The U11 boys capped off an amazing start to the year with victory at the ISFA U11 regional tournament last Thursday. The boys made the short trip up the road to Alleyn’s School for their fourth tournament in a month; this one, however, was definitely the biggest test yet.
With one school unable to attend it meant the first match did not happen at 11:05 and the boys had to wait a full hour before getting going. A really tough match against King’s College Junior to start off with and the nerves and pressure showed. Slow to start, the boys went 1-0 down. Even after a valiant effort in the second half they could not find an equaliser. Game one: loss. The boys came off the pitch heads hanging and the pressure on. Every game now was a must win.
They had little time to pick themselves up for the next match, but that they did and a superb 3-1 victory over Harewood House with Chibuikem, Hal and Josh getting the goals. This was a superb reaction after the first loss but the boys still seemed to be feeling the pressure. After a debrief from Mr Roulston and Mr O’Reilly it was decided that smiles were needed and the shackles had to be shaken off. The boys knew that effort and teamwork were needed, but they had to be enjoying their football.
Game three was against the hosts Alleyn’s and with a few tactical changes the boys played some amazing football to come out 3-1 victors again. Charlie gave a Man of the Match performance, working tirelessly up front and grabbing a well-deserved goal. Chibuikem and Josh chipped in with the others.
The boys were now finding their feet and really getting stuck into the tournament. Game four, and a 4-1 victory against Thomas’s of Battersea meant a top of the table spot and into the quarter finals. Chibuikem was having the tournament of his life and scored a great hat-trick. Barnaby buried another into the bottom corner after a superb quick corner from Zamir.
In the quarter final DPL faced Fulham Prep for the second week running. A much closer affair this time was decided by a superb volley from Zamir. Daniel ran himself into the ground for his team and almost grabbed a second.
On to the Semi Final and in the way stood Newton Prep. The boys were really up for the game and determined to reach the final, meaning Newton were no match as they played with purpose, precision and flair. Chibuikem scored two (one an unbelievable bicycle kick which had everyone on the side applauding in awe). Barnaby scored the third.
The final was moved to a different pitch which had a huge slope and poor surface. The boys, tired after seven games, went out hard from the start. Hal was having a superb game in midfield and it was his run that ended in a foul and a free kick to the Prep. Although it was near the halfway line, Barnaby let fly. It dipped and curled and the keeper did brilliantly to save it only for Zamir, the predator, to react quickly and volley home the rebound. 1-0. Although DPL had chances and deserved more goals, 1-0 was the way it stayed. Champions for the third time in three tournaments but this one means a trip to St George’s in May for the National Finals Day.
The boys were a credit all day. Teamwork, sportsmanship, humour and determination were evident and they have a lot to be proud of. Barnaby, Josh and Will were incredibly solid all day, letting no player past them. Dawud was superb in goal, with excellent distribution and dealing with any long range efforts with superb saves. Charlie, scoring one and Daniel worked tirelessly up front. Chibuikem scored seven, Felix played with finesse and accuracy, Hal had a great final and Zamir scored and set up vital goals.
Again we would like to extend our thanks to the parents for their support. After the final the boys were presented the cup and champions pendants. Bring on the finals.
If you would like the ISFA report on the tournament please click on the link below.