City of Peterborough Under 18 Boys – Plate Finals Report

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England Hockey Under 18 Boys Plate Semi-Final

City of Peterborough 2 – 2 Deeside Ramblers (Deeside won 5 – 4 after penalty strokes) 

Scorers: Joe Houghton (PC) & Adam Wilson (free)

The boys did their club proud with a great all round performance, including a tremendous comeback against a strong Deeside Ramblers team, but were gutted to lose cruelly on penalty strokes.

On paper, Deeside had looked the toughest draw for City of Peterborough out of the final four.  In their number they had two or three players with National League experience this season, plus a number of other top young players in the North.   

The Ramblers settled best on the water based pitch threatening early on to string together their passes and open up City, but some strong defence kept the scores level.  Occasionally, Joel’s high aerials from the back caused problems for Deeside, but the usual City passing patterns were missing as the midfield struggled to control the ball.

The first goal for Deeside came after a ball seemingly was running dead in the area, but a diving reverse stick cross retrieved the ball from deep for another Deeside forward to stab home.  Later in the half, Callum Rigby in the City goal made a high diving save from a Penalty Corner drag flick to keep the scores at 1-nil at half time.

The speed of the running from Deeside continued at the start of the second half and City of Peterborough were soon 2 down after conceding a slightly sloppy goal following a swift attack down the right.  At this stage, all looked lost but the fight was not over and the City of Peterborough boys rallied themselves.

The comeback was sparked when Peterborough started to get hold of the ball and drive forward through Chris Clarkson, Joe Houghton and Marcus Howard.  This drew some over-physical challenges from Deeside, eventually resulting in a suspension for one of their players.  With the extra man, City pressed and forced a rare short corner, which after a mis-control at the top of the D, ended up with the ball being injected back to Joe Houghton inside the area who slapped strongly home to pull back to 2-1.

From this point on, Deeside back to 11 men again, were on the back foot.  Soon, it was 2-all when after a good move through the middle the ball was only half cleared by the keeper and it fell to the reverse stick side of Adam Wilson, who did what we all expected on his “strong side” and put the chance away before the keeper could recover.

With maybe just 10 minutes to go, it looked like there could only be one winner.  Deeside were clearly rattled and City started to open them up regularly.  In this last period, Alessandro Vardaro was unlucky not to deflect the ball past the keeper with a good deflection from a ball hit hard into the area.  Ross Ambler also created a great chance for Adam Wilson to win it in the last few minutes, but his deflection just finished narrowly wide of the post.  As the umpires blew for the end of the game, it was a relieved Deeside Ramblers team that regrouped for the Penalty Strokes competition.

The Penalty Stroke competition went as follows:

  • Adam Wilson was up first, his flick being buried high in the top left.  Callum left with no chance (1 – 1).
  • Chris Clarkson put his into the right hand side netting.  Again, a good flick from the Deeside player to even the scores (2 – 2).
  • Third up, Nathan Foad simply pushed the ball hard and low into the corner.  The Deeside stroke was saved by Callum (3 – 2).
  • Joel Gilmour was up next, but he didn’t get the contact he wanted and the flick was saved.  The Deeside player seized his chance to even up the score, with a well taken finish (3 – 3).  
  • With all the pressure back onto City, Captain Marcus Howard coolly slotted the final flick of the first series, but Deeside finished well to take it to sudden death (4 – 4).
  • With the sequence reversed for sudden death, Deeside put their first away.  Adam Wilson then stepped forward, but fired high over the bar to leave City of Peterborough gutted (4 – 5).

This City of Peterborough team should be so proud of their achievements this season.  There were clearly no better teams in this plate competition and their effort and consistent performance just wasn’t rewarded this year.  There are some of the squad that will not play junior hockey again, but many of the boys will be one year quicker, stronger and more experienced next season and will be a match for most in the main competition next time, let alone the plate.

The City of Peterborough squad for the finals were:

  • Callum Rigby  (GK)
  • Joe Houghton
  • James Fisher
  • Matt Porter
  • Joel Gilmour
  • Marcus Howard
  • Adam Wilson
  • Ross Ambler
  • Nathan Foad
  • Chris Clarkson
  • Jordan Heald
  • Kyle Doyle
  • Alessandro Vardaro
  • Ed Fitch
  • Nathan Stephenson  (GK)

They were supported by:

  • Mike Yeoman (coach)
  • Paul Hillsdon (assistant coach)
  • Andrea Howard
  • David Heald
  • Dr Rob Houghton

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