Fans were back as SYACL Junior League action kicked off in Doncaster; and the sun shone on the Under 12’s & Under 16’s as the goals and tackles flew in.
The newly-formed Under 12 and Under 16 League’s made a fantastic start to their membership of the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League last Sunday, 3rd October; and, for the first time in 19 months, the games were watched by a huge crowd of parents and carers who made their own fantastic contribution to a brilliant atmosphere.
The SYACL had managed to keep the Under 7 and Under 5 competitions running during the earlier part of 2021 by respecting the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic, and it was great to see the players on the field after lockdown; but having the fans there on the first day of competition made the day all the more special, writes Margaret Gregory for www.syacl.com
The only downside to the afternoon was an unfortunate and accidental injury to Kai Hall, one of our players from Club Doncaster Titans, who we all wish a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back in action as soon as possible.
New League, new referee, Evan took the whistle for the Under-12 fixtures on Pitch 7 at the Goals Centre, with our good friend and referee’s secretary Sean Wright as the man in the middle for the Under-16 matches on Pitch 9. The SYACL used the middle pitch,8, as the holding area for spectators and players – this configuration had proved hugely successful during last season’s matches.
So, to the action; the opening Under-12 fixture saw Club Doncaster Titans edge a tight encounter with Hillsborough Hornets. Steph from Titans takes up the story. “A very close game was played between these two teams,” she told us. “It was end to end and a very entertaining game to watch. There were many chances for both teams and it was surprising that there were not more goals in this game. When the goal did arrive, it was scored by Jacob R and assisted by Jacob B.”
Hornets were delighted by the performance of their young Orange team. Head coach Alex Whitehead told www.syacl.com. “This was the very first time that the Under 12’s playing a match against anyone – and they performed amazingly! They learned a lot and are already looking forward to their next League fixture.
Next up for Titans was a tough match with Bradford City Claret, but this time the Titans were on the wrong end of the result. “This was a fairly one-sided game,” Steph admitted. “Club Doncaster Titans played very well, battled hard and created some good chances of their own against an exceptionally good Bradford team. In the end the better team won the game.”
Titans third game of the afternoon saw them beat Sheffield FC Red in another Pitch 7 thriller. “This was another end-to-end game of football,” Steph told us. ”Club Doncaster Titans players played fantastically and really looked like a team, playing and working together. They all worked really hard and loved every minute of it. Again, it was surprising that there were not more goals in this game with the number of chances created by both teams. When the goals did arrive, they were scored by Jacob R and Jacob B and both were assisted by Kellie.”
At the end of the nine fixtures, Bradford City Claret topped the table with three wins out of three, closely followed by Bradford City Blue, who played out a tight drawn game with Sheffield Red to drop their only points of the day before wins over Hillsborough Hornets Orange and Bradford City Wildcats.
Sheffield Red took the three points with a win over Bradford Wildcats, who ended the day level with Hillsborough Hornets after just failing to pick up a win, but both sides contributed hugely to a great afternoon of Under-12 action.
After three fixtures each, standings are as follows: –
Junior U12 Division
|1||Bradford City FITC Disability U12 Claret||3||3||0||0||3||9|
|2||Bradford City FITC Disability U12 Blues||3||2||1||0||2||7|
|3||Club Doncaster Titans Ability Counts FC||3||2||0||1||1||6|
|4||Sheffield FC Youth U13 SFCD U-13s Red||3||1||1||1||0||4|
|5||Bradford City FITC Disability U12 Wildcats||3||0||0||3||-3||0|
|6||Hillsborough Hornets Disability FC U12 O||3||0||0||3||-3||0|
Over on Pitch 9, the longer, game-of two halves Under 16’s League kicked off with a narrow win for Club Doncaster Titans over Hillsborough Hornets Yellow. Hornets Alex Whitehead told us “Alex scored for Hornets in the first half with Coley (twice) and Lewis [one] in the second half as the Hornets just failed to snatch a point. The match finished 5-4 and the Hornets made a brilliant second half comeback. We narrowly missed out on a draw.”
Titans Coach, Martin Taylor, told us “Titans’ goals came from James Cota, with two – one a penalty – two from Devon Fordham and one from Levi Benson. Both teams played some lovely football in this, the first League match back and both teams were a bit nervous to start off with. It was a close fought game which the final score showed.”
