Junior SYACL Divisional Competition a great success at Goals Sheffield

Club Doncaster Titans edge Under-16’s Play-Off with Hornets Yellow
Under 12 glory for Bradford Wildcats in Group A; honours even in Group B

If our South Yorkshire Ability Counts Chairman Mike Stylianou had planned nail-biting finishes in the three Junior Division Tournament at Goals Sheffield last weekend, he couldn’t have done a better job.

The Under-16’s competition went to a play-off, and in the two Under-12’s tournaments, a late goal and a point separated first and second, and in the second Under-12’s group, the spoils were shared by agreement after nothing could split the three sides.

Our intrepid @SYorksACL reporters fed their summaries of the action to our website editor, Margaret Gregory, who sums up another thrilling morning.

It was thrilling stuff, but the event was subsequently overshadowed by the sad loss of one of our City Knights players, Ewan Hadfield. Ewan’s memory will be commemorated ahead of Sunday’s 7-a-side Divisional tournament at Concord Sports Centre.

The tournament also saw a minute applause for those suffering as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the players paying their respects to the victims of a cruel conflict.

In the Under-16’s competition, Hillsborough Hornets Black got off to a cracking start, winning both of their opening fixtures against welcome new-guys Barton Inclusive Hull and Sheffield DAFC Blue. Hornets Yellow had obviously had their Weetabix too, with wins over Sheffield Blue and Bradford City Amber, watched by Bradford’s coach Paul Jubb.

Paul told us, “We once again came to Sheffield with a young side and a couple of new players. We played 5 games; winning 2, drawing 1, and losing 2. All the players did amazingly; playing some great football passing and working as a team, but we forgot our shooting boots this week!”

“We missed chance after chance even against winners Club Doncaster Titans & runners up Hillsborough Hornets, but we were proud of how they played and behaved on the day! Our star player was Carter in goal, and our coaches were Paul and Stephen.”

Ambers lost out in a close battle with Club Doncaster Titans, watched by Titans John Hibbert. “In our first game against Bradford Ambers, Titans started slowly, then we started to get control,” John reported. “James scored first then they scored to make it 1 – 1. Then Ryan assisted James to make it 2 – 1 and then James scored  again, and we won 3 – 1.”

Titans stayed on for their next game, with the plucky visitors giving a good account of themselves. “It was end to end stuff until James scored,” John told us, “then James assisted Ben to score – that was good for Ben to get on the score sheet – to make it 2 – 0. Then we were getting sloppy, and they got one back, but then James got another, and we won 3 – 1.”

The close-fought derby between Hornets  Yellow and Black went the way of the Yellow side; Hornets Yellow then saw off a determined Barton Inclusive Hull. After Bradford Amber had defeated Barton Inclusive, the good-sized crowd started to wonder whether the tournament would go the full distance. For this to happen, Club Doncaster Titans would have to win their last three games to force a play-off with Hornets Yellow.

It only seems fair to leave the final words to Titans’ John Hibbert. “In game three Titans took on Sheffield FC Blue,” John explained. ”We started slow then Sheffield FC scored  making it 1 – 0 but then Danny scored to equalise at  1  – 1. “Sheffield scored again 1 – 2 then Danny assisted James to make it 2 – 2. James scored again making it 3 – 2 then Sheff FC scored again 3 – 3 and at last minute Danny assisted James to make it 4 – 3!”

“In our fourth game Titans faced Hillsborough Hornets Black,” John went on, “this was end to end then James scored making it 1 – 0. It was a good game; there was some nice football played by both teams. Thanks to Hillsborough for a very entertaining game.”

So, to a decider with Hillsborough Hornets Yellow. “This was a nail-biting game,” John reported. ” We started strong; Danny scored first then they scored  1 – 1 That was it at full time 1 – 1. And it was a winner- take- all competition.”  

“We played an extra 5 minutes against Hillsborough Hornets Yellow, because we were all equal on points. And in the match Ben scored to make it 1 – 0 then James scored so we won 2 – 0 to make Titans the winners!” 

“Well done to my goal keepers Ryan and Isaac, but it was a team effort today; so well done to our under 16’s team. I’m so proud of every one of our players;  including the guys who were not involved. So all I can say is guys thank you: without you guys, I would not be in the position I am today, so well done!”

