2006 2007 UNDER 11 Rooks


Can all Rooks to let me know if they are NOT  available for all future training or matches from today as soon as they can; I will assume everyone is available for every date unless I hear otherwise.

As a reward for some good performances this season and in the past, the Rooks are in U11 White division which is division 2 out of 5. It seems were going to be challenged this season by some good quality opposition; I know we can rise to this challenge and there's every reason to aim high and plan to achieve a fantastic season.

Come on!

Please note the LEA secondary school entry test is Saturday 25th November; there will be no training that day. Additionally, I need to know who is sitting any of the individual school aptitude tests as this may mean we have to cancel other sessions as well.

Cheers, Sean


Sun 1st Oct. - Home v St Albans City East in League Cup Grp F. Kick-off 11.30am
Sun 8th Oct. - Away at Croxley Guild Cougars in League Cup Grp F. Kick-off TBC.

Sun 15th Oct. - Away at Aldenham Athletic Kick-off TBC.
Sun October 22nd - Home v Hemel Aces Lions Kick-off TBC.
Sunday Oct 29th - away to Harvesters (1:00PM kick-off, White division)
Sunday Nov 5th - home to Echoes (will go for 10:00AM kick-off, White division)
Sunday Nov 12th - away to Hemel Aces Lions (believe 9:45AM kick-off, White division)
Sunday Nov 19th - away to London Colney (10:30 AM, friendly) - NOTE: Kick-off time has changed from 2:00PM to 10:30AM
Sunday Nov 29th - home to Harvesters (kick-off TBC but probably 10:00AM, White division)
Sunday Dec 3rd - away to Alexandra Park (kick-off TBC, White division)

Saturday 11th November - Sean cannot run training due to a family commitment; any volunteers?! if not, will have to cancel.
Saturday 25th November - no training due to secondary school consortium test for all Year 6 students.

Please advise Sean ASAP if you have plans to sit any individual school aptitude tests (e.g. Queens' sports test on Saturday 18th November) as this may lead to other sessions being cancelled if numbers are too low.





WFL White division, Echoes, Woodside. Sunday 5th November kick-off 10:00AM. Rooks 2 Echoes 4 Jack Richards - 51 mins
Archie Ring – 52 mins (penalty)

Rooks Men of the Match: All 13 of them!

Our first home game in the White division saw us against Echoes; having lost to then several times over the last couple of seasons, this would be a good match to gauge progress. With Tobi & Tom F unavailable, Lewis, Gibbo, Daniel, Ryan, Kyran, Dod, Archie, JR, Jake, Tom S & Kyle R started in the usual 3-5-2 formation with Kyle L & Charlie as subs; we asked the guys to keep the ball, pass accurately & early, to work hard, stay organised and keep encouraging each other.

We kicked-off & looked pretty sharp with all the guys remembering the instructions and therefore we played some really good stuff in the first minutes: we seemed to have listened and learned the lessons from the previous matches. Gradually, Echoes found their feet and began to get back into the game; it was pretty even until they scored on 17 & 22 mins. There was a probably penalty when JR was bundled-over in their area but I was too far away to be 100% certain there hadn’t been a challenge from another player that had taken the ball clear – sorry Jack & the team!

0-2 down at half-time but the guys seemed a little more determined; they’d stood up to some fairly firm tackling and not buckled but had taken a few knocks. We swapped Kyle R for Kyle L up front and got back at it with the plan to stay as we were.

Echoes got underway and seemed to be very confident they could out-play & out-battle us but we stuck at it; Dod was forced to take a rest after a second heavy knock to his ankle and so Charlie made his home debut in midfield. Echoes did take control after 40 minutes and scored two further goals on 44 & 47 for a 0-4 lead. How would we react? The answer was: blooming well! We started to get a bit of passion & pride in our football; Archie had a good free kick deflected just wide then we broke well and JR finished on 51 mins. Then Tom broke into the box on 52 mins, got tackled late & from behind and Archie put the penalty away with composure for 2-4 with eight minutes left. We battled hard and it was great to see Echoes begin to lose their composure under some good pressure from us.

