Under 16 Boys have tough weekend away at National Indoor Finals
The boys’ efforts pretty much went unrewarded, as they came up against tough opposition in the National Indoor Finals, held at the Aldersley Leisure Centre, Wolverhampton.
They were in a really difficult group, including last years under 16 outdoor champions Beeston, National School champions Ashmoor (South Dartmoor College) and class act Havant, who were coached by England Hockey Head of Performance, David Faulkner. Both finalists eventually came from their group, with Havant beating Ashmoor in the final 2-1.
In the main City were just not strong enough in depth, coming up against opposition squads of 11 or 12. In every game City matched the opposition for significant periods, but didn’t have enough to keep this going for the full game.
Game 1: City of Peterborough 3 – Beeston 3
Cameron Heald (2 PC), Grady Wing
A fast start for the Peterborough Boys created an early short corner in the 2nd minute. Grady Wing slipped this left for Cameron Heald, who drove the ball low past the keeper. Beeston, who had already played their first game earlier and understandably looked sharper for it, hit back straight away though with a short corner goal of their own to tie the game at 1-1.
Beeston took the lead next as the goal came from a quickly taken free hit which caught most of the Peterborough team cold, and the Beeston forward finished well. City’s boys were not to be outdone though as Grady Wing was put through, he beat a player, drew the keeper wide, took the ball round him and lifted it into the goal for 2-all.
Cameron Goodey in the City of Peterborough goal, who remarkably is still only 13 years old, next made a vital smothering double save from two attackers, after City had lost the ball in the tackle in the middle. It was another mistake though that led to the next goal with City trying too hard to beat players rather than pass patiently, leaving Beeston 3-2 up at half time.
The second half was a different matter though. City had lots of pressure, with Beeston hardly managing to mount an attack. Pressure was upgraded to short corners, but unfortunately City were unable to convert any of these until the last few minutes. The equalising goal came from Skipper Cameron Heald though who found his mark firing a short corner down the middle that a defender on the line could only deflect up and into the goal.
The game ended with City frustrated that they had only finished with the draw, as they felt that they were the better team and should have taken their opportunities.
Game 2: City of Peterborough 2 – Havant 6
Cameron Heald (PC), Leo Davies
City of Peterborough knew that they were going to be up against “it” in this game as Havant had comfortably won their first game earlier in the day, beating Ashmoor (whose squad was made up of the National U16 School Indoor Champions – South Dartmoor College).
The worst of all possible starts though was conceding in the first 30 seconds, as City lost a ball in the middle and were punished with a well taken finish. Next was more bad luck as the very dependable Sam Biccarino took a knee to the face in making a tackle and had to come off for treatment for a couple of minutes. Simon King filled in at the back, with City holding off the pressure of fast movement and passing from a constantly rotating Havant team.
Against the run of play though, Leo Davies picked up a pass into the area, and managed to squeeze the ball under the Havant keeper into the goal from a very tight angle.
At 1-1 though, with City of Peterborough competing well with what certainly looked the best overall team in the competition, there was more bad luck as Captain Cameron Heald pulled up with a calf strain. This was to really test the small CoP squad. Scott Howard and Sam Biccarino (back on after icing his cheek) though held things tight at the back and Grady Wing moved into the middle, but City were then short of attacking options going forward and were mainly left to hold on. Unfortunately, just on half-time Havant got their second goal to go in at 2-1 up.
After the restart, this pattern continued, but as City tired, Havant’s passing, running off the ball and clever angles opened them up regularly. It was soon 6-1 to Havant with a penalty corner goal and three other well worked team goals and City had let in five goals in 10 minutes.
Although, not being able to run properly, skipper Cameron Heald asked to return, to at least try to shore things up a bit at the back for the last few minutes. Sam Biccarino moved to the middle, and managed to force a late short corner. This went straight to the hobbling Captain, who brilliantly planted the drag flick high into the corner of the goal to finish the scoring 6-2.
