Warrington vs Chester (Under 14s) Saturday 11th February 2017
Chester visited the Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub with a team of strong players. Warrington’s under 14s side for the 2017 season played their opening game with slightly depleted numbers; perhaps due to the school half term.
1st quarter: James, Sam, Matthew, Louis, Evie and Eleanor were playing across the pool with Emily taking up position as goalkeeper. Warrington started the match defending the shallow end, with Chester making an early advance Louis managed to thwart them with a robust but fair tackle. Chester’s No 9 was showing some great talent and one of his many early attacks saw Emily get a hand to the ball but sadly it slipped into the net. Play up and down the pool became hotly contested, with both sides receiving various sharp blows of the whistle from the referee. Soon Louis managed to sneak through the Chester defence with a great shot right at the centre of the goal to bring the scores even. The match continued, end to end of the pool, frantic passing and attacking followed by coordinated defence and great saves, Chester eventually pulled a goal back but this was quickly answered by Warrington when Matthew found James inside the 5 metre line; James placed a low fast ball into the net to bring the teams even again. As the last few seconds on the clock ticked away Chester managed to change tactics and took a shot from long range, sealing a 1 goal advantage as the session came to an end.
2nd quarter: Warrington were now defending the deep end, early confusion and quick play by Chester resulted in an early goal. The Warrington side then probed the Chester defence, struggling to find a way through, a long shot by Matthew almost paid off, just wide of the post. Chester then countered, Emily put in a great performance during a period of sustained attack, saving several unpredictable and varied shots. Louis had a good opportunity, he placed a great shot into the Chester net but it was disallowed on a technicality. Warrington played several good shots over the next few minutes, mainly from Louis and Matthew but the whole team pulled together to open the chances. Chester however demonstrated superior movement, their defensive positions were good and their creative play with accurate shooting gave them an advantage where it mattered.
3rd quarter: Warrington held possession for the opening minute of the quarter, with Louis taking a long shot on goal that was stopped by the Chester keeper. Another shot followed 30 seconds later but the keeper again managed to steer it wide. The restart resulted in a sudden sprint forward with the ball from Chester’s No 2, resulting in a goal that the whole team struggled to defend against. Chester’s No 2 now had a taste for goals and his confidence seemed to disperse amongst the rest of his team, resulting in several players taking their chances at the Warrington end. It wasn’t all one sided though, Louis had a solid shot bounce high off the Chester cross bar, Eleanor had a shot just tipped safely away and Matthew had a great shot blocked. With both teams tiring from the feverish activity, the referee’s whistle drew the period to a close with Chester ahead.
4th quarter: Chester were in ebullient mood, the final quarter started with an ambitious play that resulted in the ball shooting just wide of the Warrington net; demonstrating their intent to not rest on their laurels. A flurry of shots were made over the next 3 minutes, the Warrington defence were becoming frustrated and encouraging one another to move up the pool whenever possession was regained. During a period of unrelenting attacking play by the Chester forwards, Sam and Evie managed to string together a series of great passes and Matthew was in a good position to play a lob shot - which the keeper reacted to just in time. Undeterred, the Warrington team regrouped and with 3 minutes left on the clock the whole team pulled together, allowing Matthew to find the Chester net with another goal. There then followed some real sparks of imaginative Warrington play, but Chester were always waiting and watching, a mistimed pass gave possession to Chester’s No 7 and although he was at a wide angle, the Warrington team struggled to prevent the goal. A goal from Louis in the final minute raised the spirits of the Warrington team but this was sadly disallowed again. The game finished with both teams exhausted and Chester as the overall victors, but the Warrington side played well together and it is still early in the season, Emily had a tough game but showed a great example by never giving up and always willing her team mates on.
A difficult game for Warrington against a physically larger and stronger Chester side. Valuable lessons have been identified and several factors of this game will be taken into the forthcoming training sessions to improve aspects of the under 14s play for future matches.
With the minimum number of players, most at the lower end of the age group (one well under at age 11), odds were always going to be against us. Despite a poor result there were moments of excellence displayed by Warrington - we need to build on the good stuff and work hard to improve the not so good stuff - we will make changes to our training schedule to address some of the issues we need to focus on.