Echoes played good stuff, stay organised & probably just deserved the win but we showed we can hold our own at this level; with more performances like this, we’ll give everyone a tough match in the division.

All the Rooks showed the right attitude today along with better organisation, discipline and technique. They all stuck at it even when four down and this really should prove to them that not only can they play football but they can do it AS A TEAM! It was not possible to pick-out one or two for MotM so I’ve decided to give it to all of the guys as a thank you for their hard work and my pride (along with their families) in them as footballers & outstanding young men.

Come on, Nascot!

November 12th will see us make the trip to Hemel Hempstead to play Hemel Aces; kick-off is now set for 10:30AM so we’ll leave my home no later than 9:40AM. The venue is Belswains Primary School, Barnfield, Hemel Hempstead. Directions will be available at training on Saturday 11th; if going straight there, please arrive no later than 10:15AM.




WFL White division, Harvesters North, Smallford.
Sunday 29th October kick-off 1:00PM.
Harvesters North 5 Rooks 1 Tom Simmons – 14 mins

Rooks Men of the Match: Tom Simmons & Jack Gibbons

Following our week off, we travelled to Harvesters for an afternoon kick-off. With Tobi, Tom F, Kyle R, & Kyle L all unavailable, Lewis, Gibbo, Charlie (making his Rooks debut), Ryan, Kyran (today’s captain), Dod, Archie, JR, Jake, Tom & Daniel started in our usual 3-5-2 formation; we asked the guys to remember the lessons from Aldenham about keeping the ball, passing accurately & early, to work hard, stay organised and keep encouraging each other.

Against Harvesters 10 men, we started quite well again but then allowed them to dictate the flow of the game. We weren’t well-organised at set pieces and this lead to a number of chances from corners before they eventually scored on 8 mins. Some desperate defending allowed us to keep the score to 0-1 before an excellent break saw Tom put through on the right for a long run at goal which he finished with aplomb. We then fought hard to stay in the game and created a few possible breaks whilst restricting Harvesters to fewer chances.

The lads seemed a little “flat” at half-time; we asked them to cross the touchline ready to go & win the game by playing the type of football we know they are capable of: quick, decisive passing & movement with great team spirit & oodles of hard work & energy.

Once again, we started well but began to get drawn out of position; with around 15 mins left, we were 1-3 down so I switched to 4-4-2 to steady the ship. It didn’t work as well as hoped and we finished 1-5 behind.

Well played to Harvesters; they play good stuff, stay organised and know their jobs.

There were no really bad performances today; we just seemed hesitant and “flat”. Everyone put in effort but I felt that Tom S & Gibbo showed a little something extra today by being ready to do that little bit more to help team-mates and themselves. So they get a joint MotM.

After the match, we had a quiet chat: the team are more than capable of holding their own in this division but have to stay organised, help each other (by talking as well as covering), have more confidence in our ability and learn from the not-so-good days – like today. We really do play some good stuff in training but are often too “competitive”; I’d like to see this switch around so training is more disciplined & relaxed and keep the competitive side for matches.

We need to remember our positions on the filed, stay in them, adjust to the bigger pitches and different rules & tactics of 11-a-side: everyone knows what they are capable of individually as well as their team-mates so play to our strengths, protect the areas we’re still learning (set pieces, offside, staying in position, etc) and believe in the Rooks!!

Come on, Nascot!

November 5th will see us on our home pitch for the first time in the division against Echoes. Kick-off is set for 10:00AM, there is no ref (so I’ll do it) and I need all the players there by 9:30AM latest, please. I’ll be there from between 9:00AM & 9:15AM to start putting-up nets, flags, etc.

Also, the friendly against London Colney (away) on November 19th is now a 10:30AM kick-off not a 2:00PM. More details on arrangement closer to the date.




WFL White division, Aldenham Athletic, Aldenham.
Sunday 15th Oct. k/o 2:00PM
Aldenham Atheltic 5 Rooks 0  

Rooks Men of the Match: Jack Richards & Jake Griffiths.

