Following literally stacks of hard work, preparation and training the 18th July 2014 finally arrived, and 12 boys from the Academy Year 5 group traveled to Guernsey for the prestigious BWCI Mini Soccer Festival in Guernsey.
In addition to playing our friends from other Jersey clubs, and our counterparts from Guernsey, some top-level teams from England were also present. Everton F.C., Southampton F.C., Fulham F.C. and Bristol City F.C. were all in attendance and underlined the high esteem in which the tournament is held.
On Friday afternoon the boys finished school early and arrived at the port in St Helier on our new Jacksons sponsored mini bus. It was one of the sunniest days of the year, a fantastic omen for the weekend ahead!
After arriving at our hotel we took the opportunity to travel to one of Guernsey’s beaches (near Cobo Bay) and had a game of quick cricket. We cannot say who won, but what we can say is that Aaron Peel may have been bowled out by Jamie Ritzema. Although that decision is still being discussed!
After a decent night sleep we arrived at the tournament with high hopes and prepared for the day ahead. The facilities at Footes Lane are excellent and we had everything we needed to prepare well.
The competition is over 2 days. We were in group 1 of 2 which included Bristol City, Saints F.C., Everton F.C. in addition to St Clements and three Guernsey teams.
We started a little slowly in our opening match against St Clements which was held in front of the main stand at Footes Lane. We were punished by a single goal and lost the game 1-0. This result was the only instance were the squad fell a little short. Despite this set back, we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down and gelled together as a group.
Saturday saw some terrible ‘monsoon-like’ rain which started during our match against Everton and caused a 1 hour delay due to pitch flooding.
We played really well against Everton and lost narrowly 1-0 to a very late goal. We cannot blame the weather as both teams had the same conditions but we felt a bit unlucky not to get a creditable draw against top competition.
After another a few draws and a 2-0 defeat to Bristol City the boys had to put in a great deal of effort if they were going to progress to the second stage of the competition. The four top teams from each group go through to the Shield with the proceeding four entering the Plate.
Could we qualify for one of the knock out stages?? Yes, following 6 straight wins we could! With the highlight being a victory over Southampton (who were unlucky to lose 1-0 having conceded a headed own goal from a corner). We were through!
But which competition would we be in, the Shield, or the Plate? We had a nerve-racking final round spectating while other teams played their game in hand, then the results were in. Like our Jersey peers St Clements and Grouville, we finished in the top 4 of our group and therefore progressed to the quarter finals of the Shield as one of the top 8 teams in the competition.
A fantastic achievement.
The quarter final was against Rihoy North who up to that point had not conceded a goal! As you might expect they were strong, well organized and stifled our creative play. It was approx 2pm on the Sunday afternoon and temperatures soared without any breeze to cool our boys down. Despite the heat, St Peter worked their socks off, closing Rihoy North down, trying to find a break through goal.
After no goals the Ref blew for full time and with no extra time in the competition we went straight to penalties.
Despite our very best efforts it was not to be. Penalties was a cruel way to leave the competition (which was eventually won by Everton), but we knew we had done our very very best.
Great weekend, great players!
Accompanied by Aaron Peel, Mike Horman, Dave Walsh and Stuart Murphy the following boys took part and represented the club with credit, both on and off the field:
- Cole Graham – Voted player of the tournament by his team mates and kept us in many a match with his steely defending.
- Tom Proffitt – An example to his team mates with his sheer effort, running with the ball and creativity.
- Ryan Peel – Always a threat up front with a cool eye for a finish and ran tirelessly to apply pressure by leading the line, often as a lone striker.
- Max Godel – Great team player, always ready to get between the sticks and stand up for the team.
- Pierce Roche – Played with spirit, versatility and strength both out field and in goal. Many a team found it difficult to contain his powerful running with the ball.
- Finn Hougardy – Played with skill showing some brilliant touches to pose an attacking threat and also demonstrated great character by playing in defense when needed by the team.
- James Murphy – Largely played as a right sided defender and midfielder with some effective forays into central midfield. Worked hard to cover his team mates with some skillful footwork to create opportunities and an attacking threat.
- Stanley Tanguy – Agile in net with a fantastic attitude to the game and his team mates. Celebrated his 10th birthday while we were away, Happy Birthday Stanley!
- Kyle Fernandes – A great example to his team mates, Kyle showed a fantastic attitude throughout the weekend, supporting the team. As a mostly defensive player Kyle suprised everyone (including himself) by popping up with 2 really important goals!
- George Le Quesne – A natural leader, George’s communication and effort on the pitch were rewarded with some great striking opportunities. Dangerous player when cutting in from the right.
- Storm Dickson – Effort and running were the name of the game as Storm gave his all on the pitch for the team. Popular member of the squad always at the center of the group, and always smiling and laughing!
- Jamie Ritzema – The life and soul of the party, Jamie was a key member of the squad both on and off the pitch. Moving between midfield and striker Jamie was always full of running and always carried a threat to the opposition.
Thanks to the tournament organizers, sponsors, players and parents who made this a fantastic weekend of football!