Sunday December 3rd saw teams travel down to Eastbourne to compete in U8 and U10 Tournaments. Coach / Manager David Nuth tells the story...
East Grinstead U8 mixed team 1: Gold medallists
East Grinstead U8 mixed team 2: Silver medallists
Early on a cold grey Sussex Sunday morning, two East Grinstead U8 teams descended on Eastbourne's Saffrons ground for the Eastbourne U8 mixed minis tournament.
With hackles still raised from the last tournament hosted by Burgess Hill where they walked away with no silverware despite winning all their games (how did that happen BHHC?) these keen EG youngsters were not taking any prisoners.
Each game was fought hard in the opponent's half, EG were following strict coaching advice "attack to defend". In Pool 1, EG1 defeated four teams convincingly with Morris K scoring over 12 goals for his team, EG1 finishing top of the Pool. Similar story in Pool 2, EG2 inflicted some harrowing score-lines on the opposition to finish top of the pool as well.
..and so it was an all-East Grinstead final. EG'd on by highly competitive parents not wanting their Sunday morning lie-in to be taken away from them in vain, the children showed some magnificent grit, composure, skill and dexterity, finishing off the game 1:1.
EG1 were awarded gold medal honours on overall tournament goal difference. EG2 won silver.
East Grinstead U10 boys 1: Gold medallists
East Grinstead U10 boys 2: finished in top 5
After seeing their younger brothers/sisters demolish Lewes, Eastbourne, Burgess Hill and Brighton Hockey Club U8s, the Under 10 boys were suffering the onset of sibling-rivalry when they walked on to the Saffrons pitch. They did not want to endure Christmas with their younger sibling one-up enjoying their gold/ silver medal hanging with pride in the family's awards cupboard. They were focussed and stirred up. A warm-up practice dedicated to aggressive attack and goal scoring got them in the mood and on the way to match the previous performances of the morning.
EG1 started strong against the best U10 boys team Lewes could throw at them. A one-all draw. Next up Hailsham, a convincing win with three power goals from Alexander N (who, recently de-frocked of his goalkeeping kit just for this tournament, proved a heavy weight in the striking department). Finally a one-nil victory over Horsham, to qualify for the final.
The final was a test of nerve and hunger for victory. EG1 took on Lewes 2s determined to avenge a recent defeat at Ron Easton. A tough game seeing a number of injuries, however some excellent mid-field build up from Alex W, excellent solo runs down the entire right wing, saw a one-all draw. Then extra time 2-2, and then sudden death was applied as no team were ahead. In the third minute of sudden death, Alexander N struck high and safe of the Lewes goalie's pads sealing the victory for EG1s.
EG2 had some very convincing games. Ethan F-B was wearing goalkeeping kit for the first time and made some excellent and very intuitive saves. The team's build-up play was good in all their games, controlling the games for long periods. If the team had managed to be more clinical in front of goal, we could well have seen the second all-EG final of the day.
An excellent day out for the mini-Gladiators. Gold – Silver – Gold to add to the Frankincense and Myrrh of the season!