2004 2005 UNDER 9 Rooks

 

NEWS

  • Next scheduled fixture: End of season

Reminder to all the Rooks. Training is as important as the matches; train well, play well, enjoy your football but remember to follow the rules of the club & manager regarding how to treat everyone fairly & sportingly at all times.

 

Omonia Green 4 Rooks 0

Old Cholmelians Sports Ground, Hendon Wood Lane, London NW7. Watford Friendly League U9 Spring Trophy Group B, Sunday 10th April 2005 kick-off 11:15AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Lewis Cowper

A fixture against the team that finished a close second in the division above us, we approached this fixture with mixed emotions; would the Rooks last competitive match prove to ourselves that we had all improved after our first season together?

We lined-up with Lewis in goal, Gibbo sweeping behind JR & Cash (playing as wing-backs), Daniel & Tom in a line up the pitch with Archie (today’s captain) up front. Cole & Kyran started as subs.

Rooks kicked-off and showed they were ready for a tough match but not ready to give in; we really did seem to believe we were good enough to test a very accomplished & skilful Omonia team. The early exchanges were pretty even with both sides playing football & working hard for team-mates. Both sides created some nice moves leading to chances at both ends but ‘keepers & defences were in commanding form. Omonia began to take charge but were kept at bay through good defending, last-ditch tackles and some really superb goalkeeping by Lewis “The Cat” Cowper – one save mid-way through the first-half was simply breath-taking as he arched backwards & tipped the ball over the bar. Daniel took a heavy challenge in our box with around 7 minutes left to play so Kyran replaced him with Cole coming-on for Cash a minute or so later. All the Rooks were still defending like tigers but three goals in the last two minutes broke our hearts as we finished the first 20 minutes 0-3 down.

The Rooks were a little subdued before the start of the second half but picked themselves up and went back out with Lewis in goal behind JR as a lone defender, Cole, Gibbo & Kyran across the middle, Daniel just in front of them with Archie up front. Cash & Tom started as subs.

Both sides worked hard right from the kick-off and it was good to see the Rooks fighting hard & trying to play quality football. It was becoming one-way traffic as Omonia began to get on top but the Rooks worked hard for each other, tackled, chased, harried & defended like their lives depended on it and restricted the opposition to very few chances. When they did get passed the defence, they still had to beat “The Cat” – and Lewis didn’t let us down! Time & again, he made important saves but could do nothing with 10 minutes left when 4 Omonia players broke from half-way against just JR & Gibbo and scored their only goal of the second half. Cash & Tom swapped with Cole & Kyran just after the goal but we struggled to create a clear opportunity and, although Archie chased everything, we didn’t get much chance to test their ‘keeper in the second half.

What did this match show us? Quite simply, we are a VERY GOOD TEAM! We have all improved individually, are beginning to understand how each other play but, most importantly, that you need to be a team to play well & achieve results; everyone has to work hard & contribute to the game.

You all gave everything today; I’m sure your families are every bit as proud of you as I am! It’s all been down to your hard work, training & listening that has allowed you to improve and you have earned my respect from the first minute I was privileged to become your manager & coach.

Each of you was outstanding in this game and played some very exciting & attractive football but the Man of the Match award goes to Lewis; he made some truly wonderful saves but it was his all-round ability that caught my eye. It showed he has learned a huge amount from his hard work; well done “The Cat”!

We may have a friendly next Sunday depending on ‘phone calls but we will be training for at least the next two Saturdays at Radlett Road.

 

London Colney 2 Rooks 2

Shenley Lane, London Colney. Watford Friendly League U9 Spring Trophy Group B, Sunday 3rd April 2005 kick-off 11:00AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Jack Richards & Jack Moneypenny

Our 3rd competitive match against London Colney saw the Rooks eager to avenge the two previous defeats, especially as we didn’t deserve to lose them both!  After a conscious decision change to things round both for position & tactics, we lined-up for the kick-off with Lewis in goal, JR & Cash (today’s skipper) at the back with Gibbo just in front, Cole in midfield and Archie & Tom working as a pair up front. Daniel, Kyran & Kyle started as subs.

We kicked-off and looked positive in the early exchanges; the bumpy pitch & long grass doesn’t suit our favoured style of play but we showed we can mix it with the opposition when needed. The team did well to adjust to the new line-up after the first few minutes and started to play some really good stuff; both short, quick passes and longer through balls. JR & Cash kept things tight at the back and Gibbo stayed in the holding role to stop the Colney midfield dominating. A couple of good attacks by Colney swung things back their way but Lewis was not called into serious action due to his excellent positional play. Suddenly, Rooks broke away, Archie found Tom and he finished really well for 1-0. Just after this, Daniel replaced the hard-working Cole to give some fresh legs in the middle and another sweeping move started by JR, continued by Daniel & Tom was very nearly swept home by Archie. Colney started to press more but we held firm; Kyran & Kyle replaced Gibbo & Tom in the middle and their efforts helped us reach the break 1-0 to the good.

The second half saw us change things round again to give Colney something different to think about; Lewis stayed between the sticks but JR played as a lone sweeper behind a midfield of Daniel, Cash & Cole with Archie & Gibbo up front. This took a bit more time for the Rooks to get used to but helped make Colney’s midfield less effective by bringing us closer to them to deny space. However, it was during this adjustment period that a quick break saw the ball nestle in our net for 1-1 but the Rooks up & at ‘em style came shining through and we started to battle forward at every opportunity whilst trying to retain our shape. Tom replaced Cole in the middle and it wasn’t long before a Rooks’ corner was partially cleared, thumped back in by Daniel and Cash hooked the ball over the keeper to restore our lead at 2-1. To be fair, Colney then began to dominate the play and we looked a little stretched but good defence coupled with some shots just off target kept the score at 2-1 until a few minutes before the end when an unlucky bounce deceived Lewis and the ball crept over the line for 2-2. We replaced Archie & Gibbo with Kyle & Kyran to change things around again with just over 5 minutes left; Kyle made some great runs & battled hard whilst Kyran got some important challenges in to stop Colney moving the ball from defence to midfield. The game was nearly won by Colney but they hit the far post with a great strike and we had a couple of half-chances to win it as well.

Overall, a superb game to watch; both sets of players got the ball down, tried to pass when possible and were not afraid to chase & battle if possession was lost. It’s a good measure of how far we’ve come that a team who had beaten us twice before had to come from behind twice to snatch the draw. The whole team can be very pleased & proud of their performances all over the pitch, especially those playing out of their usual positions; they all contributed to the match, put in maximum energy & effort but most importantly never gave up & still had the ability to smile!

The Man of the Match award is a joint award to JR & Cash. Both played well and had to stick to their positions; they made lots of tackles and some fine forward runs in support of team-mates.

Next match: WFL U9 Spring Trophy Group B Sunday 10th April away to Omonia Green. Kick-off is 10:00AM; They play at Old Cholmelians Sports Ground, Hendon Wood Lane, NW7. We’ll leave our usual meeting place no later than 09:10AM to arrive for approx 09:30AM.

 

Rooks 1 Evergreen Youth 4

Watford Cricket Club, Woodside Stadium, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Spring Trophy Group B, Sunday 20th March 2005 kick-off 10:45AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Archie Ring & Tom Simmons

Our fourth Spring Trophy match saw us want to add to the “W” column to maintain our chances of winning Group B against an Evergreen Youth side that beta us 1-3 earlier in the season during qualifying.

We lined up with Lewis in goal, Gibbo as sweeper behind JR (skipper on his 9th birthday) and Cash with Daniel & Tom in midfield and Archie up front again. Cole, Kyle & Kyran started as subs.

Evergreen kick-off and the early exchanges were pretty even; the Rooks competed for every ball and played some good football whilst Evergreen used the ball, passed into space well & forced us on to the back foot more often that was comfortable. Both sides looked well-matched and able to play football in the right spirit. Rooks made some good forward moves but were beginning to get bunched in midfield & stretched at the back leaving Lewis & Gibbo to cope with defensive duties. A good break by Evergreen ended with a shot on target that struck Gibbo’s outstretched left hand; penalty!  A well-struck effort crashed against the post & was scrambled away by the Rooks. Amongst the Evergreen raids, JR managed a spectacular run up the right wing but his cross was blocked just when it seemed we may have another effort at goal. Rooks made three subs with Cole replacing Cash, Kyle swapping with Daniel and Kyran on for Tom. The exchanges continued before Evergreen broke, moved the ball quickly and engineered a good goal for 0-1 but we came straight back at them; Archie wriggled free and hit a tremendous shot back over the keeper for 1-1 just before half-time.

The second half saw the team that started the match back on in the same formation with instructions to carry-on but increase the talking & calling to help each other deal with the very mobile opposition. We conceded two goals to well-taken near-post routines that meant we were 1-3 down with only 15 minutes left to play; we still played good football on the break and Tom was brought-down by a mistimed tackle as he broke from half-way with Daniel’s resulting free-kick powerfully struck but a brave header cleared the danger. We made a sub with Kyle replacing Cash before a double swap saw Tom & Gibbo replaced by Cole & Kyran. A sweetly-struck fourth goal by Evergreen ended the scoring at 1-4.

