2005 2006 UNDER 10 Rooks

Training is 10:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday at Radlett Road.
Watford Friendly League U10 Purple division

For future fixtures, if you cannot make either training or the match, please let me know by Thursday evening at the latest.
Sunday 23rd April 2006 kick-off 10:30AMResult:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Omonia 1 Rooks 4 

Scores:            Tom Simmons – 6 mins

Archie Ring – 14 mins

                        Kyran Leech - 26 mins

                        Tom Simmons - 40 mins

Rooks Man of the Match: All of them!!
Enfield Playing Fields. WFL Spring Trophy Group A 


Our final 7-a-side match anywhere meant the long trek back to Enfield to face Omonia on St George’s Day for the 3rd time this season; having been denied a deserved win in the away League match and loosing by one goal at home when marginally the better side, this would be a tough game for the Rooks to finish on. Lewis was in goal, Daniel at centre-back, Tom, JR & Kyran across the middle with Archie & Kyle R up front and Gibbo (nursing a sore knee) was our lone sub. Cash was badly sunburnt (ouch!), Jake had a Tae Kwon Do competition (hope you did well) whilst Kyle L & Tobi were unavailable.


It seemed there was a little “banter” from Omonia before the game during the warm-ups about how well they would win so it was a bit of a downer to see them score in the first 30 seconds and start celebrating. Maybe this lead to their downfall as the Rooks started to win the ball, pass it around & look like a team of footballs not individuals. Tom levelled from a fine move on 6 mins then on 14 mins, Archie ran at their defence from half-way, cut in along the goal line & buried one from a tight angle for 2-1. Get in! Meanwhile, all the Rooks were keeping their cool, winning their tackles & making their passes whilst Omonia seemed to spend the time on a rather more physical approach before arguing with each other. Lewis made a couple of crucial stops, the rest of the lads kept the effort up and we went in at half-time 2-1 up.


Second half saw us start as we finished the first. Lewis again kept us in it with some fine stops, the defensive side of our game was based on fair challenges whilst resisting some interesting attempts from the opposition to keep or win the ball and our attacking was neat & decisive. On 26 mins, another good move saw the ball reach Kyran Leech who stroked one home from well outside the box for 3-1 Rooks. With our tails up, we kept going forward and taking the game to Omonia – but Lewis still had to make several fine saves to keep the score in our favour and he was backed up by all the lads as they made fair tackle after fair tackle to keep the lead. Gibbo replaced the excellent Kyle (who’d had several efforts go just wide of target) on 35 mins and it was no surprise when Tom headed his second of the game from Archie’s cross in the final minute.


Rooks deserve every credit for playing football & not allowing Omonia’s more physical game to affect them. By all means play with heart, soul & passion but keeping it controlled, within the rules & with good sportsmanship needs great character; Rooks have that in bucket loads!! Once again, this was a team performance to be proud of and so the MotM is another “everyone” job as it was impossible to single-out one person – they were all fantastic.


And we even recovered one of our lost match balls from earlier in the season; I knew the permanent marker & asking Thomas to write “NWRFC” on four panels was a fantastic idea!


So, that’s 7-a-side League & Cup football finished as we move to 11-a-side next season. I have immense pride in everyone who’s played in a purple shirt over the passed two seasons that I’ve been privileged to manage such a great team & to work with their families to provide football in a friendly, safe & hopefully enjoyable environment.


I’m sure this will continue in future; please ask anyone interested to come to training over the next few weeks so we can form a squad of 18 and give it a real go next season.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!


Sunday 2nd April 2006 kick-off 12:00PMResult:Scorers:Man Of The Match:

Rooks 3 Finchley Revolution Blue 1

3 - 1

Archie Ring – 13 mins

Jack Moneypenny – 20 mins

Jake Griffiths – 39 mins

All of them!!

Woodside, Garston. WFL Spring Trophy Group A 

Our third Spring Trophy (and final 7-a-side match at Woodside!) saw Lewis back in goal, Gibbo at centre-back, Daniel, Jake & Cash across the middle with Archie & Kyran up front and JR & Tom starting as subs. Kyle R, Kyle L & Tobi were all unavailable. Playing on the pitch outside the bowls club meant the slope & a breeze to battle as well as good opponents!


Rooks kicked-off down the slope and looked far livelier than in the previous three games; the passing was crisper & more accurate, the shooting accurate and the all-round team play much more cohesive. All in all, we looked like the confident Rooks of early March! Finchley were on the back foot for the early exchanges as the Rooks really “went for it”; the Finchley defence was working hard and they had a ‘keeper in superb form behind them. Rooks were playing some great stuff but it was a fine through ball from Gibbo on 13 minutes that lead to Archie crashing the ball home into the roof of the next from just outside the area. Lewis was called into action and Gibbo was intercepting well to keep Finchley out of our danger area as much as possible and the other lads were battering Finchley when we went forward but we just couldn’t get another passed the excellent ‘keeper. In the final minute of the first half, Cash stooped to head home Daniel’s dangerous corner for the 2-0 lead we deserved.


Gibbo & Archie started the second half as subs with Daniel now at centre-back, JR on the right of midfield with Jake still in the centre & Cash left and Tom was “up front” with Kyran. Now playing uphill into the wind meant we had to be on our toes; Finchley started really brightly & looked good value for a goal or two if we relaxed too much. However, despite several scares, Rooks were still playing well on the attack and so we switched Cash & Daniel to joint defenders to combat the Finchley front pair with Jake & JR manning our midfield. This seemed to create extra space in the middle and both Jake & JR ran the ball out of defence\midfield really well to create attacks. On 29 mins, Finchley got a deserved goal to liven things up further & they continued to press hard for an equaliser but good defence & ‘keeping from Lew stopped them and marauding attacks from Jake, JR, Tom & Kyran (and Archie when he replaced Kyran on 30 mins) showed we were able to deal with the conditions really well. On 39 mins, jake scored the goal his hard work deserved for a 3-1 final score.


Finchley stretched & pushed us all the way and deserve credit for a great game.


It was great to see the Rooks work hard for each other & play some fine football and they deserved the win. Once again, they made it impossible to pick a single MotM so they all get one for this match. Well done!


With no match scheduled until April 23rd when we play Omonia Sunday away at 11:00AM (our last ever competitive 7-a-side match!), there will be training on April 8th & April 22nd but I’m giving everyone a well-deserved rest for Easter! Enjoy the break but don’t eat too much chocolate (including mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, etc!) and have fun.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!


Sunday 26th March 2006 kick-off 12:00AM

Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:

Everett Rovers Black 1 Rooks 1

1 - 1 Kyran Leech – 19 Kyran Leech
Bill Everett Centre, Leggatts Way, Watford. WFL Spring Trophy 



Back to the Bill Everett Centre to play Rovers in the Spring Trophy; with Tobi & Kyle L not available and Archie & Kyle R unwell (get better soon, lads), we lined up for kick-off with Lewis in goal, Jake at centre-back, JR, Daniel & Tom across the middle, Kyran & Gibbo up front and Cash as the lone sub.


In a repeat of the League match, we kicked-off with a fair wind behind us. We started well and passed the ball better than recent weeks, stayed in shape & worked as a team. We looked in control of the half but couldn’t quite finish our chances; either the final pass wasn’t made quickly enough, was just off target or our efforts were charged down or saved by the Rovers ‘keeper. We defended better than and this meant we had more options in attack. After several close efforts by all the outfield players, Kyran gleefully smashed home a loose ball following another Rooks period of pressure in the 19th minute for a 1-0 half-time lead.


Second half saw Jake start as sub; Lewis stayed in goal, Daniel went to centre-back and the midfield consisted of Tom right, JR centre & Cash left with Gibbo & Kyran continuing up front. The second half was much tighter; we continued to create chances but our passing wasn’t quite up to the quality in training. We did have good chances; Tom went close, Gibbo hammered a loose ball on target to see it cannon over the bar from a great reaction save and we had several half chances that could have crept in. Rovers poached (in my opinion) a deserved equaliser on 31 minutes that lead to an exciting last 9 minutes; Jake replaced JR on 35 minutes but we couldn’t find the extra piece of skill, quality or luck needed to net a winner.


Nobody had a bad game for the Rooks and their were excellent performances all round but Kyran wins the MotM for showing tenacity in defence, good attacking instincts (typified by his goal) and a growing self-confidence in his ability & all-round game. For the remainder of the season, I will be looking hard at how the lads apply themselves both on & off the ball: the extra things I’m now looking for are those who encourage their team-mates, play the game in the right spirit by looking to win the game without resorting to the ‘wrong’ tactics, having the right attitude to accept whatever the game throws at them and by believing in their ability.


Several of the Rooks were played in different positions to see how they coped; I have decided to use the remaining two competitive games to see how the team fare in “emergencies”. I found it a useful exercise as it helps them appreciate their natural skills & abilities.


We have excellent footballers with good attitudes so I know we can make the transition to 11 a side a successful one. I’m now looking for the lads to take a more active role in training by concentrating, helping out team mates, controlling their tackling in small-sided matches, working on discipline and helping to clear-up by bringing-in equipment, taking down goals, collecting all our footballs, etc. They do need to take more responsibility for their own kit; I have quite a collection of “lost property” so please look in the kit bag if you’re missing something.


Sunday 2nd April will see us at home to Finchley Revolution Blue with a 12:00PM kick-off. Please be at Woodside no later than 11:30AM as we have nets to put up again; we’ll be aiming to use the same pitch nearest the astro-turf area.  We will train on Saturday 8th April but the Easter weekend (15th & 16th April) will be football-free for the Rooks.


The final game of the season will be away to Omonia White on Sunday 23rd April with an 11:00AM kick-off; meeting time & travel details will be available after training on Saturday 22nd April.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!


Sunday 19th March 2006 kick-off 11:45PMResult:Scorers:Man Of The Match:

Rooks 1 Bedmond 6

1 - 6 

Jack Gibbons, Lewis Cowper,

Kyle Reynolds & Kyran Leech

Woodside, Garston. WFL Spring Trophy group A 

The first Spring Trophy match saw us at home for what looked like our toughest game in the group against a talented Bedmond side. With Cash poorly (get better soon, mate), Kyle L at Alton Towers & Tobi unavailable; we lined-up to kick-off with Lewis in goal, Gibbo at centre-back, Jake, Daniel & JR across the midfield and Archie & Tom up front.  Kyran & Kyle R started as subs for the second match running – well done for “taking it on the chin”, you two.


On a much smaller pitch than we’d like, we kicked-off, got the ball forward without any luck and then went 0-1 down to a fine first minute Bedmond counter-attack and this set the pattern for the entire half; we tried so very hard to play football but Bedmond were first to everything and it looked like we would struggle to contain them. We held out through some great defence, notably from Lewis & Gibbo, until conceding an unstoppable second on 15 mins. Wed id manage a couple of efforts but the Rooks seemed to lack some belief in themselves as we turned round 0-2 behind.


