Belper HC U12 Boys have qualified for the National Finals on May 9, having finished runners up at the Regional Finals. After a successful season playing friendlies against local clubs and a strong commitment to training, the U12 boys started on their journey to National Finals at the County Championships held at Belper HC on the 22nd March. The team were convincing overall winners, performing consistently throughout the tournament and netting 24 goals during the four 15-minute games. All members of the squad got in on the goal scoring action, and Matt Broadhead kept out some difficult shots in the semi-final against Chesterfield HC.
Results County Championships
Chesterfield won 4-1 (semi-final)
The Regional Finals were held at Highfields, Beeston on the 19th April. The boys were drawn in a tough group and the 10 minute matches called for high levels of concentration right from the whistle. The first match was against Ashby, who have previously proved to be a difficult team to score against; Ashby defended well and their goal keeper fended off a barrage of shots from the Belper team. Archie Vaughan finally managed to find the net late on and the game finished 1-0 to Belper, much to our supporters relief.
The second game was a back-to-back against Stourport, an unknown quantity being a team the boys have never played before. We managed an impressive goal tally over the 10 minute match. Excellent hassling of the opposition defence from centre forward Ben Wain led to some great scoring opportunities. The game finished 6-0 with a well taken opening goal from Herbie Cummings followed by goals from Sam Cooke, Archie Vaughan and finally Joe Millington-Sulley.
After a short break Belper were back on against Rugby; a well organised team who keep possession of the ball well. The boys settled into the game and, following some good defending by Will Selby and Luke Griffiths, began to build our attack from defence. Alex McBride used his pace to get on the end of a cross and slide the ball to the back of the net. The game was sealed with a final goal from Sam Cooke.
Match 4 saw us take on Telford & Wrekin and a flying start with the boys engineering an impressive goal 10 secs into the game. The final score was 4-0 with goals from Archie Vaughan, Sam Cooke and Joe Millington-Sulley. The boys had still managed to maintain a clean sheet.
The toughest game in our group was next and it was against Beeston, the group favourites. The boys did themselves proud, didn’t give them too much respect, played their game and, with the help of some great saves from goalkeeper Matt Broadhead, they managed to keep the ‘Beeston’ at bay. Penalty corners for both teams in the final minutes lead to some nail biting moments for the coaches and parents. The game finished 0-0 and both teams seemed happy with that result.
Having drawn against Beeston, in the final game against West Bromwich, the boys were focused on winning with a convincing score line to try and finish top of the group. The boys held their nerve during a physical match, and two goals from Sam Cooke saw Belper finish top of the group with 15 points. Equally as impressive as the overall points and goal tally, was the fact that Belper didn’t concede a single goal during their group matches.
With both finalists slated to qualify for National Finals, the semi-finals were the arguably now the main focus of the day. Having stuck to the plan, played as a team and kept it together during a tough group stage, the next 10 min match would determine whether the Boys would go forward to the National Finals. Belper were up against Sutton Coldfield, in what was a predictably tense encounter; no score after 7 minutes and opportunities at both ends. Belper boys’ persistence and commitment saw their hard work rewarded with an excellent goal from Sam Cooke who buried the ball in the back of the net. A final goal in the dying seconds of play from a penalty corner from Archie Vaughan saw the match finish 2-0 and sealed the boys entry into the next round of the competition. Relief and jubilation all round for boys and supporters.
The final against a well organised Leicester side, saw some end to end play, but Belper didn’t quite find their goal scoring rhythm and ended up losing finalists. It was a match played in very good spirit by both sides, but if we meet them again we’ll be going for the win!
Congratulations to the entire squad on a fantastic achievement. A committed and professionally-minded group of young players, who understand the importance of team work and are an exciting team to watch. They’ll be back in action at Highfields, Beeston on the 9th May.
Results Regional Championships
Sutton Coldfield won 2-0 Semi-final