Overall, probably a fair result as Evergreen created better chances and played with pace & skill. All the Rooks performed well with Lewis making several crucial saves, Gibbo swept-up well, Cash had a good game at left back while JR did superbly as skipper. Daniel was again strong in the middle, Tom was quick & lively, Archie did well on his own up front, Cole got stuck in, Kyran made some vital tackle and Kyle chased & harried.

Man of the Match was tough one again; everyone worked hard & tried their best but it goes to Archie & Tom for working well, looking to make passes, forward runs, making space and looking like a decent partnership.

Next scheduled fixture: WFL Spring Trophy, Tuesday 22nd March at home against Berkhamsted Raiders; kick-off is 5:00PM on the pitch next to the astro-turf & car park so please arrive no later than 4:45PM.

There is no match over Easter so there will be no training on Saturday 26th March; next training is Saturday 2nd April with a Spring Trophy match against London Colney away on 3rd April (kick-off is scheduled for 11:30AM).

 

Gadeside Hornets 2 Rooks 2
Westfield College, Tolpits Lane, Watford. WFL Spring Trophy Group B Sunday 13th Feb 2005 kick-off 12:00AM.
Rooks Man of the Match: Jack Richards & Toby Ogbebor


Our absentees today were Daniel (encouraging his dad to finish a half-marathon – go, Paul, go!) and Kyle (family commitments) but we were glad to have Toby available for his first competitive match for the Rooks. With Tom up against ex-team mates at Hornets who had beaten us in the qualifying round back in October, this was going to be a good game!

Lewis put his gloves on again, Gibbo lined-up at sweeper with Cash & JR just in front, Toby & Tom (today’s skipper) started in midfield with Archie as the lone striker. Cole & Kyran started as subs.

Rooks kicked-off and began well; the pitch was in good condition so we were able to pass & move – and did it effectively! We looked very, very good; everyone competed for the ball, looked up before passing and tried to play football. Hornets were also playing some good stuff so it was a real pleasure to watch two good teams play football in the right spirit. Rooks started creating some chance that Hornets did well to keep-out but then Tom got on the end of a good move and finished well for a deserved 1-0 lead to Rooks. Hornets countered strongly; we managed to keep them out for a while but we did concede a well-made equaliser. We made some subs just after; Cole replaced Gibbo, Kyran came on for Archie and we switched to 2-2-2 with Cash & JR in defence, Cole & Kyran in the middle and Toby & Tom up front. We created some more chances but Hornets finished the half slightly stronger.

The half-time team talk was simple: more of the same! We kept the 2-2-2 formation that finished the first half and the match re-started at the same high standard. Rooks again looked most dangerous in the early stages; the passing & movement were great to watch. We won a corner on the right and JR must have had a magic bootlace tie-ing session with his dad; he curled a fantastic right-foot corner in at the far post for a 2-1 Rooks lead. Sadly, the lead didn’t last long; a good Hornets move was well finished for 2-2. We did have some luck in front of our goal; somehow the boys managed to keep-out then scramble sway what looked a certain goal then Lewis made a great stop that Cash somehow managed to hook off the line (it was as good a clearance as Freddy Ljungberg’s had been the day before!) Archie & Gibbo rejoined in place of Cash & Toby and we defended well for the rest of the match whilst playing good counter-attacking football.

Overall, a superb display from both teams; neither deserved to lose and both could have won the game. It was played in the right spirit; competitive without being ‘nasty’ with skilled players enjoying themselves. All the Rooks played well; Lewis made some good stops & kicked well, Gibbo was very solid at the back & used the ball, Cash did brilliantly considering it was his first competitive game in two weeks, Tom skippered the side with tenacity & skill, Archie was direct & skilful, Cole battled hard & Kyran looked comfortable in midfield.

However, the award goes jointly to JR & Toby; JR was simply everywhere working hard at his tackling, chasing, passing & capped it off with a superb goal whilst Toby looked like he’d been in the team all season long – he picked-up the pace well, ran with & passed the ball and was a key piece of the jigsaw.

Next scheduled fixture: WFL Spring Trophy; Sunday 20th March at home to Evergreen Youth. Kick-off is 10:45AM; please arrive at the ground no later than 10:15AM, please. Don’t forget we have a home match against Berkhamsted Raiders on Tuesday 22nd March; kick-off will be 5:00PM but we may not be inside the cricket grounds.


C’mon you Rooks; we can still win the Spring Trophy!!

 

Edmonton Rangers 10 Rooks 0
Tile Kiln Lane playing fields, London, N13. Watford Friendly League Spring Trophy group B, Sunday 27th February 2005 kick-off 11:00AM.
Rooks Man of the Match: All of ‘em!

With Cash, Cole & Gibbo all unavailable through sickness, we made the journey to Palmers Green with just 7 fit players on a very cold Sunday morning to play a team third in the division above us. We had a 10 minute walk after parking to find a pitch the size of a postage stamp disguised as a World War One battlefield; with our depleted squad, this obviously meant we were going to nick a 1–0 win with a last minute penalty. Sadly, it didn’t quite finish like that!

We lined up with Lewis in goal, JR & Kyle (captaining the side) at the back, Tom, Daniel & Kyran in midfield with Archie up front.

Right from the kick-off, it was obvious the pitch would have a big influence in how we played as we couldn’t play our normal pass & move game; Edmonton were a powerful side with the world’s tallest nine year old dominating the game from the defence. We were unable to compete as they attacked in groups; we seemed rooted to the ground and I suspect some of the lads were also a little under the weather as they lacked their usual spirit & passion. They did give everything they had but we finished the half 0-3 down and had created only a few chances to trouble their keeper.

With no subs, the second half was always going to be tough and it got worse after we lost Kyle to a cut knee; he’d battled really bravely after taking a full-blooded clearance in the face during the first half so all credit to him for carrying on. We did have a few chances to set Archie free but the ball always seemed to get stuck in the long grass and allow their defence to get back in numbers. With us down to just six players, Edmonton had extra room to exploit and finished with a nice-round 10; I only made it 0-9 but I guess my brain had frozen by then!

Lessons learned? The lads that played showed real guts to compete against a well organised & talented opposition. What we need to take away from this match is that we ARE a good side; we were up against it on Sunday and luck was definitely not on our side. We do need to remember how well Edmonton played and the things they did well; support each other, work as a team and keep their foot on the throttle.

Plus points? Lewis made some fantastic stops & kicked well, Kyle ran his socks off & showed real courage, JR kept battling against the octopus-like forward he had to mark, Daniel chased, harried & tackled as tenaciously as usual, Tom kept trying to create openings, Kyran fought for everything and Archie tried to find space to create chances.

This week’s Man of the Match goes jointly to all the lads for keeping themselves going and still trying to play in the right spirit with passion and good football. Just like your families, I’m very proud of each one of you for doing your best.

C’mon you Rooks; we can still win the Spring Trophy!!

Manager’s note: there is no match for Sunday 6th March due to fixture congestion. As it is Mother’s Day, I’m expecting all the players to treat their mum’s to breakfast in bed and be well behaved - all day!
 

Rooks 2 London Colney 4
Watford Cricket Club, Woodside Stadium, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 20th February 2005 kick-off 10:45AM.
Rooks Man of the Match: Jack Gibbons & Tom Simmons

After last weekend’s trip to New York for Karen & I, it was back to a very cold football morning at Woodside; with the pitch still in excellent condition, this would be our chance to gauge our improvement against another good Purple division team who beat us “early doors” this season.

We lined up with Lewis in goal, Kyran sweeping behind Cole & Cash at the back, Daniel & Tom (captain for the match) in midfield with Archie up front. Gibbo & JR were the substitutes with Kyle & Toby unavailable.

London Colney kicked-off and looked dangerous; they were a big side and played good football with the ability to pass & support each other. Rooks defended well with Cole & Cash getting stuck in and Kyran sweeping well behind. Daniel, Tom & Archie looked to pass whenever possible but Colney’s pressure soon told as they finished a good move to go 0-1 up. We huffed & puffed but couldn’t quite get the run of the ball and a super strike following a corner meant Colney went 0-2 in front. Gibbo & JR came on with just under 10 minutes to play; Gibbo replaced Daniel in midfield & JR took Archie’s place up front. The rest of the first half was fairly even; Rooks were able to create some chances but the Colney keeper had a fantastic first half & stopped every shot we had.

The second half saw the lads that finished the first half stay on with Gibbo moving as sweeper so Kyran could move into midfield. The last thing we wanted was an early Colney third but that’s what we got! This seemed to wake-up the Rooks; we began playing our pass & move game and looked more dangerous going forward. A superb pass from Tom set JR free and he advanced toward the goal at speed from half-way; the keeper got a good hand on JR’s pile-driver but was unable to stop the ball creeping into the net for 1-3. A Rooks corner wasn’t properly cleared and Tom poached another for 2-3. We swapped Cash for Archie with JR moving to left-back and Kyran for Daniel. Colney’s keeper was kept busy but so was Lewis for us; Colney scored a late clincher to ease their nerves and secure a 2-4 result.