Our first match in the U11 White division saw the short journey to Aldenham for an afternoon kick-off: we wanted a good performance from the Rooks in what we knew would be a big step forward in terms of quality. With Tobi & Kyle R not available, Lewis, Gibbo, Ryan, Kyran, Dod, Archie (skipper), JR, Jake, Kyle Langford, Tom & Daniel started in a 3-4-3 formation to see if this would generate more ammunition up front. We arrived to see a well-drilled warm-up routine on a smallish pitch with a large squad (in numbers & physical size in one case) of Aldenham players involved; blimey – multiple subs!

I felt we started brightly; getting to the ball well, tackling fairly, passing with vision and competing against good opposition. Gradually, Aldenham took control as we tired; four goals between the 10th & 22nd minutes really took the wind out of our sails but especially the harshly-awarded penalty. Without doubt, the ball hit Gibbo’s hand but he never took his eye off the ball, there was no movement of his hand to the ball and the hand was below waist height & behind him as the ball came over & glanced off the top of his head when challenged. By then, it was clear we would struggle to pull-back the three goals already conceded so it merely added insult to injury & soured what had been an entertaining first half.

Once I had calmed down and got into what needed to be said at half time, the Rooks were asked to communicate more with each other, defend with more organisation at set pieces and step-up to the physical challenge within the rules & spirit of the game.

Again, Rooks’ started well and were coping with the opposition’s strength & skill as well as creating a few half-chances of our own. We looked better organised and I felt we really stuck at the task with grit & determination. This was reflected by the fact they didn’t score their fifth (and arguably best goal) until there were only five minutes left and the fact that our team had no subs probably accounted for the lack of a challenge. We did create several half-chances during the second half & I felt we deserved at least two goals out of the game.

Aldenham were classy opposition; hopefully, we’ll work their defence even more & cause them further problems when we’ve grown our squad with the player’s now being registered.

Lesson from today are that we need to organise more at corners: there were too many Rooks in the six-yard box so we left too much space in & around the penalty spot & edge of the box. We tend to get too close together when defending; whilst this helps occasionally, it leaves gaps elsewhere to be exploited and makes it difficult to hold the ball further up field when cleared so we’re always on the back foot. We need to cross the line to start games with more intensity & keep this throughout the match; we need to believe in ourselves and take games by the scruff of the neck.

Having said that, our overall performance showed improvement again in the second half and everyone stuck at it; Jack Richards & Jake Griffiths really showed the spirit of the side by getting up after accidental clashes of heads to continue working hard and deserve a joint MotM award.

Come on, Nascot!

October 22nd sees us at home against Hemel Aces Lions; kick-off is to be confirmed yet as is the fixture as we may have just seven registered players available due to Scout camps and holidays for the school half term. I’ll confirm everything ASAP.

Please note LEA secondary school entry test is Saturday 25th November so no training that day. If anyone is sitting any of the individual school aptitude tests, please let me know as this may mean cancelling other sessions if only a few are available.





WFL League Cup, Croxley Guild, Croxley.
Sunday 8th October kick-off 10:00AM.
Croxley Cougars 2 Rooks 2 Kyle Langford – 19 mins
David O’Donnell – 24 mins

Rooks Men of the Match: Kyle Langford & Kyle Reynolds

With Jake & Tobi unavailable, Lewis, Gibbo (today’s captain), Ryan, Kyran, Dod, Archie, JR, Kyle Langford, Tom, Kyle Reynolds & Daniel started in a 3-5-2 formation & a plan to work hard as a team, pass the ball, encourage and enjoy the match. As part of the need to see people in different positions, some of the lads were asked to adapt to play out of their “comfort zone” so we have an idea what we can do if there are days when we are short – again!

It was obvious from our kick-off that both sides would probably be evenly matched today; Croxley showed good movement, a physical but generally fair approach and good teamwork. The Rooks were up for the challenge and began to play some quite nice stuff at times. Lewis was called into action to make a couple of good stops whilst Ryan, Kyran & Dod worked hard to mop-up Croxley’s attacks. It was slightly against the run of play that Croxley finished a move for a 0-1 lead on 13 minutes; how would the Rooks respond to being one down again? They answered well; we started to mount our own attacks and press Croxley and it was a good finish by Kyle L on 19 mins that brought us level and a cracking finish by Dod on 24 mins that took us to half-time 2-1 in front.

