After the previous juniors’ date had been lost to the February cold snap (shortly before the February heat wave), the trip to Ely was the first match event of the year for South’s U8, U10 and U12 sides.
The fixtures had originally scheduled to be hosted by Cambridge City at Wilberforce Road, then moved to March’s pitch, before finally South switched to the event organised at Ely in order to save on travel. Enthusiasm was undiminished by the changes though and South travelled to play Ely and Cambridge Nomads with the largest contingent of the three clubs, with a Boys’ U12, Girls’ U12, Mixed U8 and no fewer than three Mixed U10 sides.
With the event being played on Ely’s recently re-laid pitch, the juniors were the first South teams to get the opportunity to play on the new surface. Although still bedding in, we can already say it is a great improvement on the old one! The weather, which had started bright, had turned grey and we suffered a few showers but fortunately nothing too heavy or persistent.
First up were the younger teams. As Nomads do not have an U8 side, the U8 event consisted of the Ely and South teams playing each other four times in succession, which seemed to merge into one super-long game with a few breaks. Team coach, Louisa, observed that it was good that we had lots of subs as by the end Ely – without any – had lost so many players through exhaustion that it almost ended as South v South! There were some great displays of tackling (clearly taking their training from a couple of weeks ago on to the pitch), goal line saves, passing and bags of enthusiasm. It was great to see how much each player has developed in skills and confidence since the start of the season.
The U10s were playing in a five team round-robin, Team A(lison), Team B (a.k.a. Team Kendra) and Team (C)assie competing against an Ely and a Nomads side. All the teams had a mix of results, with wins, draws and losses in many close and exciting fixtures. The coaches seemed to be enjoying it as much as the players, taking huge satisfaction from the progress all the children have made since the club’s junior section started two years ago.
The second half of the event saw two larger pitches formed for the Boys’ and Girls’ U12 games, coached by Jim and Garth respectively. Unfortunately I missed these as I was taking my daughter home after her games, but I hear that the enthusiasm and commitment matched those shown by the younger teams. Both teams featured a number of changes from our previous games this season, with new players making their first match appearances for the club.
That completes the junior match programme for this season but we’re already looking forward to the next match dates come the autumn!