So, its congratulations to Club Doncaster Titans and commiserations to Hornets Yellow after an enthralling tournament. All of the players received well deserved commemorative medals after a stunning day’s Under-16’s football which sees John and his Titans lift the trophy!

In the Under-12’s competition, the clubs were split into two leagues of three teams. In the first group, a late equaliser in their head to head saw Bradford Wildcats edge Hillsborough Hornets.

Paul Jubb from Bradford sums up the Wildcats day. “The Wildcats, who have struggled in the league this season, came good today and won their Divisional tournament winning twice and drawing two,” Paul told SYACL.com. ”Skye and Amber scored the goals, but Jessica was Star of the day, despite being the youngest player.”

“A big thank you to Club Doncaster Titans and Hillsborough Hornets for giving us some good games, under our coach Anna.”

Steph Hall summed up the four games for http://www.southyorkshireabilitycounts .com. 

“In game one Club Doncaster Titans drew with Bradford Wildcats. This was a good game played by both teams. It was a very close, end to end game with both teams having many chances. CDT scored first with a goal from Jacob and Kellie getting the assist. Both teams continued creating chances but were being kept out by brilliant goalkeeping displays. CDT thought they had the win, but Bradford Wildcats pulled a goal back with the last kick of the game.”

“In our second game, Titans took on Hornets Orange,” Steph added. “This was another good game played by both teams; Hillsborough pulled ahead with two goals early on, but the score was kept down by some fantastic saves from Joseph and brilliant defending. CDT started creating more chances with Jacob hitting most of the goal frame! Hillsborough’s GK then pulled off a great save to prevent Jacob scoring. Jacob then pulled a goal back for CDT by scoring from his own half! In the end Hillsborough Hornets continued creating chances and held on for the win.”

“Our third game against Bradford Wildcats was a great game played by both teams,” Steph reported. “It was end to end with both teams creating plenty of chances. As the game went on the CDT players started to get tired and Bradford Wildcats took control of the game and took the lead. The score was kept down by good goalkeeping from Joseph and good defending. In the end Bradford Wildcats did enough to get the win.”

“Our final game against Hillsborough Hornets Orange was a game too far for the CDT players who had to play all the games with no substitutes,” Steph reported. “They tried their best and battled as hard as they could; Hillsborough took an early two goal lead within the first few minutes. CDT created some good chances, but Hillsborough kept pressing for more goals. As the game went on Hillsborough created more and more chances with two more goals coming late in the game. CDT had some more chances, but it wasn’t to be. In the end it was a good game played by both teams where Hillsborough Hornets came out on top.”

So, a triumph by the narrowest of margins for Bradford City Wildcats over a battling and skilful Hornets team. The Wildcats picked up the trophy, but every participant, and the coaches, took a medal home.

In the second group, it really could not have been closer, as Paul Jubb from Bradford explains. “The two Bradford boys teams were up against Sheffield FC – the 3 strongest teams in the league. In a strange set of first games the Blues beat the Clarets 3-0 – Fabian scoring two, and Callum 1.Then the Clarets beat Sheffield FC 4 -2, with Alfie scoring all 4.”

“Bradford Blues lost 3- 0 to Sheffield FC meaning each team had 3 points each, with all to play for!” 

“Then the Blues and Clarets drew 0- 0, the Clarets drew 4 -4 Alfie with 3, Aron with 1; with Sheffield FC and unbelievably in the last game of the day, the Blues drew with Sheffield 2 – 2 Alex with 2 goals.”

“All the teams finished on 5 points, and it was decided on the day that all the kids, and football of course, were the winners!!” Paul told us, crediting his coaches Sara, Vicky, Anna and Stephen, assistant!” 

League Secretary Paul had the last word. “It was a fitting end to a great, but mainly wet and cold season!!” Paul told us, “well done to all the teams that have completed in this 1st season of the South Yorkshire Ability Counts Junior League! It’s been great success!!”

And so say all of us. A great day with winners all round. Thanks to our referees Sean, Mike, and Peter.

Next Sunday, 13th March, sees the 7-a-side Divisional competition at Concord Sheffield. Match reports and photographs as always here at http://www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com  

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