Half-time saw us reminding the Rooks to keep their positions, be first to the ball, pass & cross when able and to carry-on working hard for each other.

The second half was a rather more tense affair with the Rooks starting well but then Croxley came back before it became a game where both sides were never in control but still creating chances and working very hard. It was looking like we may grab a probably-deserved win until Croxley were awarded a penalty on 52 mins that was well-struck & gave Lewis no chance. From distance, it looked a little harsh but especially when JR was similarly upended a few minutes later. In the end, 2-2 was probably fair on both teams.

Well played, Croxley; they worked hard for each other, have some good players and never gave up.

Once again, the basics are improving for the Rooks but we do still get dragged out of position and need to concentrate on the game more; we get caught too often not recovering to our own position, looking the wrong way, not thinking quickly enough or waiting for the ball. We need to have more belief in ourselves, make decisions and play for the whole 60 minutes as a team.

The overall performance showed improvement and all the Rooks played to their potential; MotM was a very tough decision but it goes jointly to Kyle Langford & Kyle Reynolds for both working hard for the team, trying their very best and they kept going.

C’mon the Purple Army!!!





WFL League Cup, Woodside.
Sunday 1st October kick-off 11:30AM.
Rooks 0 St Albans City East 8  

Rooks Man of the Match: Kyran Leech & Jake Griffiths



Is it really October already – blimey!! Today’s latest U11 League Cup Group F qualifier saw us at home for the visit of St Albans City East; their record showed this would be a tough test for the Rooks. With only Tobi unavailable, Lewis (captain for the day), Gibbo, Ryan, Dod, Archie, JR, Kyran, Kyle Langford, Tom, Jake, Kyle Reynolds & Daniel took to the field with Kyle R starting as sub. I changed the usual 3 at the back to 4 with Ryan & Gibbo as full backs and Daniel & Dod just in front as advanced centre-backs; the idea was to give us a “longer” spine with the ability to push forward and help Jake & JR in the midfield. Kyle L was on the left, Kyran on the right and Tom & Archie up front.


The first few minutes were evenly-contested & Rooks looked up for the test. However, St Albans were soon exploiting spaces as their excellent movement off the ball pulled us around the pitch; they took the lead on 3 mins and, one well-saved Kyle L effort aside, we didn’t really put pressure on their ‘keeper. Gradually, we were stretched and the ball never seemed to stay far enough away from our goal to give us time to assess & change things. Lewis was making his customary super saves and the team were working hard individually but there was little  sign of a team performance; we ended the half 0-3 down.


Half time saw Kyle R replace Kyle L and the formation change back to 3-5-2; instructions were to hold our positions, pick a City player each to mark, stick with him and get back on terms – at least mentally, if not in terms of goals.


We started brightly and looked like we may press City more but it didn’t last long as they scored with 5 minutes of the restart and again, we were in damage limitation mode. City scored goal at regular intervals, we didn’t make any clear chances and were beginning to get pulled around the pitch again. What looked like a serious neck injury to a City player saw us more affected by the stoppage; we seemed to lack the cohesion a team needs. Lewis suffered a nasty cut on a knee and was replaced for the final two goals by Gibbo with Kyle L back on at left midfield. The final score was 0-8; definitely not what we would have liked.


City were a great example of teamwork, effort, support, communication & passing; in short, what we hope to become – I’m sure they will do well this season.


Us? Simply this: believe in ourselves, have more confidence but – above all – practice well on Saturday, understand what we need to do to improve then put it into the match on Sunday. We need to talk more on the pitch, improve our awareness of team mates & opponents, pass the ball and play as a team. Today we put in lots of good individual effort but we were generally second to every loose ball or wanted too much time: we must go and win the ball then use it well.


Today’s MotM goes to Kyran & Jake; they battled hard, tried to play some football & worked hard for their mates.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!