Rooks didn’t deserve to lose this well-contested fixture; we created as many chances but the Colney keeper’s outstanding performance and some less than good luck in front of goal meant we had to settle for second best. But the improvement since playing Colney in only our second league match was obvious; all the Rooks looked more positive and were part of a team that’s improving all the time. All the boys can be proud of their effort; Lewis made some crucial stops, Cole was full of effort for the whole match, Cash climbed off his sick bed to play well, Kyran adjusted to sweeper then midfield superbly, Daniel looked as combative as ever, Archie made some telling runs and JR was brilliant up front & at the back.

This week’s Man of the Match was a split decision; once again, everyone deserved it but it’s a joint award to Gibbo for a brilliant display as midfield then sweeper and Tom for a great game as captain & showing great passing range.

Manager’s note: I just wanted to say how pleased I was by the news of last week’s excellent win and to say a big thank you to all the boys, mums, dads, aunts, uncles, etc – it really is a pleasure to know you. A special thank you to Paul & John for their help and to Carl for reffing the matches last week & today.

C’mon you Rooks – let’s try & win the Spring Trophy!!!
 

Rooks 4 St Albans Rangers 1
Watford Cricket Club, Horseshoe Lane, Garston, Spring Trophy Group B
Sunday 13th February 2005 kick-off 10:45AM.
Rooks Man of the Match: Daniel Greig

A full strength squad assembled for our first match in the Spring trophy on a cold blustery Sunday morning against a strong St Albans side, a team we have lost to on three previous occasions this season.

What a difference from last week; all the lads picked up from where they left off in the second half last week and remembered everything they’d been told during training on Saturday; in the warm up and then went out and did the business!

Following on from the second half formation last week we lined up with Lewis in goal, Gibbo (skippering the side) playing in a sweeper role, JR and Cash in defence, Daniel in a central midfield role with Tom just in front of him and Archie up front. Kyran, Kyle & Cole started as our substitutes.

Rooks kicked-off with the wind in their favour; and it was St Albans who were on the back foot right from the start. Archie had a couple of early chances when put through by Tom and Daniel respectively only to be thwarted by good saves from the St Albans keeper. Rooks however kept up the pressure and Daniel had an excellent dipping shot from outside the area which came down from the underside of the bar and Tom also had an effort deflected over the bar. Rooks then forced three consecutive corners from which on the third one Tom coolly finished in the bottom corner for his first goal since returning to Nascot Wood Rangers - well done mate! Rooks always looked dangerous going forward with St Albans barely entering the Rooks half. With 5 minutes of the first half remaining, Daniel, JR and Cash made way for Kyran, Kyle and Cole and the Rooks held firm to finish the half 1-0 up.

Half-time saw us looking to build on our excellent first half performance. We started with the same formation for the re-start. Rooks’ looked even stronger in this half despite having the wind against them and a lovely through ball from Tom following a break in play in our own half saw Daniel run onto it from the half way line, out running the St Albans defence to finish well with a low drive into the bottom left hand corner. St Albans then made a couple of substitutions which seemed to spur them on and following a good break saw them reduce the deficit with a cool finish bringing it back to 2-1. Rooks’ heads never went down and this seemed to inspire them and it was not long before an excellent passing move saw Tom make a good run down the right wing and crossed into the path of Daniel who took it in his stride scoring powerfully to restore our two goal advantage at 3-1. The further exchanges were pretty even, however it took a wonderful individual goal from Daniel beating three defenders to coolly finish and put us 4-1 up . With 7 minutes to go Cash, Tom and Archie made way for Kyle, Cole and Kyran but the Rook’s never looked like conceding.

Overall this has to be our best performance of the season so far and all the boys can be proud of their effort. Lewis’ handling and kicking was superb, Gibbo was excellent in the sweeper role; JR and Cash both had great games defending and going forward; Archie and Tom were always creating chances and Cole, Kyle and Kyran all put in some good tackles and tried to use the ball for the team.

However, the Man of the Match award goes to Daniel not only for his excellent hat-trick but his all round performance, strong tackling, strong running and excellent finishing. The St Albans management even made a point of singling out and congratulating Daniel on his performance.

C‘mon you Rooks!
 

Rooks 2 St Albans Rangers 5
Watford Cricket Club, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 6th February 2005 kick-off 10:45AM. 
Rooks Man of the Match: Archie Ring & Jack Richards
 
Another match against well-organised opposition meant the Rooks would need to be at their very best and play to their strengths to get something out of our penultimate league match of the season.

We lined up with Lewis in goal, Gibbo & JR in defence, Daniel (skippering the side) & Cash in midfield with Tom and Archie up front. Kyran & Cole started as our substitutes with Kyle unavailable for the match.

St Albans won the toss & kicked-off; the first few exchanges were even with both sides trying to pass the ball. St Albans stepped-up a gear and began to look dangerous; a good break & cool finish saw them take a 0–1 advantage. Rooks began to look more dangerous going forward; some concerted pressure resulted in a Rooks’ corner being handled in the box for a penalty that Archie duly despatched for 1–1. Gibbo & Daniel made way for Kyran & Cole but St Albans had begun to pour forward menacingly and the Rooks wilted under pressure; 1-1 was soon 1–4 to St Albans at half-time.

Half-time saw us looking to get determination, pride and passion back into our play; Gibbo & Daniel swapped with Kyran & Cole for the re-start. Rooks’ looked stronger in this half and the gee-up at half-time seemed to have worked! Daniel finished a good move to get a goal back to 2–4 but a second penalty for St Albans completed the scoring. The rest of the match saw Rooks play well and with better luck, may have scored a couple more goals.

Overall, a disappointing first half meant we had too much to make up in the second half but the boys kept their heads-up & battled well to contain St Albans. In fairness, we probably created as many chances but once again the “run of the ball” was against us.

Lewis made a fabulous penalty save that he bettered when he somehow pushed-out a cross-shot and very nearly saved the second penalty. Kyran battled hard for everything, Gibbo worked hard & tried to be creative, Daniel was everywhere once again playing to his usual high standards, Cash tried his best in an unfamiliar holding role, Cole put in some good work & showed courage after getting a ball in the chest at close range and Tom was unlucky not to score his first goal of our season.

However, the Man of the Match award goes jointly to Archie & JR. Archie worked hard; coming back to collect passes & loose balls then terrorising defenders from deep with pace & skill whilst JR played his best game for a few weeks; he looked strong, didn’t miss many tackles and tried to use the ball for the team.



C‘mon you Rooks!
 

Whetstone Lions 2 Rooks 1

Chandos Avenue, London, N20. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 30th January 2005 kick-off 10:00AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Tom Simmons & Archie Ring

We made the journey to Whetstone full of confidence for the return fixture against the side we beat 5 -1 before Christmas and after last week’s good performance.

We lined up with Tom in goal, JR (skipper) & Kyran at the back, Daniel & Cash in the midfield with Lewis & Archie at the sharp end. Gibbo & Kyle started as substitutes.

Rooks kicked-off on a very heavy pitch that meant it would be tricky for us to play our quick-tempo passing game so the boys would have to dig-in & give maximum effort. Both sides tried to play football; the Rooks had a slight edge and created the better of the early chances; Archie went close twice, forcing the Lions’ keeper to make some great stops. The Rooks then showed some signs the pitch was beginning to take its toll and conceded a well-worked but disappointing goal.  Lions’ became more confident and Tom made some great saves for us whilst JR, Kyran and then Gibbo (replacing Kyran) all kept the attacks to a minimum along with Daniel, Cash & Lewis. Archie was full of running and this helped the team as the ball wasn’t coming back at our goal as often as in previous games. Daniel suffered a knock in a challenge late in the first half; Kyle replaced him & again did well. It was still disappointing to turn round 0-1 down, though.

Lewis went back between the sticks, Tom pushed-up to play just behind Archie as we reverted to the starting line-up. The Rooks took control of the match after 5 minutes or so and all the boys played tremendously well on a pitch more suited to rugby than football! Archie has a string of shots at goal before he scored another “Goal of the Season” contender form way out; he struck it beautifully and it looped over the excellent Lions ‘keeper & just under the bar for a well-deserved equaliser. After that, the Rooks pressed hard for the winner and looked solid in all areas of the pitch; a late goal for Lions following some tough challenges in the middle meant they were (in my opinion) very lucky to steal the victory.

From the side, it was a great game to watch; very competitive, entertaining and it allowed supporters of both sides to really get behind the teams vocally – it was nearly as interesting as the football at times! There was no way Rooks deserved to lose this match and I would suggest we created the better chances and, with more luck & a different keeper, may have won the match by half-time at least.

All the boys can be proud of their effort. Tom was superb in goal whilst he ran his socks off on the pitch; JR had a great game defending & going forward; Kyran defended brilliantly at times; Daniel covered every blade of grass & made so many tackles I lost count; Cash looked good in the midfield holding role; Lewis ran himself into the ground during the 1st half & kept well in the 2nd; Archie was superb; Gibbo looked solid when he got on and Kyle again showed his improvement by having another good game.