The second half saw us come out with Lewis & Gibbo as the last two, Daniel, JR & Kyran across the middle and Tom & Kyle up front so Jake & Archie started as subs. What we needed was not what we got; a third goal in the 21st minute to leave us with several mountains to climb! We kept going but were again second to most loose balls & wanted too much time when we did have it & the tigerish Bedmond team wouldn’t let us settle. It was no surprise to see us 0-4 down on 26’, then 0-5 on 28’ and 0-6 on 36’; all good goals, helped by some missed clearances and superb finishing. Kyle smashed home our consolation goal just before the final whistle for a final score of 1-6.


Credit to Bedmond; they’re riding high in the Purple division, play some great football, work as a unit and don’t like to be second to anything so they fully deserved their win. Good luck to them in the League & Trophy.


The lessons learned today are simple: we have to go & get the ball not wait for it, compete more than we have in the passed two games but, above all, believe in ourselves & each other; Rooks are a good team & can play some fantastic football when they get amongst the opponents.


The stand-out performances today were from Kyle (never stopped running during the second half & was in the right place to finish well), Kyran (battled hard), Gibbo (showed  the ability to encourage team mates even at 0-6 down) and Lewis (proving he is a very good goalkeeper). The other lads all did their best as well but these four lads really seemed to demonstrate the Rooks spirit of giving everything whenever on the pitch and not letting their team down.


And thanks to Phil for reff’ing the match & letting me have a rest!


Next Sunday will see us away at Everett Rovers for an 11:30AM kick-off in the Spring Trophy. Please be at the Bill Everett Centre no later than 11:15AM and, if you are unavailable, try to let me know ASAP. We still have a chance in the Trophy; we need three big wins from the remaining three matches and hope someone can either beat Bedmond or two teams grab draws against them. BELIEVE IN YOURSELVES & THE TEAM!


C’mon, you Rooks!!


Sunday 22nd January 2006 kick-off 11:45AM

Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:

Rooks 0 Bedmond Ajax 1

0-1  Jack ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons
WTCC, Woodside. WFL Purple division 

A home match against a Bedmond team that beat us 2-5 just a fortnight ago gave us a chance to see how last week’s excellent team performance against Strides had improved our confidence – could we pressurise a talented opposition?  With Lewis under the weather (get well soon, mate!) & Tobi not available, we lined up with Gibbo in goal, Daniel as the lone defender, Cash, JR & Tom across the middle with Archie & Kyran at the sharp end. Kyle R & newly-registered Kyle L (welcome aboard!) started as the two subs.


Bedmond kicked-off and were into their game immediately but it was a much tougher game against the self-confident Rooks who battled hard for every ball & played some good stuff. Daniel coped as well as we’d hoped with the Bedmond striker and our midfield worked hard to contain theirs. Up front, we chased & hassled but with little luck. Meanwhile, Gibbo was proving a very able deputy for Lewis but was unlucky on 10 mins when he pushed-out a Bedmond shot, the rebound was then returned with interest that he got a hand to but it cannoned off the post, back off Gibbo and crept just over the line. Now the real test would come – drop our heads or keep ‘em up & get back into the match? It was most definitely the latter! On 14 mins, Kyle R & Kyle L replaced Tom & Kyran and we continued to chase the game; the ball moved from end-to-end (perhaps a bit more towards our end, though!) and both teams refused to give up easily.  Gibbo made a couple of good stops; not just saves but he held the ball each time which was very important as their often seemed to be a loose Bedmond shirt free in our box! Half-time came; a good chance for a breather for all involved.


We started with the same team that finished the first half so the twin Kyle strike-force kicked-off for us. Straight away it was the same high tempo from both teams with some good football played as well. Rooks seemed to have that much more belief today and it kept them going throughout the half; Daniel handled the Bedmond striker brilliantly, the midfield fought for everything and the two Kyle’s made every effort to press home our attacks – and there were quite a few.  Again, Lady Luck didn’t want to smile on us too much and we just couldn’t create the clean chances we needed. On 29 mins, the two Kyle’s made way for Tom & Kyran to see if the change would have an effect. Our hard work in defence kept Bedmond increasingly frustrated & Gibbo dealt with everything that did get through with calm assurance. Gradually, Rooks self-belief increased and we looked an accomplished side able to cause Bedmond problems. At full time, Rooks were disappointed not to have nicked the draw their performance deserved but a far better performance than the away fixture means we can look forward to a good run to the end of the league season just 6 games away.


Good luck to Bedmond; one of the stronger teams in the Purple division, they were sporting opponents & happy to say the Rooks caused them a few problems today. High praise from a team doing as well as they are.


All the Rooks are making it so hard to choose a MotM as they’re all playing so well at present. Daniel leads the team magnificently, Cash was again outstanding, JR just doesn’t know how to give up, Tom keeps battling away every week, Archie is looking more dangerous in each game, Kyran is never afraid to get stuck in, Kyle R chases & tackles like a demon and Kyle L didn’t look out of place on his playing debut today. After considering several comments, the decision goes to Gibbo; he’s probably our best natural defender but he was superb in goal today: he handled very confidently and was not afraid to make decisions.


Next week, we’re at home again to Berkhamsted with the usual 11:45AM kick-off so please arrive at the cricket ground no later than 11:30AM. Keep an eye on the weather, though! The forecast is looking very cold indeed which may cancel training & the match but I’ll try to give as much notice as possible.


The nasty bit – again! For those of you who paid half-subs, it’s time to pay the other half by the end of January.


Sunday 12th March 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Berkhamstead Raiders v. NWR5 - 1


Lewis Cowper

Match Report: 

Berkhamsted Sports & Social Club, Kitchener Field, Berkhamsted. WFL Purple division, Sunday 12th March 2006 kick-off 12:30PM

Our final 7-a-side League match ever saw us away to Raiders; a victory would mean three wins in a row for the Rooks – a great achievement. Nine travelled on a cold & blustery Sunday as Archie, Kyle R & Tobi were not available; we lined-up for our kick-off with Lewis in goal, Gibbo at centre-back, Jake, Daniel & Cash across the midfield and JR & Tom up front.  Kyran & Kyle L started as subs.

It was obvious Raiders wanted to keep their great run going and it was going to be tough for us to continue our run of victories; they played some good stuff & kept us on the back foot during the early exchanges. In truth, we looked a little tired and maybe the later kick-off didn’t help; we seemed to have trouble getting the ball under control, passing well & lacked some movement to create options. We did keep battling but couldn’t create any real clear cut chances and Raiders began to gain more confidence. Lewis made some good stops to keep it at 0-0 and in the 12th minute, Kyran replaced Jake & Kyle came on for JR. In the 14th minute a great Raiders corner & headed finish saw Rooks fall 0-1 behind and a near carbon copy made it 0-2 on 17 mins. In our first really creative move, Tom finished well to make it 1-2 at the half-time break & give us a fighting chance.

We came out for the second half with a few changes; Lewis was still in goal but Daniel had moved to centre-back, JR Jake & Cash were now in midfield with Tom & Kyran as the twin strikers so Gibbo & Kyle L started as subs. We hoped the change of ends would inspire us to some good work; as Raiders kicked-off & scored just a minute later, we had the worst start possible and it seemed to drain the confidence from the Rooks. When they made it 1-4 after 25 mins & then 5-1 after 29 mins, it looked like we could be in for a heavier defeat; Lewis made several fine stops & one truly outstanding save, we kept plugging away & kept them to just the five in the end. Gibbo had replaced Tom after 34 mins.

In honesty, we were second-best today; we tried hard, no-one on the Rooks side played badly but Raiders played well & took their chances at key times in the match. It was shame to lose our final 7-a-side League match after such a competitive season but we can hold our heads-up; we’ve improved amazingly over the passed two seasons and, with the squad we now have, we have every chance of being a real force in the U11s.

MotM goes to Lewis; he did as well as he could throughout the game and made some fine stops to keep the score down. As already mentioned, no-one played badly with Cash one again very consistent and Kyran really battled hard whilst on. The other lads all tried their best & can be proud of themselves.

Next week, we start our four-match Spring Trophy Group A campaign with a home match against Bedmond at Woodside. Kick-off is 11:45AM so please be at the ground no later than 11:15AM; remember that we will NOT be on the cricket club pitch but outside either on the pitch closest to the astro-turf area (if possible) or the pitch near the bowls club. Let’s give the Trophy a real go; I’m sure, like your families, the Rooks can sign-off from 7-a-side football in style by winning our group & then the final!

C’mon, you Rangers!!


Sunday 5th March 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Everett Rovers Black v. NWR1 - 6

Kyran Leech – 12’
Jake Griffiths – 28’
Tom Simmons – 33’
Jack Moneypenny – 35’
Lewis Cowper – 38’
Kyle Reynolds – 39’

Jake Griffiths
(just ahead of everyone)

Match Report: 

Another cold morning saw us with a short trip to play Everett Rovers; as this was the penultimate League fixture, it was our chance for back-to-back wins for the first time in two seasons. 10 Rooks travelled and we lined up with Archie in goal, Daniel at centre-back, JR, Jake & Kyran across midfield and Lewis & Cash up front. Gibbo, Tom, & Kyle R started as subs with Tobi & Kyle L not available today.

Rooks kicked-off with the blustery wind behind us and this made it quite hard for Rovers to keep up: we played a high tempo with some great passing & movement creating several chances for Lewis & Cash that Rovers managed to keep out. JR, Jake & Kyran worked as a really effective unit and kept the pressure on Rovers. With Daniel looking his usual assured self & Archie doing everything he was asked, it seemed a bag full of goals was coming our way. However, Rovers kept battling well & made some very good breaks themselves before another Rooks period of pressure saw the ball fall to Kyran on the edge of the box & he crashed home his drive in style for 1-0 Rooks. We kept pouring forward but the extra goals just wouldn’t come – and Archie made a great stop to keep it at 1-0 at half-time.

Second half saw a few changes: Gibbo went in goal for Archie, JR moved to centre-back for Daniel with Kyle R starting on the right of midfield and Tom replaced Kyran on the left. Rovers kicked-off, seemed determined to keep the score down and cause us some problems: they played some good stuff going forward but the Rooks got back into the same tempo & proved to be too strong. Jake marked his second-ever competitive game with a storming run & finish on 28, Tom finished another fine move on 33 and Cash got the goal his excellent work all season warranted. Rovers deserved their goal on 37 mins; immediately after, JR made way for Daniel, Archie replaced Cash & Kyran let Jake have a well-deserved rest before Lewis bagged himself his third of the season on 38 and Kyle banged home his second on 39.  

Credit to Rovers; they kept going, played as well as they could & with a smile on their face all game.  