Next weekend should be an away match against Croxley Cougars; scheduled for a 10:00AM kick-off but I will confirm on Saturday. Suggest we all get to the ground for 9:40AM (we played Croxley Jaguars there last Sat 23rd) and park in the community centre: enter via New Road then right into Barton Way then left into Community Way and on to the end of the road.


Gentle reminder: if anyone owes their first or next subs payment, could you please get this to me no later than October 15th. Many thanks.





WFL League Cup, Woodside.
Sunday 24th Sept 2006 kick-off 10:00AM.
Rooks 6 Hemel Aces Tigers 0

Jack Richards – 3 mins

Archie Ring – 29 & 58 mins

Tom Simmons – 34 & 50 mins

David O’Donnell – 57 mins

Rooks Man of the Match: JR


Another home game in the League Cup saw Lewis, Gibbo, Ryan, Dod, Archie, JR (captain for the day), Kyran, Kyle Langford & Tom available. Jake, Daniel, Tobi & Kyle Reynolds were unavailable today. Could we better the result from last Sunday when we had only 9 available?


In our now-familiar 3-4-1 line-up, Hemel kick-off and we wondered how we would fare against their 11. JR provided a good indicator when he crashed home a great effort in the 3rd minute and we never really looked back. Playing some good football with some great passing, we stretched Tigers through-out the half but we just seemed unable to convert the chances; they dug-in & defended really well to keep us out. It was no little reward when Archie finished another good move in the final minute of the first half for a 2-0 half-time lead.


Again, the half-time chat was about believing in ourselves, playing football but keeping organised and concentrate on the game at all times in all positions.


We kicked-off the second half looking like we meant business; determined to win the ball when we didn’t have it and to keep it when we did, we played good football but we were running with the ball a little too much and so missed passes to better-placed team mates. We kept Tigers penned back and created openings that we weren’t able to convert until Tom’s excellent finish on 34 mins. We put in some hard work to keep Tigers on the back foot and got our rewards when Tom got his second of the day on 50 mins, Dod crashed home another on 57 and Archie got a deserved second on 58 mins. With three ruled-out for offside, some over-elaboration in their penalty box and some good saves for the Tigers’ ‘keeper, we perhaps should have scored more but any clean-sheet is a good clean-sheet!!


Tigers deserve great credit for trying their very best throughout the 60 minutes; they should be proud of themselves for playing as well as they did.


Lessons from today are that we are a good side; we can play fantastic football when we believe in ourselves and have the ability to go on to get even better. We still need to play more as a team both in defence & attack; we had opportunities to find better-placed team mates with quicker, sharper passing and improved awareness. And we have to get to grips with the offside rule and that’s never easy to do – even at my age!


Once again, the lads made it difficult to pick a single MotM as they all played to their potential, kept at it and made all of our supporters very proud. However, I felt JR really took the captain’s responsibility on-board today and set a great example to his team. As outlined already, this season will be about performances as individuals but more importantly as a team; today has followed last Sunday as real proof we have now set a standard we can be proud of and maintain.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!


Next weekend sees us back to normal: training at Radlett Road on Saturday from 10:00AM to 12:00PM and another home match on Sunday 1st October against St Albans City East; kick-off will be 11:30AM so please arrive at Woodside between 11:00AM & 11:15AM.


Gentle reminder: if anyone owes their first or next subs payment, could you please get this to me no later than October 15th. Many thanks.





WFL Challenge Cup (preliminary rd), Croxley Guild. Saturday 23rd Sept 2006 kick-off 10:30AM.

Croxley Jaguars 5 Rooks 1

Tom Simmons 45 mins

Rooks Man of the Match: Lewis Copwer & Ryan Hill


Our re-scheduled midweek game saw us journey to Croxley for the first time with Lewis, Gibbo, Ryan, Daniel, Archie (captain for the day), Kyran, Kyle Reynolds, Kyle Langford, JR, Tom & Jake making 11 for only the second match. Dod & Tobi, were unavailable today.