This week’s Man of the Match was too close to call; again, everyone deserved it but it’s a joint award to Tom for a superb game in goal & out on the pitch and Archie for his great attacking play & another superb finish.

 

Rooks 4 Berkhamsted Raiders 0

Watford Cricket Club, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 23rd January 2005 kick-off 10:45AM.

Rooks Man of the Match: Kyle Reynolds & Jack Gibbons

 What a difference from last week; all the lads remembered everything they’d been told during training yesterday, in the pre-match warm-up and then went out & did it! 

We lined up with Lewis in goal, Kyle as captain for the day & Kyran in defence, Gibbo just in front with Daniel, Tom & Archie as a front three in a slightly new shape to the team. Cole, Cash & JR started as rolling substitutes. 

Rooks kicked-off and looked set for an even match; Raiders played some good stuff and forced Lewis into a fine near post stop after good pressure. This proved to be the spur the Rooks needed to play their football; passes went where they should, players talked to each other, worked hard and looked “The Business”. From a good throw-in move, the ball reached Gibbo who smacked it hard’n’low for 1 – 0. Raiders were never out of the game entirely but good defence meant they found it tough going and from another good Rooks move, Cash hit the ball home for 2 – 0 with around 5 mins of the first-half to go. The rolling subs worked a treat (well done, John & Paul!) at keeping the energy and work-rate levels high.

We lined-up for Raiders’ second-half kick-off as we had at the start and off we went for another 20 minutes; both sides worked hard and played some great football but Rooks seemed that bit stronger and it wasn’t long before Archie notched his first for the day with his left foot following another good move before he doubled his tally with a cool finish after his solo run over half the length of the pitch. Credit to the Raiders; they kept playing and asked lots of questions of the Rooks – they did really well for a side containing a number of Under 8’s.

 It looks like last weeks’ lessons have been learned; you’ve set yourselves a standard so now the hard work of playing to that standard in every game starts! All the lads played well; Lewis made two really exceptional stops and kicked brilliantly, Kyran & Kyle repelled pretty much every attack, Gibbo put in some hard work defensively & tried to be creative, Daniel was everywhere again whilst Tom & Archie are beginning to look form a partnership. JR, Cash & Cole all picked-up the tempo each time they came on and never allowed anyone to get passed without a battle. All the lads tried to play neat, tidy football and all gave good performances.

 The Man of the Match award goes jointly to Kyle & Gibbo. Both played some impressive stuff; Kyle worked really hard and wasn’t afraid to get his tackles in and Gibbo worked hard at the back, in the middle & when going forward.

Note to parents & carers: I’m afraid it’s time to pay the any subs owing for the season. I realise after Christmas is not a great time financially but the club needs the subs to keep solvent and provide all the players with kit, equipment, pitches, etc.

 

Rooks 0 Harvesters South 8

Watford Cricket Club, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 16th January 2005 kick-off 10:45AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Cole Runnalls

The first home game of 2005 saw us brought down to earth with a bang after the recent fine performances; even birthdays for Kyle & Kyran couldn’t help us today!

We lined up with Lewis in goal, JR & Kyran (skipper for his birthday) at the back, Cole & Cash in the midfield with Gibbo & Tom at the sharp end.  Daniel & Archie started as the substitutes but Kyle was unable to play due to blisters from ice skating; in the end, not a bad game to miss!

Rooks kicked-off and were on the back foot right form the start; Harvesters were quicker to every ball, their passing was superb but their key attribute was at least two passing options every time they had the ball.  As the Rooks know, you can’t play football when the other team keeps the ball – and boy did they keep it, and then use it!  There were no real plus points as we were over-run 0 – 5 by half-time.  Gibbo made way for Archie during the first half but it didn’t help.

Gibbo came back on in the midfield for the start of the second half, Daniel came-on in the middle for Cash and we tried to play with more pride.  In fairness, our defence was pretty solid, the lads kept trying but we just couldn’t get – and keep – the ball. We did create a couple of half-chances but couldn’t turn these into the goal our efforts deserved.

Huge credit to Harvesters; not only did they play well; they were gracious and sporting in victory – good luck to them for the rest of the season.

They also turned in a performance similar to one some of you may well remember; Watford 8 Sunderland 0 back in the 80’s. It wasn’t so much that Sunderland were poor but everything Watford did was perfect; that was the pattern for this match.

Lessons learned? Most importantly, recognise when & why a good team has beaten you and work-out how you can do that well; keep the ball, look for simple passes, get to the ball first, talk to each other and work hard as a team.  And when things aren’t going well? Play with pride, keep your heads-up and work even harder to get back in the game but don’t let this turn to over-aggression or unsporting conduct; it’s important to win well and lose well.

The Man of the Match award goes to Cole; he kept working hard even though this was his first full game for a few weeks and never stopped running.

 

Alexandra Park North 2 Rooks 1
Perth Road Playing Fields, White Hart Lane, London, N22. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 9th January 2005 kick-off 10:00AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Lewis Cowper & Jack “Cash” Moneypenny

Our first game of 2005 saw us make the long journey to N22 to play the only team that have trounced us so far this season; they beat us 1 – 8 at home in our second league fixture. We lined up with Lewis in goal, Gibbo & Kyran at the back, JR & Cash in the midfield (Cash was skipper following his birthday earlier in the week) with Tom Simmons (making his return to NWRFC - welcome back, mate!) and Archie playing as forwards. Cole & Kyle started as substitutes and Daniel was on a family holiday in Disneyland – lucky lad!

Alex Park’s excellent football of the first game never got a chance in the first half as the Rooks battled, tackled and denied them time & space right from kick-off; this was a real tribute to the progress all the lads have made this season. It wasn’t against the run of play when JR took a corner on our left and Cap’n Cash crashed the ball home at the near post for a 1 – 0 lead. Lewis gave an excellent kicking performance and really troubled the two big Alex Park centre-backs with his booming drop kicks dropping well inside their half. After 10 minutes, Gibbo made way for Cole at the back and JR for Kyle in the middle; both subs picked-up the tempo & pattern of play straight away and made great contributions as did all the players. Alex Park are strong & skilful but the Rooks were at their most tenacious and refused to let them play. We probably had the better of the first-half chances and were good value for our 1 – 0 half-time lead.

We switched back to the starting line-up for the second half and Alex Park upped the pressure for an equaliser. In fairness, they had a much brighter start; Lewis made some good stops and all the lads kept running, tackling & covering to keep Park at bay. We managed some good moves of our own and fizzed a couple of shots at their goal. However, just as we were about to make some changes, they scored and Lewis picked-up a nasty knock on his knee that meant Gibbo went in goal, Kyle came on at right-back and the inevitable happened minutes later when Park smuggled home a second goal.  Lewis showed real courage by going back on and made a couple of great stops to keep the score respectable and in no way flattering to Rooks; we deserved at least a point from this match.

This was our best performance to date and showed the team just how far they’ve come in a very short space of time; it’s just six league games since Alex Park played us off the pitch at home. All the players were at their best and worked as a team regardless of who was on the pitch. 

On the downside, there were some unwelcome comments from the big Alex Park number 4 who “suggested” that our team & players were not as good as him (in slightly more colourful language); this was probably sour grapes on his behalf because we made him look very ordinary in this game and he was unable to control the match as he did in our home fixture. This was the only disappointing incident; Alex Park management & supporters were generous in their support & praise for the Rooks and we have the utmost respect for them.

This week’s Man of the Match was too close to call; everyone deserved it but it’s a joint award to Cash for a superb game as skipper & Lewis for some wonderful ‘keeping plus displaying the “right stuff” to go back in goal after his nasty injury.

 

 

Rooks 5 Whetstone Lions 1

Watford Cricket Club, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 19th December 2004 kick-off 10:45AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Every single one of them!

 

The last game of 2004 saw us at home; Archie’s birthday, Lewis having a break from ‘keeping for the match and Christmas next weekend filled us with hope – and it was repaid handsomely!

 

We lined up with JR in goal, Gibbo & Kyran at the back, Daniel & Cash in the midfield with Lewis & Archie (skipper for his birthday) up front.  Cole & Kyle started as the substitutes.

 

The early football was great to watch from both sides; played as it should be with skill, speed, fair tackling and in a sporting spirit.  Rooks put some great moves together, Lions counter-attacked well and it was a little against the run of play when Lions opened the scoring with a well-taken goal at the end of a team effort.  In previous games, the Rooks have dropped their heads a little when going behind but this week, it was completely the opposite; they raised their game and took-on the opposition.  We were first to the ball, didn’t duck a challenge, covered for each other and passed the ball; as ref, I was so happy as the lads remembered everything they’d been taught & clicked for the first time this season.  We’d been threatening to give someone a hiding and today, Lions were unfortunate to be on the end of it!  Wave after wave of Rook’s attacks were started by stout defending or a midfield tackle that we then turned into a chance. Archie levelled the scoring with a fine finish following some great passing before Lewis smashed home our second to put us 2 -1 in front.  The game was that good, I didn’t want to blow the whistle for half-time!