Today’s lesson was that we really can play tremendous football when we want to and our ability to play for the full 40 minutes has improved. It was (almost) impossible to single out a MotM as they all deserved it but, after some reflection, Jake (as mentioned, in only his second-ever competitive match, really caught the eye: direct, able to tackle, carry the ball & shoot – a great addition to the team. The most important lesson of the day was the sportsmanship shown to Rovers: we once again proved we are not “Big Time Charlie’s” and are as happy to win with grace as we are to take defeat on the chin and shake hands. All the lads deserved the applause from mums, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends, etc after the game.

Sunday 12th March sees us away at Berkhamsted Raiders for a 12:30PM kick-off. Please be at the Tudor Arms to leave no later than 11:35AM. Let’s try to make it “three in a row” and go into the Spring Trophy full of confidence! 

Reminder: can I please have letters from parent’s re non-availability for Sunday 9th April as I need to get them to our fixture secretary ASAP (preferably no later than Sunday 12th March).

 C’mon the Purple Army!!!

Sunday 26th February 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR v. Finchley Revolution Blue4 - 1Tom (2)
All of them again!
Match Report: 

Watford Town cricket club, Woodside, Garston. WFL Purple division, Sunday 26th February 2006 kick-off 10:30AM.

What a difference a week & fit players makes! The return fixture against Finchley saw us playing our last ever WFL League match at the cricket club; Lewis back in goal, Gibbo at centre-back, Tom, Daniel & JR across the middle with Archie & Cash up front meant Kyran, Kyle R & Jake started as subs and Kyle L & Tobi unavailable on this historic day.

Once Finchley kicked-off, it was fair to say Rooks wanted some revenge; we looked up for the challenge but without resorting to anything other than playing good football. Another lightning Rooks start saw a great move on 3 minutes finished superbly by Tom. Rooks continued to play some absolutely superb football during the half; the passing was quick & accurate and backed-up by some incisive running to find space. Finchley were playing well but mainly on the back foot; however, they forced Lewis into an outstanding stop to keep it at 1-0. Cash, Tom, Archie, Daniel & JR all went close with efforts before Archie eased the nerves with a clinical finish on 17 and then Tom rounded off the half with another great finish on 19 minutes. With Gibbo & Daniel getting through some sterling defensive work to keep Finchley at bay as well as setting-up some good positions, we brought on Jake & Kyle for Gibbo & Cash with around 5 minutes left. Jake was making his first start in a competitive match; he looked very accomplished & a real find for the Rooks.

Second half saw the team go back on with Lewis still between the sticks, Cash at centre-back, JR, Daniel & Jake across the middle and Archie & Tom up front. Tactics were simply to keep playing as they had been & score three quick goals to make the game safe. Finchley kept plugging-away and created a few half-chances that Rooks denied through good defending and we kept going forward with skill & flair. On 25 minutes, JR was fouled to the left edge of the Finchley box; Archie curled & dipped a magnificent effort on to the underside of the bar but the ball crashed down onto the line for JR to bundle it in for 4-0. The Purples then hit a purple patch (sorry – used it before but once a season is worth it!!); the one-touch passing, movement & general play were exquisite. However, Finchley were never really out of the game, even at 4-0 down; they kept battling and forced some Premiership-class defensive work from Daniel, Cash & the guys when necessary. The Rooks brought on Kyle, Kyran & Gibbo at various stages in the final 10 minutes; we still played some greats tuff but Finchley got their reward on 35 minutes with a well-taken finish. Once again, Rooks closed the game out with some sensible football to say “cheerio” to League football at WTCC after three seasons.

Hats off to Finchley; they never gave up but the Rooks were back to full strength and would have given all the teams in the Purple division a tough game today.

Lewis was more than capable in goal, Gibbo showed great defensive qualities, JR took the game to Finchley at every chance, Daniel was Captain Fantastic (again!), Tom was a dynamic force everywhere on the pitch, Cash continued his season’s excellent form, Archie’s movement & passing were a delight to watch (and a nightmare to play against!), Kyran battled hard & grows in confidence weekly, Kyle got stuck in, chased & fought for his team and Jake was a revelation in his first game. No single MotM as they were all so good today!

I try to learn something from every game we play: today’s match taught me we have come a very long way in the passed two season’s and the future is looking very bright with Dod, Ryan & Kyle L ready to step-up to the challenge next season. I’m really looking forward to working with the team as I believe we are ready to step-up a level in terms of teamwork & the quality of our play. We’ve already made massive improvement: let’s continue, have fun & see what happens!

Sunday 5th March sees us away at Everett Rovers Black for an 11:30AM kick-off. Please be at the Bill Everett Centre no later than 11:10AM.

C’mon the Purple Army!!!

Sunday 19th February 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Finchley Revolution Blue v. NWR8 - 2 All of them!
Match Report: 

Wilf Slack Memorial ground, East End Rd, London, N3. WFL Purple division, Sunday 19th February 2006 kick-off 10:30AM

Out first trip to East End Road saw us play Finchley Revolution for the first time ever; the weather wasn’t bad but holidays meant we had no Lewis & Kyle R and Kyle L was missing through illness (get well soon, mate) and Tobi unavailable. That left just seven Rooks to make the journey; Daniel climbed out of his bed after a few days laid-low with ‘flu but he made the correct and very brave decision to not take part in the match as he felt unwell.

Gibbo took the gloves with JR in front as centre-back; Tom & Cash played in the midfield with Archie & Kyran up front. In the reverse of last week, how would our six fair against their full seven plus a sub? It started so well; a fine Rooks’ move on 5 mins saw Archie open the scoring with a clinical finish but we held the lead for just two minutes before they equalised. After that, we kept battling for the ball, passed it well when able & pressured their goal more times than was fair without reward. With signs of tiredness creeping in, we were hit for three in three minutes between the 15th & 17th minute to give the half-time score an undeserved 4-1 to Finchley. They had played well but so had we!

We didn’t have much to do at half-time except kept he Rooks believing in themselves and send them out to play with pride, hard work & hope for some luck. After Finchley kicked-off, the ref (me!) got a little over-involved in encouraging the Rooks to keep trying to go forward & play the wonderful football they are capable of; it seemed to be working as we kept attacking but just couldn’t get the ball passed an excellent ‘keeper & resolute defence. Again, energy seemed to drain from the Rooks an we conceded four more in eight minutes between 28 & 36 mins to give a completely undeserved 1-8 score line so it was only fair that the game’s last goal was stroked home by JR for a final score of 2-8.

Finchley played some great stuff; fast, accurate passes with good shooting and looked capable of winning against any team in the division. Good luck to them for the season – but not quite such good luck for next Sunday’s return at Woodside!!

It’s important to say all seven Rooks that made the journey did their very best today; they fought bravely and created so many chances, we could easily have one 12-8 with just a little bit of luck! Gibbo made some truly fabulous stops (& looked like big Ben Foster!) whilst JR covered every blade of grass in his quest to bring us back into the game. Cash continued his superb form with yet another fine performance whilst Tom battled & ran everywhere to help his team-mates. Kyran (considering he’d been in bed ill for most of the week) kept up with the game & tried his hardest while Archie really did run himself into the ground in a stupendous effort to get something out of the game. Daniel showed great courage to make a hard but correct decision; health is far more important than a football match.

I learned a huge amount about our team today: we play for each other and keep going even when things are against us. Football-wise, we need to keep our shape more when out-numbered and let the ball work harder for us to save energy but you have to take you hat off to the lads: they all played with passion & skill and I know all the mums, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, etc that made they journey felt nothing but overwhelming pride for all the players during & after the match. You’re all worthy winners of MotM.

Next Sunday, we are home to Finchley Revolution at Woodside for an 11:45AM kick-off – but I’ll confirm the time after training on Saturday as we now have only two pitches to use inside the cricket club between our U7s, U8s, U9s, us & Garston Boys. Please be at the ground no later than 11:25AM in case we need to build goals, rope off the square, etc.

Sunday 12th February 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. Strides6 - 1Kyran LeechKyran Leech, Tom Simmons & Jack Richards
Match Report: 

WTCC, Woodside. WFL Purple division, Sunday 12th February 2006 kick-off 12:00AM

After our first free weekend, the team made their way to our home ground on a cold, wet morning to play the return fixture against Strides; having had to fight very hard to get any result in the away match, we expected a really tough game! Lewis was back in goal, JR played as centre-back, Kyran, Daniel & Tom across the midfield with Kyle R & Archie up front. Gibbo (recovering from a cold) was the lone sub as Kyle L was hosting his birthday party jointly with Jake, Cash was unwell and Tobi unavailable.

Strides took the kick-off uphill and it’s important to say they only had 6 players available (having been in this position ourselves a few times, I sympathise) but they started in a very positive frame of mind and kept it throughout the match to play some good stuff and cause problems with good movement & accurate passing. However, the extra man meant we always had an option and it was a good move that lead to Tom’s first goal on 7 minutes. The Rooks were playing well and doubled the lead on 12 minutes with Kyran’s first ever Rooks goal (well done, mate!) when he followed-up another strike that the excellent Strides’ keeper couldn’t quite hold. The remainder of the half saw us continue to use the extra space and pressure the Strides goal but they did fantastically well to keep us out and continue to attack when they could. Lewis had to be on his toes on several occasions and only some great defensive work by Daniel & JR kept us two in front.

Half-time saw Kyle swap with Gibbo up front and off we went again. Again, there were Rooks chances to extend the lead but these were repelled by Strides defence and keeper before Archie made a run into the box on 27 mins and Phil awarded a penalty. In hindsight, it was maybe tough on Strides and the ‘keeper very nearly saved Archie’s kick. This seemed to inspire Strides to even greater effort and they were rewarded with a fine goal on 29 mins for 3-1 Rooks. Now would be the mental test for us; could we press home our advantage or would we let Strides back in? Tom finished off a great move for his second of the game on 31 mins for 4-1 and we then played some really good stuff against a tiring side that held on until Tom completed his hat-trick with a powerful drive on 37 mins and Kyran finished calmly on 39 mins.

Overall, the score line was harsh on Stride who didn’t deserve to lose by five goals but the Rooks did what they had to do and played some great football. One run from Tom from just outside his own penalty box to a very narrow miss of Strides goal was something else to see! All the lads did well and were once again captained brilliantly by Daniel. However, there were three special performances: JR playing in defence for the first time in a long while chased & harried with great discipline; Tom was absolutely fantastic & his finishing was clinical whilst Kyran really caught the eye; not only did he score his first goals but he never gave up on anything. Lewis, Archie, Kyle and Gibbo all contributed to a super team performance where the ball was passed when it was possible rather than run and helped warm-up all our supporters!