Hornets Black got off to the best possible start with a win over Sheffield FC Blue. A penalty from Nathan saw Hornets Black lead at the break, and goals in the second half from Luke, Zack and an own goal clinched the win.
Coach Alex was delighted “A brilliant game from the Hornets, composed and calm throughout and used the boards to their advantage. Nathan stepped up to take the penalty for the team.”
Hornets Yellow got on the winning trail with a win over Bradford City Amber in their next game, with Luke and an own goal seeing Hornets ahead at half time, and Coley and Enrique doubled the score in the second period. This was no easy win, as Alex reflected. “This was a tough physical match with a few injuries on both teams. Leah took a nasty knock to the ribs but soldiered on and was a machine in defence.”
Hornets Black closed out their day with a defeat to Club Doncaster Titans, Luke scored for Hornets in the first half, but three Titans goals clinched the points. Coach Alex was philosophical in defeat. “It was a tough game against Doncaster,” he admitted, “Luke scored his second goal of the day, but we couldn’t hold them up. Alice and Nathan were sterling in defence.”
Titans’ Coach Martin Taylor told us that James Cota, with two, and Devon Fordham had scored the goals which clinched the three points.
“In the second match the U-16’s played in honour of their team mate Kai Hall who got injured in the first match,” Martin added. “There was lovely football played in this match too. In both games they all had the team spirit, and I would like to say well done and well played today to everyone involved and I am so proud of you all.”
“I would like to thank all the parents / carers for their support, too.”
After the first round of two fixtures each, it’s Titans Ability Counts who lead the way with two wins, with Bradford City Amber in joint second place with three points thanks to their win over Sheffield FC Blue. The two Hornets teams are also on three points, leaving brave Sheffield Blue hoping to take points in the next round of fixtures.
Juniors U16 Division
|1||Club Doncaster Titans Ability Counts FC||2||2||0||0||2||6|
|2||Bradford City FITC Disability U16 Amber||2||1||0||1||0||3|
|3||Hillsborough Hornets Disability FC U16 Y||2||1||0||1||0||3|
|4||Hillsborough Hornets Disability FC U16 b||2||1||0||1||0||3|
|5||Sheffield FC Youth U16 SFCD Blue||2||0||0||2||-2||0|
Overall though, the three Hornets teams had enjoyed a great start to life in the SYACL, as Coach Alex summed up. “An amazing day was had by all, and we are super proud of the all the players who wore their Hornets colours with pride. We had some tears from the parents who never thought this could happen for their kids. Win, lose or draw the Hornets did us ALL proud today.”
“We can’t wait for the next round of fixtures!”
All Bradford City DFC 4 junior teams at the South Yorkshire Ability Counts Junior League had a great day; with Bradford City DFC Under 16’s played 2 – won 1 – lost 1.
With a big mixture of abilities, and it being the first time playing together, the team did well on the day. losing to Hillsborough Hornets and beating Sheffield FC.
Star player on the day was Jonathan, who really struggled in the first game, but scored 2 great goals in the second.
The Bradford City DFC Under 12’s Blues played 3 games – won 2 – drew 1.
Sara, the coach for the Blues said, “great team work, great footy played and lots of empathy towards other teams and lots of great behaviour.”
Star player on the day was Callum who scored a couple of goals in his first ever competitive games.
The Bradford City DFC Under 12s Clarets played 3 – won 3.
The Clarets went top of the league and played really well with some great football.
Star player was Freddie who scored most of their goals for the team, with some Messi like skills.
The Bradford City DFC 12’s Wildcats played 3 – lost 3.
Bev Dove, manager of the Wildcats said, “I just want to say thank you to all the girls in the Wildcats team at Doncaster. It’s tough being the only all girls team in the League, but you gave everything you had, so so proud of you all.”
The highlight of the day was little Jessica scoring against the Blues at the end of the day.
Well done all the players and coaches with some great football played on a lovely sunny day for football.
And so say all of us. We’ll see our Junior teams back in action at the beginning of November; but next Sunday, attention turns to the 7-a-side League and a full afternoon of fixtures across three divisions at Concord Sports Centre, Shiregreen Lane, Sheffield.
The action starts at 1.30 pm, and you can stay in touch with the action on Twitter @SYorksACL or here at www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com. In the meantime, if you have any features or pictures, why not send them to Margaret via the contact form on the Website.