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Boys U14 Seals Lose Tight Game at Canterbury

17th January 2022

By Will Hayes

BU14 Seals 0 – 1 Canterbury

A long drive around the M25, M26 and M2 saw the Seals battle hard but return home pointless in the opening game of the U14 Supra League against Canterbury as they lost 1-0. 

Coach Frankie, unsure as to whether to be drawn to the delights of an indoor sports hall in Wolverhampton (for the National indoors) or the delights of a windswept Polo Farm in the Kent countryside (a tongue twister not to be tried during the post match Men's 5 fines session) was drawn to the delights of the Black Country leaving Hayes senior to rally the troops and stay the right side of the line in terms of admin. 

The Seals were playing on the Canterbury first team pitch where the likes of S Kerly and D Mathews have history in putting visiting teams to the sword. But the Seals got out of the blocks well – Jude combined well with the half back to find space in the inside left channel and linked well with that finder-of-space-between-the lines that is Fordy. In hindsight, if the Seals had perhaps shown a bit more precision in the final 25 they may have returned home with at least a draw.

The Surbiton purple patch came and went and a combination of a packed Canterbury midfield, some strong Canterbury low tackling and Jude and Cowling taking umpire-enforced breaks did not help the Surbiton flow. The umpires (note to players/parents/anyone – umpires, not referees) made it clear to both teams that overly physical play was to be penalised and at the risk of besmirching the Garlick family name, it was surprising that our number 9 was not the one to pick up the first yellow card of the season. Mild mannered Cowling, receiving what might be described as a heavy ball on a Hazelwood type length, looked to dead bat (high left elbow, soft hands) his trap but managed only to nurdle it to fine leg. A foot race ensued between the Canterbury number 9 and Cowling – honours were even but Cowling decided to let him know of his presence which lead to the double jeopardy of a short corner (outside the D but inside the 25) and a yellow card. To add insult to injury, the defensive PC runs were out of kilter which lead to Canterbury scoring a switched PC which one felt would have been mopped up by our normal defensive unit. 

At the other end of the pitch, Dexter managed to almost top his own PB for one touch finishes when a ball which was flying around the D at waist height landed to him at the far post who slapped a volley into the side netting that drew an ohh and an ahh from the on-looking Surbiton contingent. 

The second half saw mild mannered Jude (as they say, it's always the quiet ones) also see yellow for a challenge. The Seals never really got a foothold of the game in midfield, and the most potent threat came from Cowling's pacey runs from the back (their coach: "he's good"). Sammie picked up the Language-Timothy award for telling the umpire what he thought in no uncertain terms of the official's decision to play advantage with Sammie buying a foul whilst positioned at our baseline in the bottom left hand corner. Calm down son.

The Seals retired to the clubhouse to take advantage of the (excellent) takeaway chips and good hospitality offered by our hosts.