We kicked-off and looked sharp in the opening exchanges; we created a few “half-breaks” that may have lead to goals with more luck. Eventually, a strong Jaguars team got into their stride and we began to get pegged-back in our half; the quality of their corners was high and they attacked well but we were holding our own in defence. Some good tackles, dogged defending and much effort kept the match at 0-0 until a good Jaguars move left Lewis with no chance in the 23rd minute. Half-time came as a relief from the battle and gave us a chance to remind the Rooks to keep it simple, move to the ball, use what time was available and keep believing.


The second half started as the first finished; Croxley kept attacking but the defence & Lewis in goal were keeping them at bay until they notched two goals in the 35th & 40th minutes for a 0-3 lead. On 45 mins, we got some reward and the hint of a comeback when Tom raced onto a great through ball, ran half the length of the pitch and tucked-away a classy effort for 1-3. This visibly lifted the Rooks but just two minutes late, we were 1-4 down with the last Jaguars goal coming in the 56th minute.


Jaguars gave us a good working-over; they played some neat, tidy football and worked to their strengths. Credit to them for their attacking instincts, the ability to shoot from distance and some excellent set pieces.


For the Rooks, the key lessons are pretty much the same as ever; more self-confidence, go & get the ball, use the time available and improve the awareness of team-mates in better positions. We need to keep our heads-up when playing against good opponents and make sure we finish the game proud of our effort & performance – both as individuals & as a team.


Today’s performance from all was quite good with everyone trying their best; there were good performances all over the pitch but the two that stood-out for me were Lewis in goal (again, some fantastic saves and no chance with any of the goals) and Ryan at right-back (refused to give up and made some great tackles).


We also have our second game of the weekend at home against Hemel Aces Tigers tomorrow morning at 10:00AM: please don’t be late as we have nets to put up etc! We won’t have a full 11 as Daniel, Kyle & Tobi won’t be able to make this one but that does give us 10 so we should be able to give a good account of ourselves.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!






Herts County Cup, Woodside playing fields. Sunday 17th Sept 2006 kick-off 11:30AM.

Rooks 3 Bishops Stortford Blue 4

David O’Donnell 39 & 49 mins, Kyran Leech 60 mins

Rooks Man of the Match: All nine of them!


With just nine available for the Rooks first Herts County Cup tie, we wondered how the team would react on such a big pitch and on another warm, sunny day. The available players were Lewis, Ryan, JR, Dod (captain for the day), Gibbo, Daniel, Kyran, Archie & Kyle Reynolds; Kyle Langford, Tobi, Jake & Tom were all unavailable today.


Rooks took the field with Lewis in goal and Ryan, Daniel, Gibbo & Dod in defence with Kyran, JR, Archie & Kyle across the middle as two banks of four and with a pre-match talk that amounted to “show us just what you’re capable of and do your very best. Work hard for each other & the team above all else” ringing in their ears. We had said the result didn’t matter; today was about a performance of heart, passion & pride in Nascot Wood. We kicked off and it was no surprise to me as we played some really good football whilst working supremely hard for each other. Time & again, the extra men of Blues came up against a purple wall that could not only break-down their attacks but began to start their own. It was disappointing to see us go 0-1 down to a well-worked effort on 8 minutes but we dug in & showed the “right stuff” all the way through to half-time and managed a couple of good moves that could have lead to an equaliser with more luck.


Half-time was simple: keep it up, believe in yourselves and the team. Again, we looked good while defending and showed some class going forward. Again, an early goal after 37 mins didn’t see us drop our heads; just two minutes later a good move saw Dod finish brilliantly for 1-2 and game on! We kept pressing hard & playing well and it became a classic end-to-end cup tie; on 43 mins, we slipped 1-3 behind but again put this behind us when Dod’s second made it 2-3 on 49 mins. Five minutes later, Blues got a good fourth goal but we again dug in and carried the fight forward with Kryan getting a last minute third for 3-4 with a couple of minutes injury time where Archie’s superb curling effort almost took us to extra time.


Congratulations to Blues, good luck for round two and in their League; they can play a bit! I think they realised they’d been in a real scrap and were as good winners as we were losers for both sides showed some serious respect for each other by shaking every hand.