 

Cash took over the keepers’ jersey, JR moved to right back and Gibbo pushed into midfield for the second half but our rhythm was not disrupted. Lions pushed hard to get back into the game but the same defensive steel form Rooks kept them at bay and allowed us to build from the back. Cole & Kyle both came on to replace Kyran & Gibbo just after Archie made it 3 -1 with around 30 minutes played and Archie followed with two more fine finishes to make the final score 5 -1 to Rooks (and four on his birthday).

 

This was a tremendous team effort and showed the boys what they are capable of when they believe in themselves. It’s unfair to pick-out individuals for praise so I’ll mention all the lads!  JR had a good half in goal & wouldn’t let anyone (except the odd earthworm!) get by him in the second; Gibbo & Kyran were outstanding at the back; Daniel bossed the midfield for the whole match; Cash played his best 20 minutes of football in the first half & was superb in goal during the second; Cole & Kyle picked-up the tempo immediately they came on; Lewis had an absolute stormer up front & scored a great goal while Archie was here, there & everywhere - as well as scoring goals.

 

All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and what a privilege it is to be involved with a super bunch of lads on the pitch and the best set of mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc on the sidelines I’ve met. Your Christmas gifts are greatly appreciated; I’m really looking forward to next Saturday when I can open them!

 

A huge “Thank You” goes to Karen & Thomas for putting-up with cold, muddy weekends at training & matches with the last word for Jack; it’s not easy to be the boss’s lad! Sometimes I’m a bit too critical of you & you become an easy option to change or play as ‘keeper but you’ve never complained once. It’s great to see the hard work & improvement you and all your team-mates have made in the passed 3 months starting to pay-off.

 

 

St Albans Ranger 5 Rooks 2

Harperbury Hospital, Harper Lane, Radlett. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 12th December 2004 kick-off 10:00AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Jack Richards

 

An early start and it was much colder than last weekend, so we should have guessed it wouldn’t go to plan against the same team we played in qualifying and fought back from 0 -2 down to “win” a draw.  At least our new jackets looked good yesterday!

 

We lined up with Lewis in goal; Kyran & Kyle at the back; Cash (Jack Moneypenny) & JR (Jack Richards) as captain in midfield and Daniel & Archie up front to see if they could wreak some havoc, get some shots in & score a few goals! Gibbo (Jack Gibbons) & Cole started as subs.

 

From the kick-off, both sets of players went for it; there was some flowing football from both sides with St Albans having a slight edge – the Rooks were a little guilty of not picking-up players quickly enough when defending – and they scored the first goal of the game from a great move. Daniel & Archie proved to be direct and mobile up front; both had chances to equalise before a Brazilian-style move down our right was smashed home by Daniel for 1 – 1.

 

Both sides were working hard and trying to play a passing game; St Albans scored a superb goal for 1 – 2 (we let them go too far before a challenge went in) and they finished the first-half scoring with a goal from an impossible angle. Between all this, Lewis’s aerial bombardment of their area with his excellent kicks could have lead to a couple of goals but our finishing wasn’t quite as sharp as it is in training.  All the lads did well but always seemed to be half-a-yard out of position; enough to give the opposition time to settle, pick a pass and cause problems. Get to ‘em quicker, lads!!

 

We swapped Cole for Kyle and Gibbo for Cash at half-time; Gibbo went forward with Daniel moving into the middle to add some steel and try a few long shots. Soon after kick-off, another good Rooks move ended with Archie scoring well for 2 – 3 but this stung St Albans into action and they restored a two-goal advantage with another good finish. St Albans defended further up the pitch than ourselves but we did create a few chances to get back in before a killer (though disputed) goal from a St Albans corner made it 2 – 5. Rooks still tried to play but the final pass was never quite in the right places to at the right time to make a clear chance. Both ‘keepers were forced into a number of good saves and the guys at the back did their best to repel the forwards. 

 

In summary, two well-matched teams played a great game but St Albans just had the edge and Rooks again didn’t get the run of the ball or that little bit of luck in from of goal. We need to believe in ourselves, get to the ball first, defend quicker and talk to each other. After that, everything else is easy – honest!

 

Lewis was not at fault for any of the goals and made some great stops; Kyran, Cole & Kyle did well at the back when called on; JR, Cash & Daniel gave their all in midfield whilst Archie, Daniel (when up front) and Gibbo worked hard to make things happen in the opponent’s penalty box.

 

This weeks MotM is Jack Richards; he did well in defence, looked good going forward and was involved in both goals.

 

 

 

Berkhamsted Raiders 0 Rooks 0

Berkhamsted Sports & Social club, Castle Hill, Berkhamsted. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 5th December 2004 kick-off 12:30AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Kyle Reynolds

 

On a not-too-bad day (i.e. it wasn’t freezing, wet or too much like winter!) we journeyed to Berkhamsted to play what we knew would be a tough match; the pitch was in good condition, the game was set & we were ready!

 

We lined up with Lewis in goal, Cole & Kyle at the back, Daniel & JR (Jack Richards) in the midfield with Cash (Jack Moneypenny) as captain for the day & Archie up front.  Gibbo (Jack Gibbons) & Kyran started on the touchline.

 

From the kick-off, it was clear these really were two well-matched teams even if half the Raiders team are under 8’s; they played some super football and a young lady called Molly was (in my humble opinion!) the best player on the pitch from either team.

 

The first half was exciting with good play from both teams; there were a few scares in each goalmouth, both ‘keepers made some good stops, both sides defended stoutly and broke with pace. Fans of both sides were kept entertained and the only thing missing at half-time was a goal for either side as they both deserved to have nicked a 1 – 0 half-time lead.  Kyle had his best 20 minutes of football for the Rooks and played his part in keeping out the Raiders whilst the other lads tried to remember the basics skills but got a little too caught-up in the excitement to play the flowing football they are putting together in training every Saturday.

 

We swapped Kyran for Kyle and Gibbo for Archie at half-time to try a different shape but, although the game still flowed, Rooks didn’t really control the ball or pass as well as they can to cause serious problems for Raiders.  Both teams relied on ‘keeper & defenders to keep the score at 0 – 0; Daniel had possibly the best chance to win the game for either side but couldn’t quite control his volley from JR’s excellent corner.

 

Along with the match against Harvesters, this rates as one of our best team performances of the season so far; everyone did their best to play as a team. Both sides could have won today’s fixture but didn’t quite have the run of the ball, that little bit of outstanding skill or just plain, old-fashioned luck teams need to score

 

Highlights were Lewis’ goal-keeping – exemplary & confident. Cole had a good game, Daniel & JR worked well together in midfield, Archie ran his socks off again, Gibbo tried his best, Kyran was his dependable self at the back and Capn Cash lifted the side when he could. This week’s MotM goes to Kyle; he did his best, listened to advice from the touchline, didn’t give up and his skills are improving week-by-week along with his confidence. Well done, mate!

 

 

Evergreen Juniors 2 Rooks 0

South Way, Abbotts Langley. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 28th November 2004 kick-off 11:30AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Lewis Cowper

 

The short journey to Evergreen on a cold Sunday morning offered the chance for us to overturn last week’s result. We started with Lewis in goal (all the lads want to say a huge Thank You to Lewis for agreeing to take-on more of the ‘keeping duties), Kyran (skipper for the match) & Jack Moneypenny in defence, Jack Gibbons, Daniel & Jack Richards in midfield and Archie as the lone striker.  Kyle & Cole started as substitutes.

 

The game kicked-off a few minutes late due to the previous match starting late which may have taken its toll on the Rooks; they all seemed a touch out-of-sorts as their control & passing were not to their usual standards once underway. The pitch played a part in this but the lads need to adapt to conditions and show more self-confidence.

 

To be fair, Evergreen had the better of the first half and were able to play some good football whilst the Rooks were not able to move the ball smoothly and seemed to be second to the ball too often.  When tackling was necessary, the Rooks more than held their own with Daniel driving the team on from midfield, Kyran & Jack keeping things tidy at the back and the other lads trying their best to get themselves in the match.  A flowing move from the home side saw them score a very good goal and the Rooks were not able to create a clear-cut scoring opportunity to equalise and made do with a couple of half-chances.

 

The half-time break saw Cole replace Jack Moneypenny at the back as the only change but the Rooks couldn’t get into their rhythm and were restricted to long passes rather than the short, quick passing game to which they are best-suited. Lewis made some very good stops in the second half to keep the score down and all the best chances were, unfortunately, around our goalmouth. All the Rooks tried to keep playing and we made a couple of good breaks but never seemed to believe we could win the match; even at 0 -2 down we should keep our heads & spirits up as we always have a chance to score goals with the team we have.

 

To conclude, it was a slightly disappointing display as we are more than a match for every side we face if we believe in ourselves. The lads have to remember the basics they are now doing so well in training – control, passing, teamwork & communication – during matches; if we do, then we will start scoring more goals and winning games.

 

This week’s MotM goes to Lewis; he made some good stops, commanded his area when needed and his kicking was spot-on all game.  The other lads can be proud of themselves for working hard & putting in the effort; they are a credit to their families & the club as they always give 100%.