Next Sunday 19th February, we are away against Finchley Revolution at the Wilf Slack Memorial Ground, East End Road, N3 (bordered by Manor View & Briarfield Ave) for a 10:30AM kick-off so we must leave the Tudor Arms no later than 9:35AM. Stop Press: watch the weather! Finchley’s manager has rung me today (Wednesday) to say the pitch is water-logged and may not be playable on Sunday if more rain falls so I’ve agreed to ring before we leave Watford to check if their groundsman has postponed but the forecast isn’t looking too dry!

Lastly, I need to know who is or is not available for Sunday 9th April; it’s the first Sunday of the Easter school holiday and Watford play Luton at 12:00PM. Please let me know by ‘phone, text or email no later than Saturday 25th February at training so I can advise the League if we can fulfil a fixture on that Sunday.

Sunday 29th January 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. Berkhamsted Raiders0 - 1 Jack ‘Cash’ Moneypenny & Daniel Greig
Match Report: 

WTCC, Woodside. WFL Purple division, Sunday 29th January 2006 kick-off 11:45AM

Home again to Raiders and a winning run-in would see us move up the table as we have games left against the teams around us. With Tobi was the only unavailable player, Lewis was back in goal; Gibbo at centre back; Daniel, Cash & Tom across the middle with JR & Archie starting up front. Kyran, Kyle R & Kyle L started as the subs.

Raiders kicked-off down the slight slope and the first few minutes were open, entertaining & saw some flowing football – from both sides. Rooks looked strong & confident but, inexplicably, seemed to suddenly go off the boil and allowed Raiders a little too much time & space on the ball. Consequently, Daniel ended-up helping Gibbo in defence and we lost his the necessary drive in midfield. That’s not to say we weren’t playing some good stuff; we just didn’t seem to pick the passes quick enough or get the ball down & play; even defensive clearances kept coming back at us. Whilst Raiders pressed, Lewis didn’t have too much to stop but we didn’t really create any clear-cut chances. On 15 minutes, a triple sub saw Kyle L on for JR, Kyran for Archie & Kyle R for Cash; the guys all worked hard but without producing an end product i.e. a goal!

The same Rooks that finished the first half lined-up for the second and we kicked-off full of hope. Unfortunately, we let Raiders get into their rhythm and they pushed the ball around the pitch with some purpose; Rooks seemed to be lost for what to do so Kyle L made way for Archie on 26 mins to provide a more attacking option but we then conceded on 29 mins. Several Rooks made an attempt to clear the ball from a corner but it bounced around and finished in our net for 0-1. Bum! Straight away, Kyran & Kyle R swapped with Tom & JR; we re-started looking to get back into the match but again didn’t quite manage the final ball or make that vital run – or even get the slice of luck we needed. The game was then pretty much stalemate as both teams cancelled each other out; in fairness, Raiders looked more likely to score but while there was time on the clock, we kept hoping!

In reflection, the team all did their very best & we should be proud of all of them; you will often have games like this where nothing seems to go your way yet the harder you work to “make it happen”, the less it seems to help. There was effort, skill & energy from everyone but the standout performers today were Daniel & Cash; Daniel recognised the need to defend and Cash’s great form over the passed three matches continued as he fought hard for the team.

Next week, we have a free Sunday. As discussed, it will do us all good to have a break for a week; we’ll still train on Saturday morning though! The next match will be at home to Strides on Sunday 12th February with a scheduled 11:45AM kick-off.

Welcome also to Jake Griffiths who trained with us last Saturday; we’re now building a handy squad for next season’s jump to 11-a-side, longer matches, bigger goals & the offside rule!

C’mon, you Rangers!!

Sunday 15th January 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Stride v. NWR Rooks2 - 3Gibbo

Lewis Cowper 

Match Report: 

Moor Road, Chesham. WFL Purple division, Sunday 15th January 2006 kick-off 1:00PM

Our first afternoon fixture of the season saw us journey to Chesham to face Strides; not having played them before, a trip into the unknown in all aspects! Lewis kept goal, Cash & JR went into midfield with Daniel & Archie who played just behind a front two of Kyle & Kyran. Gibbo & Tom started as subs with Kyle II not yet registered & Tobi unavailable.

Rooks kicked-off and we’re straight on the back foot to a purposeful & talented Strides team who wanted to win the game; think this may have been due to a school friend of Archie’s was playing for them! Lewis made the first of a series of good stops before he was powerless to stop Stride taking a 3rd minute lead; in reply, Rooks began to play some good stuff but we’re being pegged-back by Strides quick breaks and accurate passing. In fairness, we were looking second-best at this stage; only some great last-ditch defending from Cash & JR along with some great ‘keeping from Lewis kept the score down. Tom came on for JR to see if a change would help; we did improve but, in the 12th minute Strides shot, Lewis saved, they shot again from the rebound which Lewis saved again before the loose ball was finally rolled-in for 2-0 Strides. Gibbo replaced the battling Kyran up front on 14 mins and almost immediately had a goal (probably correctly) disallowed after the ‘keeper spilled a Rooks effort: was this going to be “one of those days”?! Rooks finally started to get to grips with the opposition and began to get forward with more purpose – but our defence was still keeping us in it & allowing us the chance to stay in the game. It was just reward in the 19th minute when Gibbo picked-up a loose ball in the box after a good move and rolled-in a sweet left-foot effort for 1-2.

Half-time saw us move Gibbo to centre-back, Cash, JR & Daniel revert to a midfield three with Tom & Kyle up front so Kyran & Archie started the second-half as subs. From the kick-off, Rooks looked better-balanced and more able to pressurise Strides; the orders to shoot on site started to pay dividends. Daniel broke along the right-wing, cut inside & hit a goalbound shot in the 21st minute that was touched home by Kyle (first goal for the Rook as a  birthday bonus, mate!) for the equaliser. Game on!!! Both sides played good football with Lewis in the Rooks’ goal making some tremendous stops; Gibbo swept-up well; Cash, JR & Daniel chased everywhere whilst Tom & Kyle kept the Strides defence busy. On 29 minutes, Kyle took a well-deserved rest for Kyran who picked-up the pace immediately & worked hard for the team. Both teams were battling for the lead fairly & without any dangerous or aggressive play. On 31 mins, Archie re-entered for Daniel to change things round again & pose a new problem for Strides: he got his reward for a fine display on 37 mins when he went on a trademark run from wing-to-wing towards the goal before hitting a superb shot into the far corner of the Strides net. We then held on by playing good, sensible football until the final whistle. Phew!

A word about Strides: they are good team who play the game in the right spirit and we wish them well for the rest of the season – apart from the return match, obviously!  

All the Rooks were outstanding today: Daniel, Archie, Kyran, Kyle, Gibbo, JR & Tom all played superbly whilst Cash would have been MotM on any other day because Lewis was simply brilliant today – his stops made it possible for us to win the game. 

Next Sunday’s match sees us play Bedmond at home in an 11:45AM kick-off; please arrive no later than 11:30AM.  

For those of you who paid half-subs, it’s time to pay the other half by the end of January – sorry! We should also have Kyle L registered very shortly; please welcome him to the team and help him enjoy his football as much as you all do!

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 8th January 2006Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Bedmond Ajax v. NWR Rooks5 - 2Archie

Jack Richards

Match Report: 
2006’s first game saw us make the short trip to 3rd placed Bedmond. We lined-up with Lewis in goal, Cash, Gibbo & JR as the midfield Daniel & Archie just in front & Tom as striker. Kyle & Kyran started as subs with Kyle II not yet registered & Tobi unavailable.

Bedmond kicked-off on a pretty good pitch and looked a very accomplished side able to pass the ball, move well & create chances. In fact, they reminded me of the Rooks at our best! Both sides played good football in the right spirit without loosing respect for the opposition. Both teams looked to pass the ball and create problems for each other before Bedmond opened the scoring on 2 minutes and then forced Lewis to the first of several great stops. The Rooks tackled well & moved the ball around the pitch and got the reward on 8 minutes when Archie finished brilliantly from outside the box after some good work through the middle by Gibbo, Daniel, JR & Tom had setup the chance. Rooks kept going forward but got caught on 11 minutes when even Lewis could do nothing to stop their second. Undeterred, Rooks still tried to play attacking football but gaps started to appear that Bedmond made good use of; only stout defending by all the boys & some great stops by Lewis kept the half-time score to 1-2.

Half-time saw us move Gibbo to centre-back, Cash & JR stay in midfield with Archie now partnered by Kryan & Kyle up front. Tom & Daniel started the second-half as subs. Bedmond started the half on fire; three goals in the first 5 minutes saw Rooks 1-5 down but the lads kept their heads-up and started to fight back. After 11 minutes, a superb run by JR saw him slide the ball into the corner of the net for 2-5 and we had some hope! Tom replaced Archie & Daniel came on for Cash to see if fresh legs would get us the goals we needed but the bit of luck needed for the final ball wasn’t there today. We did create chances & played well enough to have deserved at least one more goal!

Bedmond were good opponents & fine hosts; a real credit to their club. All the Rooks played their part in a great match: Cash, Daniel, Archie, Kyran, Kyle & Tom all played as well as I know they can whilst there were notable performances from Lewis & Gibbo that made the decision very difficult but today’s MotM goes to JR for his fine all-round display.

Our next match sees us up against Strides on Sunday 15th with a scheduled 1:00PM kick-off at their ground. Details will be confirmed on Saturday after training.

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 18th December 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. Omonia White0 - 1 The whole team!
Match Report: 
WTCC, Woodside Garston. WFL Purple division, Sunday 18th December 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

The last match before a two week Christmas break saw us at home for the retrun fixture against Omonia; with the first game still fresh in our minds, this was to be a good test of resolve, spirit & attitude.Lewis was in goal, gibbo started as centre-back, Daniel & JR as the midfield pair and Cash, Archie & Kyran up front. Tom started as sub with Kyle (still feeling the effects of last week’s chest infection - hope you’re better before Christmas!) and Tobi unavailable. Kyle II came to watch; we’ll get you signed-up & registered ASAP – welcome to NWRFC, mate!

Omonia kicked-off but we won the ball almost straight-away and played some good stuff: we created a few chances for all the forwards but we just couldn’t get the finish our approach play deserved. The first few challenges weren’t as robust as expected and the ref (well played, Steve!) kept good control and allowed the game to flow well – which was mainly towards the Omonia goal in the first 10 minutes or so. Gradually, they got themselves back into it and only stout defensive work by all the lads kept them at bay but we made some great breaks to keep up the pressure without getting the reward we deserved. Tom came on for Cash after 13 minutes; not long after, Lewis made a fabulous save low to his left to keep us in the game before a really cruel last-minute bounce from a hopeful strike meant a 0-1 half-time deficit.