Post-match, I found it difficult to express just how proud I was of every Rook on that pitch: they responded to the situation with courage, determination & skill and they all deserve to be happy with their performance as they all gave everything they each had. We’ve set a standard I’m certain we will maintain; the nine lads available today have shown what we are all about through this performance and we can keep improving week on week.


Two matches next weekend: Saturday sees us away at Croxley Jaguars in the re-arranged midweek match. Kick off is 10:30AM at Croxley Guild of Sport, The Green, Croxley so please be there for 10:10AM at the very latest. There are extra time & penalties if necessary as it’s a WFL Challenge Cup match. Obviously, this means no training at Radlett Road!


Sunday sees us back home again at Woodside for a 10:00AM kick-off against Hemel Aces Tigers in League Cup Group F. Please be at the ground for 9:30AM latest (nets to put-up!) and I’ll need someone to act as match delegate, another as assistant ref (aka linesman – or woman!), etc. I’m happy to ref as we don’t have a League ref allocated yet.


Let’s build on today, keep the team spirit at maximum and start playing the football we know we are capable of producing.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!


Date Result Scorers
WFL League Cup Group F, Sunday 10th Sept 2006 kick-off 1:00PM. Rooks 1 Chorleywood Scorpions 6 Archie Ring – 58 mins


 Rooks Man of the Match: Lewis Cowper


Our 11-a-side football debut; without having the chance for a “competitive” friendly, it was always going to be tough in our first match on the big pitch at Woodside. How would we cope under the hot afternoon sun against a team who (as I found out after the game) won their West Herts League division and Challenge Cup last season at U10? Our available players were Lewis, Ryan, JR, Dod, Gibbo, Jake, Daniel (captain for today), Kyran, Tobi, Archie & Kyle Reynolds with Kyle Langford starting as sub. Tom is on holiday until next weekend.


We kicked-off and started OK; we battled well against a strong, well-drilled & organised unit but it became obvious we’d be up against it after the first few minutes; our 3-5-2 approach became “all hands on deck to repel boarders”! Scorpions scored in the 16th, 25th & 28th minutes and I realised the Rooks needed to remember what we’ve been trying to teach them in training over the passed two seasons: confidence in our own ability, moving to win the ball not waiting for it, talking to each other, passing the ball well and supporting & encouraging each other all the time.


For the second half, Kyle L replaced Kyle R and we switched some players around but the game was generally played in our half; we had a few attacks that with more belief & against a better-matched opposition could have lead to goals but we didn’t really trouble the Scorpions ‘keeper in either half. We did keep them out until an unfortunate own goal on 47 mins made it 0-4 before Archie finished coolly on 58 mins for 1-4 & a glimpse of a comeback. With the added time working it’s way towards 5 minutes, there was hope we may nick another but rather cruelly we conceded two more on 63 & 65 mins (the second Scorpions penalty of the day: the first being well-struck but wide) to make the final score 1-6.


Scorpions are a powerful, athletic side who play good football but that’s what we are capable of, too. Once the League Cup qualifiers are over, I’m sure we’ll find the opposition more evenly matched with more opportunities to express & enjoy ourselves.


This is the first step on a new journey; the transition to 11-a-side was always going to need hard work, effort & concentration but above all time to adjust. We’ll need to move players around the pitch to find their best position, training needs utmost concentration so they find the game easier on a Sunday and they need all of us to support them from the sidelines through encouragement not criticism.


As for the players themselves, most showed the right attitude: defeat hurts but it shows courage to respect your opposition and acknowledge where you need to improve. We need every Rook to encourage their team mates to do their best during the game and to be able to say “I did my best”. I’m not so worried about results; it’s performances I’m looking at to see who has listened & understood what we’re teaching on Saturday mornings.


I know we all agree the score would have been worse but for the tremendous display Lewis gave in goal: brave, agile and heroic at times. That’s why he was today’s MotM over some of the other lads.


The next match is at home in the Herts County Cup on Sunday 17th September at 11:30AM. I know we’ll only have 10 available for this fixture but there’s every reason to believe in ourselves; Bishops Stortford are an unknown quantity so we’ll just have to keep our heads up, put in the hard work & do our very best.


C’mon the Purple Army!!!

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