 

 

Rooks 4 Evergreen Juniors 5

Watford Cricket Club, Woodside Stadium, Horseshoe Lane. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 21st November 2004 kick-off 10:45PM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Daniel Greig

 

All the Rooks assembled for Sunday morning’s fixture after a very successful match-day package at Watford FC on Saturday; Matt Clarke’s coaching was superb & the boys enjoyed the whole day.  It was just a shame the match against Rotherham wasn’t as exciting as our 0-0 draw against Harvesters last week!

 

We started with Jack Gibbons in goal, Kyle & Kyran in defence, Jack Richards (captaining the side), Daniel & Jack Moneypenny as a midfield triangle and Lewis up front on his own. Archie & Cole started as substitutes.

 

Jack Richards won the toss so Rooks kicked-off. The game started competitively with both sides ken to move the ball and get in back when possession was lost; this lead to a few strong challenges from both sides & some quiet warnings from the referee to the players’ concerned. There was good football from both sides in all areas of the pitch and credit to the player’s of both sides that they played to the refs’ decisions – even when one or two adults on the sidelines thought the decisions less than correct. A good move by Nascot Wood through the middle of the pitch saw Daniel in the right place to finish well for a 1 – 0 lead but some equally good play by Evergreen saw them equalise before half-time. Good goal-keeping and defending on both sides kept the score at 1-1 until half-time despite all the forward play on view.

 

Jack G volunteered to stay in goal for the second half so Jack R gave the captain’s armband to Daniel when Cole took his place and Archie replaced Lewis up front for the second half. The second half was played in the same tough but fair spirit as the first had been with both teams trying to win the game from Evergreen’s kick-off. Not long after the restart, Cole smuggled home a lose ball from Daniel’s corner but Rooks second lead didn’t last long either. It wasn’t long before 2 – 2 became 2 – 3 then 2 – 4 to the visitors. Archie latched on to a through ball and his cool finish made it 3 – 4 before a stunning pass from Daniel allowed Archie to score the goal of the game from way outside the box to make it 4 – 4 with around 5 minutes left.  Both sides tried to win the gamer; sadly for the Rooks, a partially-cleared Evergreen corner was hammered back towards our goal where a touch off someone’s head took the ball out of Jack G’s reach for the winner.

 

Overall, a fair result as Evergreen just shaded things in terms of quality of pass & general play but the Rooks were in the game at every stage, were never over-run and stuck at it even when two goals behind. A spirited team performance – well done to all of you.

 

With good performances from most of the team, Daniel stood-out slightly more then his team-mates; again, he never gives-up, keeps chasing, tackling & looking for a forward pass where possible so he is this week’s Man of the Match.

 

 

Harvesters South 0 Rooks 0

Harvesters FC, Oaklands Lane, Smallford. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 14th November 2004 kick-off 2:30PM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: All of ‘em!

 

Ee-i-ad-i-o – we’ve got a point!!

 

Missing Archie to a long-standing family commitment, we made the journey to Harvester’s hoping our luck would change. As it happens, someone made a VERY long journey to Harvesters - via Tottenham, apparently!  Would all the team please remember to make sure each of you collect all the info handed-out at training & let their parents & carers have a read!

 

We went into the match against a Harvesters team who have two wins out of two; having played Alex Park last week, this was going to be another tough test for the lads so we lined-up with Jack Richards in goal, Kyle & Kyran in defence, Daniel, Jack Moneypenny & Cole (skipper for the first half) in midfield and Lewis up front on his own.  Jack Gibbons started as substitute.

 

Rooks kicked-off and it was “up and at ‘em” from the start by both teams! Everyone worked really hard for each other and it was great to see the enthusiasm & smiles on both teams’ faces as the game moved from end to end.  Both teams treated all the supporters to a hard-fought, well-spirited football match; each side tried to play football with plenty of movement & effort. There were a few narrow escapes around the Rooks goal but Jack Richards dealt with anything that came near him as though he was the next Tony Coton; I’m a Hornet & TC was the best keeper I ever saw in a Watford shirt!  As for Kyle, Kyran, Daniel, Jack M, Cole & Lewis – they were magnificent; chasing everything, encouraging each other and managing to play some good football along the way too!  Special mention to Lewis; he ran himself to a standstill by the end of the half.  Honours at half time were even and Rooks had even managed a couple of good efforts on the Harvesters goal.

 

Cole took the jersey from Jack R in goal for the second half, Kyle took the captain’s armband and Jack G replaced Lewis up front. The second half was every bit as competitive as the first had been and both teams continued to play good football in the proper spirit.  Jack M, Jack R & Jack G all went close to winning the game and they, along with all the lads, put in a huge defensive effort when necessary to keep Harvesters at bay.

 

At the finish, 0 – 0 was a very fair result as neither team had deserved to lose, both created chances to win and all the players had smiles on their faces at the end – it was great to see. Special mention to Dean & his Harvesters team for being great hosts and one of the most sporting teams we’ve played; hopefully, the return match will be as good as this one!

 

It was way to difficult to pick just one Man of the Match; Jack R & Cole both did really well in goal and ran themselves into the ground on the pitch; Kyle & Kyran didn’t let anyone get passed them without having to be very skilful & even then they chased back! Daniel was superb in the middle of the pitch; here, there & everywhere whilst being a good foil for the solid, dependable Jack M. Lewis made a supreme effort in the first half in attack & defence whilst Jack G was attacking one minute & defending the next throughout the second half. I was very proud of all of you; you showed you can play well against a good team. As long as you relax, enjoy your football and have the confidence to play as a team, goals & even better results will come.  

 

Rooks 1 Alexandra Park North 8

Watford Cricket Club, Woodside Playing Fields, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 7th November 2004 kick-off 10:45AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Lewis Cowper

 

A full strength squad assembled for a home match on the first real “winter weather” Sunday. Alexandra Park North (APN) finished runners-up in division 2 last season and are the divisional leaders after last week’s fixture so the Rooks were in for a tough match. Archie started in goal with Kyran & Cole in defence and a different feel to the midfield; Jack Richards, Daniel & Jack Gibbons started up’n’down the pitch as opposed to across it whilst Lewis was the lone striker & captain for the day. Jack Moneypenny & Kyle started as subs.  

 

Lewis won the toss and Rooks decided to change ends giving APN the kick-off; from which it was obvious this was going to be no picnic as APN were immediately into their stride & attacking with pace, movement and flair. The Rooks tried their best but lacked confidence in their own ability to play good football; there wasn’t a great deal to cheer for the Rooks apart from dogged defending & occasional flashes of skill and so half-time saw us 0 – 4 down.

 

Changes in the second half saw Daniel take over the keeper’s jersey in a straight swap with Archie, Jack R dropped into the defence alongside Kyran and Jack M replaced Jack G in midfield. Rooks kicked-off but were again on the back foot; a string of 9 corners to APN right from the start of the half underlined our inability to clear the ball. Pretty soon APN had reached an 8 goal lead. After 10 minutes Jack G replaced Kyran & pushed into the middle with Kyle dropping back to defend. Suddenly, Rooks found some self-belief! Jack R ran the ball out of defence, slipped a pass to Lewis on half-way who in turn found Jack G deep in APN’s half; he ran on, sent the keeper the wrong way and finished with his standing (sorry left!) foot. APN continued to attack & Rooks matched them for endeavour but were unable to win 9 – 8 and complete a dramatic comeback!

 

Again, both sets of players played the game in the proper spirit with all supporters applauding both teams’ good play. The only downside was our dodgy ref; sorry about the fourth goal, the corner was probably out but the refs’ decision is final - even when wrong!

 

Man of the Match goes to Lewis Cowper; he stuck to his job and kept going for the forty minutes.  None of the Rooks played badly; we lost to a very good side able to play football & back this up with excellent teamwork. This Rooks need to have the confidence to play as a team; move the ball, talk to each other constantly & show plain, old-fashioned hard work; the lads . There have been signs of improvement recently; when we do manage to put two good halves of football together in one match, the opposition better watch out!!!

 

 

 

London Colney 4 Rooks 2

Shenley Lane, London Colney. Watford Friendly League U9 Purple Division, Sunday 31st October 2004 kick-off 11:30AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Cole Runnalls

 

With Kyle through on holiday this weekend, we lined-up with Lewis in goal, Kyran & Jack Richards in defence; Daniel & Archie in the midfield “engine room” with Jack Gibbons (skipper for the day) & Jack Moneypenny as the strikers and Cole as the lone substitute. On a heavy, sticky pitch against a team with a similar qualifying record, this was to be a good test of our determination, stamina & overall “letswinthematchability”. Apologies to Lol Wright for plagiarism!

 

Rooks kicked-off & began well; with Archie able to use the channels & attack from midfield, we carried a greater forward threat than in recent matches. Good play by both teams saw the match swing one way then the other before London Colney scored a superb goal with a cracking finish. What was pleasing was the way all the Rooks worked hard after this setback and began to play some great football with fast, incisive breaks down both wings as well as through the middle.

