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