We sent the Rooks back out with instructions to carry-on as they were: playing well, smiling & enjoying it – but to shoot at every opportunity! True to this, the boys played a great second half; attempts were made from all distances with Daniel’s long-range dipper destined to dip under the bar but kept-out by a good stop from their ‘keeper. Cash came on for Kyran but the game had begun to take the expected path: some crunching tackles from Omonia gradually became more difficult for the ref to ignore and some of their language was making the air turn blue. The result was immaterial in the end; an undeserved 0-1 defeat showed the Rooks have what it takes to play against a team intent on using “Premiership” tactics and they can move on to their next match with their heads held high and their pride intact.

In my opinion, youth football is about the spirit of the game (perhaps more than the laws) and respecting your opposition (players as well as supporters) & the referee is paramount. You will not find the Rooks playing anything other than the “right” sort of game – and this is echoed throughout Nascot Wood Rangers as a club; we do not operate a “win at all costs” policy at any age group. Sure, the game develops into a more serious affair as the players approach mid-teens & onward but the junior section should be about football in a fun, safe & friendly environment. Perhaps other clubs should review their own standards in this respect.

As for MotM, there were outstanding performances from all the Rooks so they all share the award. None of the players let themselves, the team or their families down in what was a good test of their courage, spirit and attitude. All passed with flying colours.

Have a really great Christmas break and we’ll see you all for training on Saturday 7th January 2006 at Radlett Road from 10:00AM. The next scheduled fixture is away to Bedmond Ajax on
Sunday 8th with an 11:30AM kick-off but I will confirm all arrangements on Saturday 7th.

Enjoy your Christmas: it’s a real pleasure for me to be associated with you & your families and it’s wonderful to see the continued improvement in you as players and people.

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 11th December 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Oakhill Tigers v. NWR Rooks3 - 0 Daniel Greig
Match Report: 
Walker Cricket Ground, Waterfall Road, London, N14. WFL Purple division, Sunday 11th December 2005 kick-off 11:00AM

After an early-morning rude awakening (ear plugs & gas masks, anyone?), we made our way to London for a match against the division leaders; could we go one better than the 3-3 draw earlier in the season? As the only team to take any points off Oakhill so far this season, we were hopeful. We travelled with just seven fit players: Gibbo played in goal for Lewis (hope the tummy’s better now, mate); Cash, Daniel & JR played across midfield with Tom, Archie & Kyran up front. Kyle was unwell (hope you’re feeling better soon, mate) and Tobi unavailable.

Oakhill took the kick-off & looked very accomplished but Rooks competed well and played some good stuff. Our midfield fought hard against the Warriors to make sure they had little time to settle on the ball; we also managed to move the ball around in good style and create a few nice moves. We made some strong attacks and won several corners but couldn’t turn them into anything more tangible. From one of these, Oakhill broke fast & in numbers; we couldn’t get back and they left Gibbo with no chance of saving the powerful shot so 0-1 was the result after about 12 minutes. However, none of the lads gave up, kept on playing & working hard for each other. We had a couple more efforts on goal, forced them to defend and Gibbo made a great stop right on half-time.

We kicked-off the second half and still tried to play football; JR & Cash made some good breaks up the flanks; Archie, Tom & Kyran took-up some great positions but we couldn’t quite get the ball passed the Warriors to create a clear-cut chance. Two quick Warriors’ goals in the 32nd & 34th minute had left the score looking a little one-sided at 0-3; Rooks deserved better after a battling performance with a fair amount of skill & football on display. Kyran came closest to scoring after some good work by Tom & Archie to leave JR with a pass into Kyran but the ball spun just wide from Kyran’s first-time shot on the turn.

Overall, it was great to play against a strong but fair & friendly side that stretched us to the limit. Oakhill play the same type of game as the Rooks; keep the ball down, pass & move and try to win by going forward & scoring more goals than you concede. They are a real credit to their club & manager; as were their supporters.

All the Rooks played their part in the game with no-one letting themselves or their team-mates down. Everyone worked hard, played football when we had the ball and kept their heads-up even at 0-3 down. It was difficult to pick-out one MotM but I felt Daniel showed a real captain’s spirit; he made some amazing challenges in & around our box and lead the team by example. All the lads were lifted by each other and I’m sure this helped Daniel as much as he lifted everyone else: supporters, as well as players. Thanks to everyone who made the long trip & helped cheer on the team.

We have an 11:45AM kick-off on Sunday 18th December at home to Omonia White; please arrive at Woodside no later than 11:30AM. This is one game that won’t need much in the way of pre-match chat; let’s play our football firmly but fairly, relax, smile & try to score goals.

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 4th December 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. NWR Reds0 - 2 Kyran Leech
Match Report: 
WTCC, Woodside. WFL Purple division, Sunday 4th December 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

The day after the club Christmas party saw us at home against our mates in the Reds; the previous game had been a real humdinger at Queens’ and we hoped for the same. Lewis was in goal but with a different formation in front of him; Daniel & JR formed a two-man midfield with Cash at left wing, Archie & Gibbo in the centre and Tom on the right wing. Kyran was the lone sub as both Kyle & Tobi were unavailable.

Reds took the kick-off (in fetching orange bibs!) and it was plain they wanted to win the game; they just wouldn’t let us settle into our passing game and were first to almost every loose ball. A fine move & run was well-finished on just 5 minutes to put the Rooks 0-1 behind – and present us with a real test. We’d battled-back from 0-1 down at Queens’ really well but we just couldn’t get going this morning; could be too much party food with Santa on Saturday had affected us badly?!?! The rest of the first half saw the Reds playing most of the football with the Rooks chasing hard but unable to keep the ball long enough to be dangerous; each one of Lewis’s big clearances seemed to come straight back at us. Gibbo made way for Kyran after 17 mins and we managed to put-together a really good move just after; Daniel won the ball, passed to JR who’s delightful back heel then set Archie free for a run & effort that just clipped the crossbar.

Acknowledging my mistake with the formation; we started with the same line-up that finished the first half but in a three-three line-up; Cash moved to left-midfield with Archie, Kyran & Tom up-front. The first few minutes looked like the Rooks were getting back into the match; we forced a few saves from the Reds ‘keeper, got them to defend for a while but were not able to get an equaliser. The Reds were still playing well; they forced Lewis into a couple of great stops and we seemed to lose a little “fight” as they got back on top. Gibbo came back on fro Kyran on 31 minutes but Reds scored a deserved second on 34 minutes; Lewis was unlucky as the ball hit the near post & went in off his arm or back. The rest of the match followed the pattern of Rooks chasing & working hard but unable to keep the ball; our best work usually saw us with no simple pass and then losing possession.

Credit to Jim & Lee for getting their Reds to play so well; they deserved the win which was their over the Rooks so it’s a measure of how much they’ve improved. It underlines how open & competitive the Purple division is this season.

For me, it was our first disappointing display of the season; in our other matches, we’ve managed to play football and look like we could win. I’d go so far as to say yesterday was possibly the least competitive we’ve been in the two seasons I’ve been with the boys but the feeling of disappointment is an indication of how much all the boys have improved this season as a team.

It’s now in the past and we move on with plenty of lessons learned; I won’t mess with formations, we must go out for each match to relax & enjoy the game and I have every confidence the Rooks will show us what they can do next Sunday!

We’re scheduled for an 11:00AM kick-off on Sunday 11th December away to Oakhill Tigers at the Walker cricket ground, Waterfall Road, London N14 but I will confirm all details at training on Saturday morning.

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 27th November 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Hemel Aces v. NWR Rooks3 - 0 Kyle Reynolds
Match Report: 
Bellgate School, Hemel Hempstead. WFL Purple division

Back to face Hemel for the third time in a few weeks: would we be able to turn in a performance like last week? Lewis was back between the sticks, Cash, Daniel & Gibbo formed the midfield with Tom, Archie & JR up front. Kyle & Kryan started as subs with Tobi not available.

Rooks kicked-off and tired to play football but seemed to be a little too frozen! We were getting pulled out of position and allowing Aces too much time on the ball; as their support play was so good, this meant we played most of the first half in our own half chasing them to get the ball and when we did get the ball, we seemed less able to keep it than in recent weeks. Passes weren’t getting to the intended target and we seemed a little out of sorts; not sure if it was just the weather but Aces are a strong side who can play football as well as enjoying the physical (and generally fair) side of the game. Having said that, we did well on occasion and caused them some problems but they scored a goal on 11 minutes from distance that was too hot for Lewis to handle. Shortly after, Kyran replaced Gibbo and Kyle came on for Daniel (who’d had two clashes of heads) but the half finished 0-1.

Rooks lined-up to for the second half with Kyle out at right wing, JR dropping to right back, Daniel back in the middle and Gibbo & Kryan as subs. Aces caught us cold in the first couple of minutes when we didn’t clear a corner and followed that mid-way through the half with the best goal of the game form a good move & finish. Rooks kept scrapping away but we just couldn’t break-down a very capable Aces defence. A final score of 0-3 was possibly a bit harsh as we hadn’t let Aces create many clear-cut chances but that’s football for you!

A match against good opposition in very cold conditions on a slightly sticky surface was always going to be a tough test; whilst we coped with the physical side of the game well, we didn’t hit our usual rythymn and that made it difficult. None of the Rooks gave up trying but it seems the Aces are likely to be our bogey team but also a yardstick to improve our own performance. We must be more combative (within the letter & spirit of the rules, of course) so we don’t start matches feeling less like we can win. I’m sure the lads can learn from this; their training is always “competitive” and they need to take this into matches as well. All the boys tried hard to play as well as possible but the MotM award goes to Kyle for not giving up on anything and is also a reward for his consistency in recent matches.

We are likely to be at home for an 11:45AM kick-off on Sunday 4th December but I will confirm this once I have received the fixture list tonight.

Don’t forget the Christmas party on Saturday 3rd December at Watford Town Cricket Club, Woodside from 3:00PM to 7:00PM. It should be very enjoyable!

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 20th November 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks V. Everett Rovers Black5 - 1Tom (2)
They all did a fantastic job!
Match Report: 
Watford Town Cricket Club, Woodside.. WFL Purple division, Sunday 20th November 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

Back to playing football on a REALLY cold winter morning that saw Gibbo give Lewis a break from ‘keeping, Kyle, Daniel & JR form the midfield with Tom & Archie playing just behind Lewis up front. Kyran started as our lone sub with Cash sick (get well soon, mate) and Tobi not available.

Everett kicked-off and looked able to pass the ball and play some good football. However, stout work from all the Rooks saw Everett’s attacks not penetrating too often whilst we played some of the best football I’ve seen in the passed two seasons. We worked as a team: moving the ball accurately, supporting & encouraging each other which made us play like a well-drilled team. It was fantastic to watch and credit to the lads for their improvement this season.

On 7 minutes, Tom finished a superb move for 1-0, then doubled this with a good finish from a right-wing corner on 9 minutes before Lewis got in on the act on 12 minutes with a classy goal (outside of his right boot!) from a speedy Rooks break. Everett replied on 13 minutes with a shot that sneaked passed Gibbo for 3-1. Just after this, Kryan replaced JR and Rooks continued to play well up to half-time.

