U16 Boys Runners Up in Mercian FinalsBy Reading Hockey Club • May 10th, 2013 • Category: Home Page, Match Reports, News, U16 Boys
Reading’s U16 boys came agonisingly close to winning the Mercian league playoffs on Sunday 5 May, losing 3-2 to Woking in the final. The team had qualified for finals day by winning the Mercian West league and then beating Lewes, winners of the South league (and thereby winning promotion to the Premier league for next year’s U16s).
In the semi-final Reading faced Oxted, winners of the Mercian Premier league. Playing their fast passing game, Reading took the lead when Peter Scott was put through and he blasted the ball into the corner of the goal from the top of the circle. Reading continued to dominate, creating numerous chances which were thwarted by an outstanding performance by the Oxted keeper who deservedly won player of the tournament.
With one minute to go Oxted equalised and penalties beckoned. From the restart, Reading immediately attacked. Sam Denehy forced his way through a crowded defence into the circle for Alistair Higginson to score from a tight angle. Final whistle blew, a richly deserved victory and frayed nerves amongst coaches and supporters! However the team had made hard work of it and legs were tired ahead of the final.
Having beaten Woking in the EH Championship earlier in the season, hopes were high that we could beat the Mercian Premier league runners up. However it soon became apparent that the semi-final had taken its toll as Woking were quicker in thought and deed. The Reading defence coped well with an aerial bombardment and both sides had chances to take the lead. However it was Woking who opened the scoring which was then cancelled out by a Peter Scott deflection five minutes later.
Reading continued to battle hard but went down to 10 men midway through the second half when a Woking breakaway was illegally challenged. Woking took advantage of their superior numbers to score two goals and seemingly put the game out of reach. Back came Reading and a rasping Julius Manton-Jones shot brought the score back to 2-3 which heralded a frantic last 5 minutes as the boys chased the game. It wasn’t to be and Woking had deservedly gained their revenge.
With the U16 B team only losing one league match and the C team battling hard against other club A teams, this has been a vintage year for the U16 boys. The squad of nearly 40 boys has made huge progress and is truly a next generation for the club. None of this would have been possible without the support of the parents, coaches, administrators and umpires. Its been a great team effort.