Havant’s coach for the weekend, David Faulkner (who is England Hockey’s Director of Performance – there’s no-one higher!), came over after the game to say that he thought that City of Peterborough had a few very talented players, in fact individually better than his squad, but we were out done by Havant’s overall numbers, strength and better patterns of play.
Game 3: City of Peterborough 1 – Ben Rhydding 3
Cameron Heald (PC)
City of Peterborough arrived in good spirits for the second day of competition. Ben Rhydding were yet to win a game too, so both teams knew that this was a crucial game, if they wanted to progress in the tournament.
Captain Cameron Heald was fit to play again after treatment and strapping on his calf from Hannah Dallender-Jones (who had travelled with the squad as physio for the weekend). The team started confidently and created an early chance for Leo Davies that went narrowly wide, but it took until the 6th minute before Heald scored a short corner drag flick to put City 1-0 up.
Few other clear opportunities were created by either side, until Ben Rhydding won a short corner as time ran out on the half. A good flicked finish from their captain, past the advancing Goodey in goal tied the scores at 1-all, and City’s heads dropped.
The second half though was mostly one way, with City not playing well in trying to go forward, but working hard in defence. As Ben Rhydding’s play improved though, the pressure led to a sequence of short corners and half chances. Unfortunately, this eventually led to two goals in the last 5 minutes, both coming from smart short corner finishes.
With the match finishing at 3-1 to Ben Rhydding, City were down and out knowing they were unable to progress to the semi-finals, but actually most upset that they had just played so much better the day before against much better teams.
Game 4: City of Peterborough 2 – Ashmoor 4
Grady Wing, Bob Cliffe
This was a game with nothing but pride to play for in City’s case, but a semi-final place on the line for Ashmoor. However, knowing that they were up against National School Champions, the Peterborough boys were determined to put in a better final performance and they certainly did that.
Again, City of Peterborough started well and were put 1-0 up by Grady Wing, who slotted the ball into an empty goal, after Cameron Heald’s mazy dribble and pass eliminated the defence and keeper. A nice turn and flick in the area from Ashmoor’s smallest forward tied the scores though at 1-1 in the third minute.
Two more good goals from Ashmoor in free play put them 3-1 up at half time, but City still felt that they were in with a chance of a big upset.
It was in this last half that City of Peterborough probably played their best half of indoor hockey of the whole tournament. The ball was consistently passed round at pace from all players. The whole squad played their part, with Ross Hadaway going close with one shot, and both Simon King and Bob Cliffe pushing the Ashmoor team hard all round.
It was unfortunate that the next goal came from Ashmoor and it was a controversial one. City were adamant that an Ashmoor forward had blocked the City defence from tackling a runner on the edge of the area (a third party offence), before he peeled and fired the ball into the goal. Captain Cameron Heald made his feelings known too vociferously to the umpire, who told him to calm down had gave him a green card (his second of the day for similar reasons).
Next, a poor decision to run the ball through players from Biccarino, left Heald as the last defender against two forwards and he mistimed his final tackle badly, where the umpire quickly signalled for a stroke and a yellow card for Heald. To his credit though, young Goodey in the Peterborough goal stood up well and covered the flick that went just wide.
Even with four players now, City held Ashmoor with the solid defence of Biccarino and Scott Howard, and Bob Cliffe running tirelessly in the middle and a rotation of single forwards up front. They even managed to win a short corner, just as Heald’s two minute suspension was completed. This was pushed out to the Captain, who flung the ball at pace across the face of the goal and Cliffe running in agilely deflected the ball into the goal to make the score 4-2.
The last few minutes had City on top and really competing well in all parts with Ashmoor. At the final whistle, City didn’t have the result they wanted, but most certainly they had done themselves a great deal of credit.
The City of Peterborough Squad for the National Finals were:
- Cameron Goodey (GK)
- Cameron Heald (Captain)
- Scott Howard (Vice Captain)
- Sam Biccarino
- Grady Wing
- Leo Davies
- Simon King
- Bob Cliffe
- Ross Hadaway
They were supported by Andrea Howard (Coach), David Heald (Manager) and Hannah Dallender-Jones (Physio).