Rooks lined-up to kick-off the second half with JR back on for Kyran and were back on the attack straight away. Rooks looked impressive as we swept the ball from defence to attack with good passing and dribbling on view but Everett were also playing well; the ball moved from end-to-end quickly - and with great entertainment value. Everett kept going throughout the half before a cruel own goal on 33 minutes saw Rooks take a 4-1 lead that Archie made 5-1 on 36 mins. Kyran came on for Kyle just before the final goal.

Overall, Everett were unlucky to lose 5-1 as they competed well but we deserved the goals today as our previous League games have indicated the wonderful improvement the Rooks have shown this season. Our shooting was much more accurate, passing quick & precise and all aspects of our play were worth watching. Once again, it was impossible to single-out any Rook so they all get another MotM award today; the team is gelling nicely now and learning from their training sessions as well as matches played. Players are able to work in a number of positions which gives us more options and the new formation is starting to show rewards. What we have to remember is none of this works without huge effort from players, parents, carers & supporters alike; it’s a real pleasure to be involved with such nice people who are a credit to themselves, their families and Nascot Wood Rangers.

Next Sunday sees us away to Hemel Aces for a possible 9:30AM kick-off; please be at the ground no later than 9:15AM (will confirm kick-off time once arrangements made).

Don’t forget to get your Christmas party invites for Saturday 3rd December back to the club ASAP: latest date is Monday 28th November!

Come on you Rooks!!

Sunday 13th November 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Omonia White v. NWR Rooks2 - 2Tom
Every single Rook - again!
Match Report: 
Enfield Playing Fields, Ladysmith Road, Enfield. WFL Purple division, Sunday 13th November 2005 kick-off 11:00AM

Our first long trip of the season saw us in Enfield on a really cold, windy morning faced with a pitch that was not the best surface for our style of football. Lewis kept goal, Cash, Daniel & Gibbo were across the middle allowing Tom, Archie & JR to play up front with Kyle & Kyran starting as subs. Tobi was unavailable.

Rooks kicked-off and showed they wanted to play; our first attack very nearly lead to the first goal through some great pass & move between the midfield & attack. Omonia had a couple of good players and a strong team ethic and refused to let us get too far on top; both teams were up for the game and wanted to win but the Rooks wanted to do it by playing & enjoying their football and not wrestling! The game ebbed & flowed from both ends; both ‘keepers were coping with the windy conditions; Lewis had the worst of it as the wind constantly blew in his face and affected his distribution. On 9 mins, Rooks moved the ball from our area to the middle where Archie picked it up on the right, skipped past a challenge and fed Tom on the left; Tom’s finish was first-class for 1-0. From the kick-off, Omonia put us under pressure for a minute or so before the ball was half-cleared and a hopeful punt forward then caught on the wind and dropped right underneath the bar for an equaliser. Form Rooks kick-off, we moved the ball smartly, fed Tom on the left who played-in Archie for yet another class finish for a deserved 2-1 Rooks lead on 11 mins. Kyle replaced Cash on 12 mins which was followed by Kyran. The remainder of the half saw us testing their ‘keeper with a few shots, Lewis getting a late whack on his leg – and showing courage to carry-on – and the game begin to be played in the middle as both sides cancelled each other out.

The second half saw the same Rooks that finished the first period come out raring to go and Omonia were obviously ready to do anything to win. The first of Lewis’s huge kicks with the wind now behind him pegged them back and most of the game was played through the centre. The Rooks kept battling hard; several of the challenges they faced were a little too Premier League for an U10’s match and their language meant Omonia could probably be called Blue not White. On 26 mins a good cross from Omonia’s left side saw Lewis bumped as he went for the ball but drop on it with both hands on the ball only to have it kicked into the net for a second equaliser. Lewis got a whack on the hand just after this in yet another less than well-timed challenge before JR got flattened & went off winded on 33 mins to be replaced by Gibbo with Tom making-way for Cash at the same time. The game continued to be fought hard with some football being played; Rooks were still getting the ball down & playing. Archie made a great run along the right wing, drifted inside to leave just one defender between him & another shot but then had both legs taken & no free-kick awarded in the last incident of the game.

Reflections? It was impossible to single out a MotM; they all deserved it. Pride in each Rook for not giving-up in the face of tricky conditions and borderline treatment. Every single Rook deserved to be a winner today; they didn’t wilt in the face of their opponents, kept going and deserved a victory. In my opinion, they did win; they played football, didn’t retaliate and kept smiling & enjoying the match then shook every Omonia player’s hand after the game. They will return to coaching next Saturday morning with their heads held high to continue learning how to play football with the ball & respect their opponents come what may.

Next Sunday sees us home to Everett Rovers Black with an 11:45AM kick-off; please be at the ground no later than 11:15AM.

Don’t forget to get your Christmas party invites for Saturday 3rd December back to the club ASAP!

Come on you Rooks!!
Sunday 6th November 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. Oakhill Tigers Warriors3 - 3Archie (2)
Every single Rook!
Match Report: 
Watford Town cricket club, Woodside, Garston. WFL Purple division, Sunday 6th November 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

On a very wet morning, we made our way to the cricket club hoping the match would make up for the weather and provide some fireworks: we were rewarded with a fantastic display by both teams! Lewis started in goal with Gibbo, Daniel & Cash as the midfield allowing Archie, Tom & Cash to play up front meant with Kyle as the lone sub. Kyran (hope you’re over the chicken pox!) and Tobi were both unavailable.

The conditions meant the ball zipped over the surface and, with both teams able to pass the ball, it made for exciting watching. Both teams were making chances, moving the ball around well and showing good skills; tackles were made, interceptions completed and efforts at both goals meant the ‘keepers were kept on their toes in the first half. Kyle replaced Daniel with five minutes left but somehow the half ended goalless but promised much for the second half.

The Rooks were now playing down the slight slope and began to exert more pressure on the Warriror’s goal. After four minutes of the second half, a great Rooks move was finished well by Archie for 1-0 (and a very acrobatic celebration followed!). Warrior’s pressed for an equaliser but the Rooks broke away and forced a couple of corners before Tom rolled the ball home left-footed from the edge of the area for 2-0. Rooks kept playing some great stuff but Warrior’s lived up to their name and got one back on the half-hour with some good interplay around the half-way line that lead to a break-away goal. They got a second to make the match all-square and Kyle replaced JR who had taken a knock during the goal. From yet another Rooks corner, Archie performed wonders to finish with the outside of his right foot whilst moving away from goal – Rook 3-2 up with just four minutes left. Could we hold out? Sadly for us, Warriors got a deserved third equaliser with just two minutes left to play.

On balance, probably a fair result as the Warriors played some great stuff & never gave in. The most pleasing thing from the Rooks was the passing, movement and shooting; everyone has listened during training and started to play as we all know they can. Being able to watch the game allowed me to appreciate how much the lads have improved as a team and are now playing as much for each other as themselves. I’m not able to single anyone out for extra praise and have decided to award all of the MotM – they all deserved it, all fought for it and can all take many positives from this game. This should now be the foundation for the rest of the season: we know we can do it, we’ve proved we can do it so now we have to keep doing it!

Huge thanks to Phil for ref’ing, Jeff for doing the scorecard and Paul & John for managing the team – and a big thank you to all those who came to watch on the worst day for weather so far! We’re away to Omonia White in Enfield on Sunday 13th November for an 11:00AM kick-off. I’m hoping to be there but won’t know until very late Saturday afternoon; suggest you all meet at & leave the Tudor by 10:00AM, aiming to be in Enfield by 10:45AM.

My brother Neil will take training on Saturday at the usual time (10:00AM to 12:00PM); please pay him all your attention and make sure you listen well, practise with a smile and don’t injure each other!

Come on you Rooks!!
Sunday 30th October 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Reds v. NWR Rooks2 - 2 Jack Moneypenny
Match Report: 
Queens’ School, Bushey. WFL Purple division, Sunday 30th October 2005 kick-off 10:30AM

First most-local derby possible saw us play at Queens’ for the first time against Jim’s NWRFC Reds; with just seven available players (& Daniel unwell), this was going to be tough. Lewis in goal with Gibbo, Tom & Cash as our midfield with Kyle, Daniel & Archie up front meant we kicked-off with the blustery wind in our faces. Kyran & JR were on holiday and Tobi unavailable.

The Reds were certainly up for the match: they were more determined than the Rooks seemed and were causing plenty of problems with some neat, passing football. Cash made some awesome covering tackles and this seemed to get the Rooks fired-up; Lewis made some good stops, the rest of the lads worked hard but still the Reds were on top. It was no surprise when they took the lead with a well-worked goal after 10 minutes. The Rooks were playing with their backs to the wall but suddenly woke-up! We began to get to grips with the wind, started to put some passes together and looked dangerous. On 15 minutes, a good move down our left saw Daniel pick-up the ball wide about half-way inside the Reds half; he fought his way along the sideline, cut-in along the goal line and hammered home a left-footed strike into the far top corner. Great goal! Rooks’ tails were now up and we were on top for the first time in the game; just three minutes later, a half-cleared move saw the ball find its way to Tom and he powered-in a fabulous right-footed effort for a 2-1 lead. The Reds hadn’t given up; in the final minute of a competitive first half, they deservedly got a well-finished equaliser for 2-2.

With the wind now behind Lewis, his booming drop kicks could become a potent weapon but we sent the Rooks out to enjoy the game, pass the ball and attack: they had listened! We looked much more accomplished in this half and were looking to move the ball around, make runs behind the defence and get some crosses into the danger area. The Rooks still needed to be at their best as the Reds were making things as difficult as any team we’ve faced and just wouldn’t give up. All the Rooks played really, really well in this half; the passing was great to watch, the movement was good and the intention to attack obvious. Both sides created chances to score; perhaps the Rooks created one or two more during the second half but the Reds still kept going forward & competing for the final 20 minutes. Overall, a 2-2 draw was a fair result.

Both sets of players did Nascot Wood proud today; the spirit was great, the football exciting and the match entertaining. It’s very hard to single out any Rook for extra praise; they were all superb today but Cash had that little bit extra about him: he refused to be beaten, he kept chasing back and he was also good to watch going forward so he gets a personal MotM only just ahead of an “everyone” award.

We’re at home at Woodside against Oakhill Tigers Warriors on Sunday 6th November with an 11:45AM kick-off. There’s a very good chance I won’t be able to make the match due to work commitments so Phil’s been volunteered to ref, Jeff will do the score card & result whilst Paul & John will manage the team and receive our guests. All we need now is someone to write a report, get the goals & kit away if we’re last on and make sure we win!

My brother Neil will take training on Saturday at the usual time (10:00AM to 12:00PM); please pay him all your attention and make sure you listen well, practise with a smile and don’t injure each other!