 

With around 10 minutes of the first half left, another fine Rooks’ move lead to a scramble in the London Colney goalmouth before Jack Moneypenny spanked the ball home for 1 – 1. The Rooks really had the taste for the game now and several more moves lead to the final ball being just short of where in needed before Archie turned one of these team moves into a second goal with a cool finish.  Other first half highlights included a tremendous saving tackle on the edge of his goal area by Daniel, intelligent defending by Kyran & Jack Richards and superb team work by everyone.

 

Half-time changes saw Lewis swap the keepers jersey with Jack Moneypenny and Cole replaced the excellent Kyran. Rooks kicked-off but didn’t seem to have the same movement or ‘edge’ as we did in the first half and London Colney began to take advantage by finding space that wasn’t there earlier. Wave after wave of their attacks had to lead to their second goal; Jack Moneypenny and all the lads did amazingly well to keep the score down whilst trying to play good, passing football when they had the chance to get forward. We created some chances but none as clear as the first half but, although the final score was 4-2 to London Colney, it’s fair to say Rooks were not outclassed and perhaps deserved something from the match.

 

Credit to both sets of players for playing the game in the proper spirit and both sets of supporters applauded both sets of players during the game.

 

The Man of the Match award goes to Cole Runnalls; he may have only played the second half but he stuck to his job, played his heart out and kept going in tough conditions. The other boys all had good halves of football but no-one really managed to keep going over the whole game.

 

Whilst they played well, the lads must realise each game lasts forty minutes; sticking to their jobs on the pitch and believing in themselves as a team will go a long way to helping them make this happen. There were a couple of occasions when we tried to play too much football; keeping it simple and shooting on sight are sometimes better options than one more pass. Having said that, I prefer to see us play the football we are capable of rather than chase round in a big group following the ball!

 

Oakhill Tigers Green 1 Rooks 0

Tigers v Rooks, Walker Cricket Ground, Waterfall Road, London, N14 7JZ, Watford Friendly League Challenge Cup round 2, Sunday 24th October 2004 kick-off 12:00PM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Kyran Leech

 

With Cole & Lewis unavailable to family commitments and Kyle through a throat infection (get well soon, mate, from all the Rooks) we lined-up with Jack Gibbons in goal; Jack Richards & Kyran at the back; Daniel & Jack Moneypenny in midfield with Archie up front and captain for the match. Yes; we only had six fit players and so a cup tie against a full team also in their first season together was going to be tough; especially with the long journey to Southgate but the pitch was in excellent condition and the Tigers were superb hosts.

 

Rooks kicked-off & it looked evenly matched for a while before the extra man allowed Tigers to control the game. All the Rooks worked hard for each other and were a little unlucky to concede a goal half-way into the first half.  Fortunately, Jack Gibbons made some good stops, everyone defended bravely, chased back well, broke with pace and worked hard but the final pass was never quite where it needed to be. Having said all that, we created a few chances and, with a little more luck, may have equalised late on and so I felt we were always in with a chance playing uphill in the second period if we could stop Tigers scoring again.

 

Jack Gibbons and Kyran swapped the ‘keepers jersey and we were off! The match took pretty much the same pattern; Tigers pressed hard, played well and their extra man began to make a difference but the Rooks kept battling away, managing to create several chances along the way.

 

Again, luck was not on our side today in front of goal but the defensive display was outstanding; Kyran had an outstanding first half and did well in goal, Archie worked really hard everywhere on the pitch, Daniel kept running, chasing & pressing (and made the tackle of the day on the edge of our box), Jack Moneypenny refused to be beaten whilst Jack Richards & Jack Gibbons both found-out how hard the ball was with two amazing headers as well as facing two or three Tigers in every attack.

 

Huge credit to both sets of players for playing the game in the proper spirit and both sets of supporters cheered all the good play on view. Good luck to Tigers in the next round!

 

As I had a rest from reffing today, it’s back to my decision on “Rook of the Match”. Today was probably the most difficult to award because all of the boys worked so hard for each other and the team.  In the end, the decision went to Kyran Leech; he had an outstanding first half where he covered pretty much every blade of grass and then he took up the ‘keepers jersey & kept Tigers from scoring a second, killer goal.  Well done again to all six of you; I was ever so proud of you all.

 

Next match: divisional qualifiers finished last week and the League have promised to send fixtures by post ASAP this week. At this moment, we don’t have a game so there will be no training next Saturday unless that changes.

 

The Last Word (I had to get one in sometime!!). If you are interested in going to the Watford v Rotherham match on Saturday 20th November, please let me know before this Tuesday evening.  Tickets: £5 per adult, £1 per junior; plan is to get all the boys along for a match day package on the same day and it would be great to see as many mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc as possible at the Vic! Package venue is Westfield Community College from 11:15AM and costs £12.50 each player (includes ticket, food voucher, programme & the coaching).  Let’s get the boys to wear their NWRFC shirts to the match & make it a real Rooks day out.

 

NWR Rooks 0 Gadeside Hornets 2

Rooks v Hornets, Watford Friendly League qualifying group B, Watford Cricket Club, Woodside playing fields, Horseshoe Lane, Garston, Sunday 17th October 2004 kick-off 10:45AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Daniel Greig

 

With Jack Moneypenny unavailable through a leg injury (get well soon from all the Rooks, mate), we lined-up with Cole in goal; Kyle & Jack Richards at the back; Kyran, Daniel (captain for the match) & Jack Gibbons in midfield with Archie up front and Lewis starting as sub. With ex-NWRFC Tom Simmons playing for the Hornets, this was going to be extra special!

 

Rooks kicked-off & both sides showed good form; it looked evenly matched with some exciting moves leading to chances at both ends.  The game settled down with Hornets having the better possession & they capitalised by creating Tom a chance to net against old friends but he just missed the target.

 

Cole made some good stops in the Rooks goal whilst his team-mates pressed hard & worked well together but didn’t seem able to create a clear chance for themselves. Hornets turned-up the pressure and fired themselves into a 1-0 lead which they doubled with 5 minutes left.  At this point, the ref’s watched seemed to slow down (sorry; I was more tired than the boys!) and ended-up playing 5 minutes of stoppage time before blowing for the end of a good half of football.

 

Cole & Kyle swapped; Lewis replaced Kyran and started up front with Archie.  Hornets kicked-off and seemed intent on keeping up their good work.  The Rooks made some good breaks and interchanged passes much better whilst moving forward. Archie went close following a good move & Lewis belted one across the face of goal but no-one got the touch required to force it home. The game became two-way traffic with both sides playing well on the break; defence seemed to be forgotten at times by the Rooks as they all poured forward hoping to improve on last week’s two-goal comeback by scoring three.

 

Unfortunately, Hornets were too well organised which lead to a few scares in front of our goal; Kyle made some good stops and some last-ditch defending somehow prevented Hornets scoring again.

 

Credit to both sides for playing the game in the proper spirit and both sets of supporters cheered all the good play on view.  Indeed, the Rooks contingent even remembered to stand a little further behind the touchline this week – thanks, guys! Thanks again to Paul & John for managing the team this week.

 

Watching whilst reffing is not easy (then again, neither is being the ref!) so after talking things over with Paul & John, it was clear all the Rooks played well and are starting to show some of the teamwork skills we’ve been practising in training – talking to each other, passing, encouraging, etc. Cole & Kyle both did well in goal & on the pitch, Jack Richards had a good game at the back, Kyran, Jack Gibbons, Lewis, Archie all did their best but congratulations to Daniel for being today’s “Rook of the Match”; he chased everything, kept encouraging & worked hard for the team whilst leading by example as captain for the day.

 

 

NWR Rooks 2 St Albans Rangers 2

Rooks v St Albans, Watford Friendly League qualifying group B, Watford Cricket Club, Woodside playing fields, Horseshoe Lane, Garston, Sunday 10th October 2004 kick-off 10:45AM. 

Rooks Man of the Match: Jack Moneypenny

 

After last Sunday’s early start, a more leisurely trip to our home ground at Watford Cricket club, the chance to try out our new goals & shout at our diabolical ref (me) – again!  All the Rooks were available so we lined-up for the kick-off with Archie Ring taking his turn as “custodian”, Jack Richards & Kyle in defence; a midfield of Daniel & Kyran (starting as skipper) and Jack Moneypenny & Lewis as our striker force. Cole & Jack Gibbons started as subs.

 

St Albans won the toss & decided to let Rooks kick-off & it was all systems go.  There wasn’t much to choose between the two sets of players but most of the pressure was on the Rooks goal; Archie did well on several occasions but it was no surprise when St Albans took the lead. The Rooks let heir heads drop & found it difficult to get going again; we didn’t create too many clear-cut chances but Kyle hit a cracker just passed the post following a corner.  Sadly for Rooks, St Albans struck a good second goal and it looked awkward for the Rooks to get anything out of the game in the second half.

 

Jack Moneypenny took his turn in goal for the second half, Archie replaced Lewis up front and Cole swapped with Kyle. Rooks started well & looked better balanced but St Albans moved the ball well whilst continuing their excellent attacking play with Jack Moneypenny making several good stops to keep the score at 2-0.

