Having come through the preliminary and qualification rounds undefeated Sheffield U17 boys headed for Manchester this weekend full of confidence for the finals of the U17 ASA champs
Saturday was the semi -final where we faced a real potential banana skin in the shape of Manchester in front of their home crowd !!
We were confident we could win if we could get off to a good start and impose ourselves on the game. This we did with some style taking an early 3 goal lead in the first 5 mins , and controlling the game from there on. With George Reader taking control of defence and dominating the Manchester centre forward and Connor Carpenter leading the line up front Sheffield never looked in danger and came out eventual 15-7 winners. In the other semi- final Sedgefield had come through a hard fought thriller with Caledonia, eventually winning 12-10 to set up a tasty all North-East final on the Sunday . Sedgefield looked a strong side with some very talented players –it was going to be a tough game.
Sheffield started the game looking a little shaky and nervy in front of goal . A couple of missed chances and missed man –up opportunities proved costly and we soon found ourselves trailing 3-0 , Sedgefield looked confident and bursting with ideas. But Sheffield had proved in earlier games that they don’t panic when behind and began to settle into their game –resume their solid defence and take their chances . At the half way mark the score was 4-4 in a game of high quality which was very evenly matched. The third period saw Sedgefield grab a couple of early goals to put us back under pressure but no need to panic. Unfortunately we then had a player excluded permanently for what the referee saw as a brutality offence. The ensuing penalty and two man up goals in the 4 minute exclusion put the game beyond us. The guys pressed hard to get back into the game –but that left us open to counter attacks which Sedgefield skilfully exploited and although we rallied bravely towards the end there was just too much to do –eventually losing 15-7
It was a great weekend of polo and the boys gave a terrific account of themselves to win the silver medal –losing ultimately to what was a very good Sedgefield side –We should all be proud of how the boys performed throughout the tournament and how they conducted themselves –being so gracious and sporting in their ultimate defeat.