Come on you Rooks!!
Sunday 23rd October 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR v. Hemel Aces0 - 3 Jack Gibbons
Match Report: 
Watford Town Cricket club, Woodside. WFL Purple division, Sunday 23rd October 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

Our first league match of the season saw us at home to fellow qualifying group contenders, Hemel Aces. After beating us 1-3 during the League Cup stages, this was a chance to get our own back! Lewis started as ‘keeper but we changed the usual formation for two lines of three: Gibbo, Daniel & JR as the midfield with Cash, Archie & Tom up front with Kyle as the lone sub as Kyran & Tobi were not available today.

Aces kicked-off uphill and the new Rooks formation seemed to be working well; there was more support and some of the “will to win” from training had been carried into the match. There was good football played by both teams and Rooks stayed in the action. Aces had their chances but we managed a few as well; Cash, Archie & Tom showed good movement to create some half-chances around the edge of the box as well as some good shots & crosses that didn’t quite make the target. Kyle (on for Cash) hit a super shot on the turn from a corner to force the Aces ‘keeper into a save and the boys kept trying to play. Meanwhile, Lewis was kept busy at the other end; Aces hit the post & it rolled along the line before being cleared, they took some very good corners that needed defending and Lewis dealt well with anything that came his way. After 20 minutes of good football, it stayed as it started – goalless.

Aces caught us napping at the start of the second period with a 21st minute goal that was doubled for 0-2 on four minutes later. They were now playing some great stuff and looking dangerous from all positions; Gibbo smuggled one off the line, everyone fought hard but we seemed not as competitive. Lewis was kept more involved in this half; he made some great stops including an absolute stunner from a magnificent free kick. We did manage some breaks and tried to threaten the Aces goal; there were a couple of times when a quick pass may have set Archie, Tom, Cash or Kyle (when he replaced Cash, of course!) free. Aces got a superb third goal on 38 minutes to really kill the game off.

MotM goes to Gibbo; he’s been one of our most consistent performers this season, gets stronger with each game and doesn’t mind where he plays. Kyle & Cash both ran him very close; they battled well, harried the Aces and tried their hardest whilst Lewis was on top form along with Archie, Daniel, JR & Tom.

As this was the first time we’d played this formation, I was encouraged by how well it worked in the first half. I’d rather be positive and try to win than try not to lose so we’ll stick with this way of playing, make it work and cause lots of problems for the opposition. We have a squad that is more than capable of winning matches; we need to remain calm, use the time & space available, work on our calling, passing & movement and score more than we let in. Simple, really!!

We’re away to Nascot Wood Rangers Red which is scheduled for a 10:30AM kick-off at Queens’ School, Aldenham Road – might be a trip back in time for some of the families? Think the pitch will be on the North side for those ex-pupils in the know but for those that don’t, it’s not the bit containing the Power League! Meet at Queens’ no later than 10:15AM please – with Kyran, JR and Tobi all not available, we’ll have no subs so an early night’s sleep and a good breakfast is required!

Come on you Rooks!!
Sunday 16th October 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
St. Albans City North v. NWR4-0 Tom Simmons
Match Report: 
Watford Town Cricket club, Woodside. WFL Challenge Cup, Preliminary round, Sunday 16th October 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

Cup fever at Woodside saw us in the preliminary round with a tough test against a City side in the blue division after a good League Cup series in what looks to have been a very even group; would we compete well? Lewis, JR, Cash, Daniel, Archie, Tom & Kyle started the match with Gibbo & Tobi as subs and Kyran not available.

Rooks took the kick-off and looked in good form; we were positive, strong and working as a team. However, it was obvious City would not lie-down and they played some excellent stuff to match us. The half flowed from end-to-end; both sides enjoyed a fair tackle and wanted to win the game but play it in the right spirit. Rooks were beginning to make some half-chances with good running but couldn’t quite find the final, decisive pass or that little bit of luck to make a clear chance. In the ninth minute, a good Rooks counter-attack saw the ball reach Tom in the box; he controlled well and shot at goal where the ‘keeper got something on it. As a referee, you have to be absolutely not almost certain when making a decision; I felt the ball probably crossed the line but couldn’t be totally sure from the position I was in so I couldn’t give it. Apart from Tom, no-one wanted the goal more than me; he deserved it as much as the team but that, I’m afraid, is football – sometimes cruel but never boring. From then, we still competed, battled well and kept City out for a goalless half.

The second half started in a blur; City were playing uphill and we needed to be more positive but they seemed to have that little bit more belief than us. Slowly, they took the game to us and scored their first on 24 mins followed by three more on 29, 37 & 39 minutes. We kept trying; some good approach play was in evidence but we tried to do too much when an easier option would create more. Tom hit a post and forced the City ‘keeper to make two great stops (the second was breath-taking from close range following Archie’s cross) that would have changed the game.

Overall, we competed but still seem to hesitate compared against our training sessions; we play some good stuff in training, are tough to knock-off the ball and pass well. All we need to do is transfer this to each match; be positive, don’t wait for the ball, use the time & space available and we’ll give every team a tough match. City are a good, strong team who moved the ball well at the right times; that’s what we need to do in future.

The second tough decision today was for MotM: lots of effort with positives to take-away for everyone but the award goes to Tom; he kept working hard in attack & defence and just shaded it over his team-mates.

Next week’s match sees the start of our Purple division campaign against Hemel Aces at home; scheduled for an 11:45AM kick-off, this is our chance to over-turn the 1-3 defeat from two weeks ago. Please arrive at the cricket club no later than 11:15AM.

Our division looks evenly matched; with more self-confidence, we can do as well as any team so let’s concentrate on playing our best football on the match pitch not the training pitch: use training sessions to sharpen your individual skills & teamwork whilst keeping the positive attitude and “will to win” for Sunday’s games. We have no reason to start a game as second-best; football matches are won through teamwork, confidence and a positive attitude. Sure, bad luck can get in the way (along with ref’s without assistants to signal a goal) but always be proud to be a Ranger and believe in yourselves.

A reminder to all Rooks that haven’t already paid: your membership fees are now overdue so please ensure payment is made this Sunday. If you have any questions about fees, please ring my mobile number.


Sunday 9th October 2005

Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. Harvesters East3-2Archie Ring – 7 mins
Jack Richards – 12 & 39 mins

Jack Richards
Match Report: 
Watford Town Cricket club, Woodside. WFL League Cup, Group F, Sunday 9th October 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

This season’s first home game on our “proper” pitch at the cricket club saw us start with Gibbo in goal; Kyran at the back; JR, Daniel & Cash across the middle with Archie & Kyle up front. Tom started as sub along with Lewis (missed the kick-off due to other commitments) and Toby was unavailable.

Rooks kicked-off and were very positive in all they did but found Harvesters a much tougher challenge than their previous results suggested; in fact, this was an evenly matched fixture between two teams capable of some very good football. In what proved to be an entertaining encounter, the ball was moved from end-to-end by both teams using accurate passes and plenty of skill but Rooks were able to create more clear openings; with a little more composure in front of goal, we may have taken the lead before Archie’s clinical strike on 7 minutes. The Rooks’ midfield trio were working effectively together and making the link between defence & attack; we continued creating chances but found East’s ‘keeper in good form and backed-up by stout defending. On 12 minutes, JR made superb run from the right side, skipped passed a few tackles, made his way to the box and finished for 2-0. This seemed to inspire a Purple’s purple patch (sorry – been waiting two seasons to get that one into a report somewhere!) where everything we tried going forward seemed to work except the final pass or finish. Archie made way for Tom on 15 minutes; Tom then proceeded to hit one post with his first shot, force the ‘keeper to a great save with his next from the rebound then force a corner. We were becoming a little out of shape as we pressed forward but the half finished with Gibbo only having one real save to make.

The second half started with Lewis in goal, Kyran still at the back but the midfield was now Tom, Daniel & JR with Gibbo & Kyle up front. Archie & Cash started as subs. East kicked-off and were straight into the attack; we seemed to have left our positive attitude on the touchline at half-time and East caught us cold on 26 minutes for 2-1. We did play some attractive football but we were just too late with the final killer ball or looking to go passed one man too many. East grew in confidence; their attacks began to press us back toward our own goal and we were getting more out of shape as this continued. Daniel made a superb covering tackle to stop an attack with a well-timed sliding challenge on the edge of our box that was matched a few minutes later by Archie; each time, we scrambled it clear but East deservedly equalised with a very well-worked goal on 38 minutes. Daniel again had to make a recovery tackle before we put-together a few passes, attacked and forced a final minute corner; Archie floated in beautifully to the middle & JR rose like the proverbial salmon to head home for 3-2 and a big sigh of Purple relief! It wasn’t over; East attacked again, got repelled but caused some panic with an injury-time free kick from their left side that Daniel volleyed clear. Phew!

What a game! Two very sporting teams played some good football and both teams deserved a win; it was harsh on East to concede in the 39th minute but we had probably created a few more chances and, on balance, maybe today deserved our good luck. All the boys played brilliantly today and deserve an “everyone” MotM but I feel JR had such a superb match & scored two vital goals, he gets it by a whisker.

Next week, we are at home to St Albans City North in the Challenge Cup preliminary round. Kick-off will be 11:45AM; please arrive no later than 11:15AM. Extra time & penalties may be played as there has to be a result on the day; please bring all your energy!!

A reminder to all Rooks that haven’t already paid: your membership fees are now overdue so please ensure payment is made this Sunday. If you have any questions about fees, please ring my mobile number.

Sunday 2nd October 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Hemel Aces v. NWR Rooks3 - 1Jack Richards – 40 minsDaniel Greig
Match Report: 
Bellgate School, Hemel Hempstead. WFL League Cup, Group F, Sunday 2nd October 2005 kick-off 11:00AM

Having never faced Aces before, this was a trip into the unknown but on a pleasant, clear autumn morning and a good playing surface, we hoped for the best. Lewis stayed ‘between the sticks’ with Gibbo sweeping; Cash started at left midfield, Daniel (captain) in the centre and JR on the right with Tom just in front and Kyle as the lone striker. Archie & Kyran started as subs with Toby unavailable.

From the start, it was apparent Aces were an accomplished football team; they moved the ball quickly & accurately, worked good positions and made the most of their chances to good effect. The early exchanges looked good for both teams; Kyle stuck to his task of pulling their defender all over the pitch but we were unable to make our possession tell count. On seven minutes, Aces worked the ball forward, caught us out of position and finished well for 0-1. The rest of the half saw us having to work hard in defence and play on the break; JR in particular made a couple of fine breaks but he got isolated so we couldn’t fully capitalise. We swapped Archie for Kyle on 10 minutes to see if we could spark into life; we didn’t really create a clear chance but it looked hopeful. Daniel took a tumble and an accidentally-trodden elbow injury on 18 minutes that forced him off with Kyran replacing him.

