Twenty teams participated in this year’s Claires Court 6-A-Side Cup competition. These teams were split into 4 leagues of 5. Games lasted 12 minutes.
The standard of football is always high at this competition and Gateway faced determined opposition in all of their league matches. Oratory proved to be the strongest team they would face and although Gateway battled well and created several good chances to score they were undone by a slick passing move that was finished clinically.
In the following three games, the Gateway boys played some excellent free flowing football and were probably the stronger team in each fixture, having the lion’s share of possession and creating some great chances to score. Harry N scored some slick goals against Edmund C but in the other matches the final pass or shot from the attack was not always of the same quality as the build up. When the final shot did have enough venom and accuracy, some fine goalkeeping, the woodwork and a slice of bad luck were enough to deny Gateway any further goals. In their fourth game, against Thorpe House, Gateway needed to win but despite coming close it was Thorpe House who qualified, in 2nd place for the Cup quarter-finals along with Oratory who topped the league; unbeaten.
League C Results
Oratory Prep A 1 Gateway 0
Lowbrook 0 Gateway 0
Edmund Campion 0 Gateway 3 (Harry N 3)
Thorpe House 0 Gateway 0
After finishing 3rd and 4th respectively in league C, Gateway and Lowbrook progressed into the Plate competition. Gateway faced Dedworth School in the quarter-finals. The Gateway boys dominated this match, scoring 2 goals in the first 5 minutes and continued to make further opportunities throughout the match. In the semi-finals, a really tough match ensued with both teams creating chances in a very open game. Having played fast paced football for well over an hour, fatigue was beginning to grip both teams and this match pushed all the boys to their limit. Gateway had the better of possession and more shots but Caldicott had two glorious chances to score but Stan C was quick off his line to save the day. With the final attack and kick of the game, Ollie L took a speculative shot, from an acute angle, out on the left wing, only to see it dip into the net as the final ‘whistle’ sounded!
Lowbrook, whom Gateway had drawn with earlier in the competition, had also seen off some tough opposition to reach the final and proved to be worthy opponents. Gateway had the best of the early chances but the Lowbrook defence, and goalie, stood firm as shots came in from all angles. After 3 minutes Dominic H limped off, after a thumping tackle to block a Lowbrook forward. This was a big loss as Dominic had been so dominant in defence. From this point on the game opened up and there were some nail biting moments as both teams searched for the opening goal.
In the second half, Dominic H returned to the fray, after first aid treatment, and the battle commenced. The game continued to entertain but neither team’s resolve gave way. Full time could not separate the sides and the match went to ‘Golden Goal’.
Gateway strained every sinew to put another promising attack down the left wing and after the ball ricochet around the area, Ollie L fired home the winner to the delight and relief of Gateway’s spectators! Despite the disappointment of not progressing further in the Cup competition, the boys had won the Plate!
A long afternoon had seen the team compete fiercely for an hour and a half, scoring 7 goals and conceding only 1.
After commiserating with the Lowbrook players, the boys were so exhausted they had to muster the energy to walk the 100m to the Plate presentation to receive their well deserved medals!
Thanks go to Claires Court staff and sports leaders for organising and running such a great competition and to all the spectators who urged the team on through a gruelling tournament!
Dedworth 0 Gateway 2 (Harry N, Jonty W)
Caldicott 0 Gateway 1 (Ollie L)
Lowbrook 0 Gateway 1 (GG) (Ollie L)
Team: Stan C, Dominic H, Adam Y, Joss K, Ollie L, Jonty W, Harry N