 

Archie had a fantastic free kick from distance well saved by the St Albans ‘keeper and this seemed to give Rooks the heart they needed to take the game to St Albans. Archie broke along the wing, moved the ball inside for Daniel and ran on to a great return pass to finish coolly for 1-2. Rooks improved again and it was two-way, end-to-end football with both sides making chances but finding both defences & ‘keepers in great form. With 5 minutes left, a Rooks corner lead to a real scramble; Archie crashed a shot against the post and Jack Gibbons thrashed home the loose ball with his left foot. 

 

The final minutes were frantic as both sides searched for the winner but 2-2 was a fair result for the sporting way both teams played the match and the encouragement given by both sets of supporters; we hope everyone watching enjoyed the game.

 

A big thanks you to everyone who helped with the goals, corner flags, etc and a special note to Paul & John for managing the team today whilst I strolled around the pitch as referee; thanks, guys!

 

Archie did well in goal & was superb on the pitch whilst Cole, Daniel, Jack Gibbons, Jack Richards, Kyle, Kyran & Lewis all played well and worked hard for each other & the team. Kyran especially did well as captain and kept the team going through his hard-work. It was a very tough decision but today’s man of the match goes to Jack Moneypenny for a super display in goal in the second half along with his effort to take the game to St Albans in the first.

 

 

 

 

Echoes 4 NWR 0

Echoes v Rooks, Watford Friendly League qualifying group B, Cupid Green playing fields, Hemel Hempstead, Sunday 3rd October 2004

Rooks Man of the Match: Jack Gibbons

 

10:00AM kick-off? In Hemel? Against a very, very good side? This one was always going to be tough! 

 

All the Rooks were available for this match so we lined-up for the kick-off with jack Richards taking his turn “between the sticks”, Jack Gibbons & Kyle in defence; a midfield trio of Daniel, Archie (starting as skipper) and Jack Moneypenny and Lewis as the lone striker with Cole & Kyran starting as subs.

 

Echoes were immediately on the attack & set the pattern for the rest of the match. The Rooks kept them at bay through hard work, teamwork & good ‘keeping from Jack Richards but it was always going to be a tough half however hard we tried and we turned-round 3-0 down. 

 

Lewis & Jack Richards swapped the ‘keepers jersey for the second half & we kicked-off determined to continue our hard work and to score as many as we could.  Sadly, we didn’t manage to score but we did restrict Echoes to just one more for a final score of 4-0 through good defending and some great stops by Lewis.

 

Jack Richards & Lewis played well in goal & on the pitch whilst Archie, Cole, Daniel, Jack Moneypenny, Kyle & Kyran worked really hard for each other & the team. Today’s man of the match award goes to Jack Gibbons for never giving up, encouraging his team-mates and tackling anything that came towards him.

 

 

26/9/04 Evergreen Youth 3 NWR 1

Evergreen v Rooks, Watford Friendly League qualifying group B, South Way, Abbots Langley, Sunday 26th Sept 2004Rooks Man of the Match: Archie Ring

 

The Rooks made the short journey to play Evergreen Youth in a 10:45AM kick-off; this was going to be a tough test as Evergreen are a strong side that has been together for a number of seasons.

 

Without Kyle Reynolds, the Rooks knew they’d need to work hard and lined-up with Daniel Greig in goal, a defence of Jack Richards (playing as skipper) & Jack Gibbons, Kyran Leech & Jack Moneypenny in the “engine room” and Archie Ring & Cole Runnalls up front with Lewis Cowper starting on the bench.

 

Rooks kicked-off and the crowd encouraged both sides to play some very accomplished football. The early pressure from Evergreen meant some hairy moments in our goalmouth with Daniel forced to make some great stops before Evergreen turned their pressure into a 1-0 lead.  More good football followed from both sides before Rooks, gaining in confidence, began to play their brand of attacking football. Cole was forced to leave the field just after 10 minutes so Lewis Cowper replaced him and was n the thick of things immediately as Archie began to play with style to create chances for his team0mate through his direct running & silky skills.  With more luck, Rooks may well have gone in at half-time two or three goals up instead of 1-0 down.

 

Kyran replaced Daniel between the sticks for the second half and performed well. Rooks pressed hard for an equaliser but were hit on the break by some good passing and were suddenly 2-0 down. Both sides began to tire so rolling substitutions kept the tempo as high as the overall standard of football.

 

Archie received the ball on the left following good teamwork, turned inside and hit a scorcher into the top corner for 2-1. The rooks were visibly lifted and pressed hard for a second equaliser but “Lady Luck” was not with us today; Evergreen completed the scoring mid-way through the half with a well-worked move & finish.

 

The final score doesn’t reflect the hard-work put in by the Rooks who didn’t stop trying and caused more their fair share of problems whilst creating as many chances as Evergreen.

 

A big “thank you” once again to all the mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc who watched a great game of football played in the right spirit.

 

Jack Richards was solid in defence, Daniel & Kyran were inspired both in goal & midfield whilst Jack Gibbons, Jack Moneypenny, Lewis & Cole worked their socks off for each other but today’s man of the match award goes to Archie Ring for his never-say-die running, team-work and superb finish.

 

 

 

12/9/04 NWR 7 Borehamwood Hearts 0

Rooks v Hearts, Watford Friendly League qualifying group B, Woodside playing fields Watford, Sunday 19th Sept 2004

Man of the Match: Jack Richards

 

The Rooks first competitive match saw them continue the excellent progress shown against echoes last week. Once again, a big crowd lifted both sides to produce a great match that was far closer then the final score suggests. 

 

Without Daniel Greig and Lewis Cowper for the fixture, the Rooks knew they would have to keep working hard for each other without any substitutes available so Rooks started with a three-man defence of Jack Richards, Kyle Reynolds & Cole Runnalls in front of Jack Gibbons in goal while the midfield of Jack Moneypenny and Kyran Leech supported Archie Ring who started as our lone striker. 

 

Jack Richards, who wore the skipper’s arm-band magnificently, began driving his team-mates forward and they responded. The early section of the match was a two-way affair with both sides showing good skills on the ball and an ability to pass, move into space and break quickly. Rooks won a corner on the left, Jack Richards curled in a beauty and Jack Moneypenny headed home brilliantly for 1-0.  More good football followed from both sides before Jack Richards ran the length of the pitch, cut in from the left touchline and hit a scorching cross-shot that nestled in the far corner for 2-0.

 

An unlucky handball by Jack Richards just inside our penalty area lead to a Hearts penalty but Jack Gibbons made a fine save to a well-hit shot.  Shortly after, more good football from Kyran Leech & Jack Moneypenny set Archie free to score with a cool finish for 3-0. 

 

Overall, the first half was not as one-sided as the 3-0 score line suggests as Rooks had to defend and work hard for each other.  Cole & Kyle were inspired by the skipper to play well and helped keep Hearts at bay on many occasions and Jack Gibbons had to make some smart saves.

 

Second half saw Rooks make some positional changes with Kyle replacing Jack Gibbons in goal and Cole playing alongside Archie; we needed a few minutes to adjust to the new positions but were soon firing on all cylinders again. More great passing saw Jack Richards score his second of the game and Rooks forced Hearts to play on the break before Jack completed his hat-trick, Jack Moneypenny scored his second with a fine finish and Archie completed the scoring with a mazy run & superb finish.

 

The final score doesn’t reflect the hard-work put in by Hearts who didn’t stop trying and caused their fair share of problems with Kyle making some great stops and our defence had to be at their best for the whole game. 

 

A big “thank you” to all the mums, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc of both sides & were able to watch a great game of football played in the right spirit. Shame about the ref!

 

Rooks man of the match was a tough decision; Jack Richards inspirational leadership plus his hat-trick put him just ahead of Archie’s & Jack Moneypenny’s goal-scoring performances whilst Jack Gibbons, Kyle, Kyran & Cole were excellent.

 

12/9/04 Echoes 1 NWR 4

Rooks V Echoes, (friendly match) Cupid Green Playing Fields, Hemel Hempstead, Sunday 12th Sept 2004.  Man of the Match: All the Rooks!

 

The Rooks first match together saw them get off to a flying start (no pun intended!).  A huge travelling support for the journey to Hemel Hempstead made the game into an occasion for all the boys; it was a pleasure to be associated with Nascot Wood Rangers as everyone behaved impeccably and were a credit to our club.

 

Echoes were great hosts for the match and, as they had only played together once before, we were good opposition for each other to gauge both team's abilities.

The Rooks started & played the whole game in a positive manner and remembered everything they'd been practising in training; looking-up, passing, making space, talking to each other, etc.  The rolling substitutions gave a chance to try some of the boys in different positions and they accepted these really well (making it a nice experience for me in my first game as manager!)

 

The final score was 4 - 1  to the Rooks with our scorers being Archie Ring, Lewis Cowper, Daniel Greig & Jack Gibbons but it is important to note that Jack Richards, Jack Moneypenny, Kyran Leech, Cole Runnalls and Kyle Reynolds made huge contributions to all four goals without which this result would have been closer.

 

All in all, it was a great start and a good foundation for us to build on for the season. The most pleasing thing was the very sporting attitude of both teams; a credit to both clubs.
 

 
 
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