Rooks started the second half as we finished the first; same line-up but we conceded an early second on 21 minutes followed by a killer third on 26. Both were conceded whilst we were out of position and out-numbered at the back; Daniel came back on for Cash on 28 minutes to see if we could fight our way back into the game but we still had problems with the Aces movement & quick passing plus we couldn’t get our own passes to target. We did seem to raise our spirits a bit after the third and Daniel made a strong, surging run from halfway through several tackles that allowed a four-man Rooks advance on goal inside the last minute; Daniel slipped the ball to JR who finished coolly for 1-3.

All in all, we fought hard but lacked the self-confidence we have in training when we seem able to pick our passes, play great football, shoot with accuracy and make the ‘keeper work. Aces are a very tough side; mobile, strong, confident and skilful, they are (in my opinion) on a par with Echoes in our group. The big pitch should have suited our passing game; instead, we got too far apart from each other, waited for the ball to come to us rather than go get it and we let our opponents have too much space. We should be more confident in our ability, develop a more positive attitude right from the start of each game but remember to respect the opposition at all times (on & off the pitch).

Lewis had another great game, Gibbo stuck at his defensive duties, Cash, Kyran, & Archie all worked hard in the middle whilst Tom & Kyle did their best when they had the ball. JR had a super game but was just pipped as MotM by Daniel; both showed leadership & strength on the pitch but Daniel had the slight edge as he lifted the team after we conceded the third goal.

Next week, we are at home to Harvesters East; our first game inside the cricket club at Woodside and it’s our last League Cup Group F game. Kick-off will be 11:45AM; please arrive no later than 11:15AM and we may make some positional changes for this game.

Training is 10:00AM to 12:00PM on Saturday at Radlett Road. For future fixtures, if you cannot make either training or the match, please let me know by Thursday evening at the latest.

A reminder to all Rooks that haven’t already paid: your membership fees are now overdue so please ensure payment is made this Sunday. If you have any questions about fees, please ring my mobile number.

Sunday 25th September 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
NWR Rooks v. Echoes Amber1 - 4Lewis Cowper – 3 minsLewis Cowper
Match Report: 
Woodside, Garston. WFL League Cup, Group F, Sunday 25th September 2005 kick-off 14:45AM

Another tough test against an Echoes side that beat us 0-4 at the same stage of last season and who were yet to concede a goal in this qualifying competition; could we turn it round? Lewis started in goal, Gibbo in defence, Kyran, Daniel & JR in the middle with Archie just in front of them and Tom up front. Cash & Kyle once again started as subs with Toby unavailable.

Echoes took the kick-off and looked accomplished as they moved forward menacingly. We got our tackles in and fought hard for the ball before an Echoes attack ended in Lewis’s save; he strode to the edge of his box and unleashed a right-footed howitzer that bounced over the stranded Echoes ‘keeper into the net a la Pat Jennings for a 1-0 Rooks lead. Blimey! Echoes seemed a little disturbed for a few minutes and we managed to get some good forward movement but began to lose our shape; the midfield got pulled around and we became stretched with no options for an easy pass. Lewis was being worked hard in goal but stood up to everything until the 13th minute when he could do nothing to prevent an equaliser. From then, Echoes took control and we found it difficult to keep the ball; Lewis made one sensational stop where he turned a goal-bound effort over the bar and the rest of the team tried as hard as they could to keep the match level but, a minute before half-time, we half-cleared another cross, the ball bounced loose to the Echoes captain mid-way in our half and he hit an unstoppable shot for 1-2. Rolling subs allowed Cash & Kyle to come into the action in the first half to see if added energy would help but Echoes had the ability to keep the ball, make their passes and play good, organised team football.

We kicked-off the second half hoping for an improved team display and it looked like, with Lewis’s help and some close escapes, we may be able to snatch an equaliser on a break. Echoes scored a third on 31 minutes and their fourth just two minutes later after which we seemed to drop our heads before encouragement from all sides got us going again; we even managed to string some passes together but always seemed on the back foot against good opposition.

Lewis had a fabulous game overall whilst all the lads fought as hard as they could but it wasn’t our day today. As mentioned last week, we tend to lose our shape and confidence against teams who can pull us around the pitch; we need to remember we ARE a good team who can play good football. We train well, are a happy, energetic team and need to have more confidence in our own abilities.

Next week, we are away to Hemel Aces, at Bellgate School, Highfield, Hemel Hempstead in League Cup Group F with kick-off at 11:00AM and not 9:30AM as published. We plan to leave the Tudor Arms around 10:15AM latest to arrive for 10:45AM.

Training is 10:00AM to 12:00PM on Saturday at Radlett Road. For future fixtures, if you cannot make either training or the match, please let me know by Thursday evening at the latest.

A reminder to all Rooks that haven’t already paid: your membership fees are now overdue so please ensure payment is made this Sunday.

Sunday 18th September 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Evergreen Juniors  v. NWR Rooks1 - 1

Own goal – 24 mins

Archie Ring
Match Report: 

Evergreen, South Way, Abbotts Langley WFL League Cup, Group F, Sunday 18th September 2005 kick-off 10:45AM

Last season saw us lose to Juniors twice so this away fixture would be a good early season indicator of how far we’ve improved during the summer. Keeping the team that finished last weekend’s fixture against Borehamwood after a tremendous display meant Lewis started in goal, Gibbo the lone defender, Kyran, Daniel & JR across the middle with Archie linking between them and Tom up front. Cash & Kyle started as subs with Toby unavailable.

Rooks kicked-off and it was obvious this would be the interesting match we expected as both teams looked evenly matched; good football from both sides, played in the right spirit meant the crowd were entertained. Rooks didn’t seem to be quite as powerful going forward this week; that was probably due to the organised opponents who caused more problems for us. We needed to be on our toes throughout the half with teamwork, tackles and chasing back a necessity. However, we did play some good stuff; we made some chances and Archie smacked a thunderous left-foot drive against the post after a cracking move down the right wing. Evergreen got their reward for their hard work with two minutes left and we went into half-time 0-1 down.

JR made way for Cash form the re-start with Kyran switching to the right-side of midfield. The second half followed the first almost exactly; both sides looked to go forward, left some gaps but managed to get back to put in vital challenges. On 24 minutes, Tom hit a goal-bound effort which the ‘keeper parried and the ball then pin-balled around the box before hitting a defender and giving us a well-deserved equaliser. The pattern of the match remained the same. On 35 minutes, Kyle replaced the hard-working Tom up-front and their were some near-misses around our goal but also some slim chances to break from the middle to get a Rooks’ winner but the game finished even at 1-1. In hindsight, a fair result.

Lewis looked more than capable in goal whilst making some good stops & kicking well and Gibbo fought hard (having recovered form a niggling midweek ankle injury, he stuck at his job well). Daniel marshalled the midfield well and all the lads – JR, Kyran & Cash – supported him well. Archie put in a superb all-action display, Tom ran his socks off whilst Kyle got in some crucial blocks and tackles.

Overall, a fair result for both teams which shows just how far the boys have progressed in only their second season together. They can play football and score goals from all over the pitch. My only criticism is we “lose our shape” a little too easily and need to remember our positions; if we get too “narrow” across the pitch, we’ll leave the wings free but if we get too many gaps up & down the pitch, we can’t make simple passes and keep the ball – which we’re very good at in training.

Next week, we are at home to Echoes Amber in League Cup Group F with kick-off at 11:45AM; be at Woodside no later than 11:15AM and please note we are NOT inside the cricket club until our next home match on October 9th. Training is 10:00AM to 12:00PM on Saturday at Radlett Road. For future fixtures, if you cannot make either training or the match, please let me know by Thursday evening at the latest.

A reminder to all Rooks that membership fees are due by end of September, please, and that selection for matches is based on the criteria set-out in the recent newsletters; ability, attitude, behaviour & enthusiasm in training and matches counts toward the next team selection as we use this year to prepare for 11-a-side football next season.


Sunday 11th September 2005Result:Scorers:Man Of The Match:
Rooks v. Borehamwood2 - 0

Daniel Greig – 29mins
Tom Simmons – 37 mins

Daniel Greig
Match Report: 

Woodside playing fields, Horseshoe Lane, Garston. WFL League Cup, Group F, Sunday 11th September 2005 kick-off 11:45AM

Déjà vu! Last season’s first Rooks competitive match was against ‘wood at home and, after training together since July 24th but not having played any friendly matches, we lined-up with Lewis in goal, Gibbo as a lone defender\sweeper, Cash, Daniel, Archie & JR across the middle and Tom alone up front. Kyran was sub with Toby & Kyle not available today.

‘wood kicked-off up the slope after winning the toss and looked organised & quick going forward. However, we looked really sharp and started creating chances through some very, very assured football; maybe the manager will have to change his name to “Boothroyd”?! What was most pleasing was we kept on creating chances, working hard for each other and restricted ‘wood to very few clear-cut openings; Lewis didn’t have to make a clear-cut stop in the first half. Our only worry was we didn’t convert anything. Tom hit a stunning shot against the bar, Archie went close several times, Daniel & JR tried from distance with Cash supporting well whilst Gibbo picked-off anything loose at the back (and even allowed the ball to run out-of-play very professionally!). Wood made some subs toward the end of the first half but didn’t get much change out of an organised & workmanlike Rooks team.

We switched to a 3 man midfield at half-time (Kyran replaced Cash on the left, Daniel & JR in the middle & right) that allowed Archie to roam in the spaces behind Tom. Kyran picked-up the tempo right away (and hit a screaming volley just wide) and all the lads looked assured in everything they did; even uphill!

A superb move (one of many) on 29 minutes involving JR, Archie, Daniel & Tom let Daniel into the box for a very calm finish for 1-0. Rooks carried on pressing; we were still looking more dangerous than ‘wood but they were also playing well – when we let them have the ball!

Lewis again had little to save but his work was always top drawer; Daniel & Gibbo seemed to equal to anything down the middle and JR & Kyran kept the flanks under control which meant Archie from slightly deeper could support Tom – and they both terrorised the defence!

On 37 minutes, Tom got on the end of another fine Rooks move and made up for his first-half “bang on the head” with a great finish for 2-0. The final few minutes were played-out with Rooks happy to press ‘wood hard and keep a clean sheet.

Reflections? Fantastic football, team spirit in bucket-loads and a smile on everyone’s faces throughout the match. We seem to be gelling as a team, understanding what we can do, when we need to help each other and have a lot more confidence. We began to play the type of football we manage in training sessions; we still have work to do on the training ground to improve our touch, communication and skills but they lads put it together where it mattered most – out on the pitch in a competitive game.

Next week, we’ll be away to Evergreen Juniors in League Cup Group F for a 10:45am kick-off.
Meet at their ground (South Way, Abbotts Langley) no later than 10:30AM, please.
Training is 10:00am to 12:00pm on Saturday at Radlett Road.

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