Boys Under 12s Crowned National Champions
By Paul Fishpool
Boys U12s National Finals - Nottingham Hockey Centre
Sunday 7th May 2023
On a deceptively hot and sunny day in Nottingham the Boys U12s fulfilled the potential that they have shown as a group all season to be deservedly crowned National Champions!
The day started with some inspirational words from SHC and England GK James Mazarelo, which obviously took a while to register with the boys as they unexpectedly went 1-0 down within ten seconds against a good Cambridge City side. However, this acted as a much-needed wake up call and they duly responded with a goal virtually straight from the push back. Once they had found their feet, they swiftly moved into a 4-1 lead with some flowing, passing based hockey, which they would come to be the hallmark of their day. They ran out eventual 6-4 winners.
The second game against Neston was a much less stressful affair, with the boys slipping straight into character and dominating proceedings from the outset, rushing to a 5-0 lead by half time. The second half was more subdued but nonetheless they added another to make it 6-0 overall and with Cambridge beating Clifton Robinsons in the other pool match it meant we only needed a draw in the final match to be sure of making the final.
The game against Clifton Robinsons was a tricky encounter; it always is when a draw is all that’s required, and so it wasn’t entirely surprising that we went down 1-0 relatively early in the game. It took a sensational strike from Ted (another prominent feature of the day) to bring us back on terms but also calm the nerves a little. The team started to click, started to dominate and we went in at half time 2-1 up. The second half saw much of the same and 2-1 became 3-1, then 3-2, then 4-2 and by then we knew the game was safe. Clifton did get one back with the final hit of the game to make it 4-3 but we were safely through and deservedly so.
Our opponents for the final were Stourport, who had pulled off the surprise of the tournament earlier in the day by beating an extremely strong Guildford side. Right from the push back the boys were absolutely superb. They completely dominated Stourport throughout the entirety of the match. They were 2-0 up by half time and were relentless in the second half putting another four goals past them to finish the final as 6-0 winners!
Every member of the team contributed massively during the day. Thomas S in goal made some crucial saves throughout, none more important than in the early stages of the final. At the back Thomas E, Brad and Caleb were calm and composed all day long, they rarely put a foot wrong in defence and their distribution and interplay around the D was something to behold from an U12 team. In the midfield Feliks, Alex F, Alex A and Kye took control and dominated the centre of the field, using their skills and vison to create a succession of goalscoring opportunities whilst never neglecting their defensive duties. Up front Ted and Ben worked tirelessly to pressure the opposition when not in possession and then be available to create the space and take their chances when we attacked. Special mention must go to Ted, who ended the day as the tournament’s leading scorer with nine goals, as the team as a whole bagged an impressive 22 goals in four games!
Final mention must go to Fred. Throughout the day (and the season for that matter), he was calm and he gave the boys the confidence they needed. The boys were a credit to the club in the way they played but also the way they conducted themselves throughout the day; supporting other teams, being sportsmanlike at all times and this stems from the way in which Fred and the other coaches have lead them throughout the season!
Thank you to all the parents who made the journey, supported so loudly and positively and a massive congratulations to the team!