Cup Final Heartache For Boys from Bayston Hill

The Under-9 boys team from Oakmeadow were today defeated 2-0 by St. Giles at the New Meadow, Shrewsbury, in what was an enthralling and highly competitive advert for school football.  Despite matching their opponents for the majority of the game, clinical finishing ultimately proved the match-winning difference.

Arriving at 2pm for what was anticipated to be a momentous occasion, the squad gathered under the superb stewardship of manager Miss Turner and able assistant Mrs. Whelan, drafted in especially for the season-culminating spectacle.  It was then through the players entrance and into the changing rooms for the all important match preparation.  As the previous cup final drew to a close, the masses of the Bayston Hill bastion descended on the East stand and quickly took their seats, eager to get a glimpse of their sporting icons; they were not to be disappointed, with the team being put through their paces on the hallow turf in the warm up, quickly warming up goalkeeper Luke Offland, who had battled through a cloud of cold to drive his team on.










As the presentations took place for the previous victors, the team quickly disappeared back into the tunnel for final preparations, and the top-secret team talk, unknown to those not present, but sure to be themed around the school values and 6 sporting values held up so highly by all of those at Oakmeadow. To rapturous applause, both teams finally made their way out of the tunnel for the match, Oakmeadow led by Captain Marvel Caiden Sadd, and were introduced to their adoring fans: this was it.









With the introductions completed, it was time for the game to begin, our boys wearing their change kit of yellow and blue due to an unlikely clash with the purple of St. Giles, our team losing the coin toss and hoping this was not an omen for the overall result.  With the game underway, St. Giles quickly applied the pressure, peppering the ball into the Oakmeadow box, which was well cleared, followed by an early save by keeper Luke with his feet.  After absorbing this and discarding of the early butterflies, it was our turn to find our feet, with Jack Lewis breaking down the left flank.  Newly signed to Shrewsbury Town, the midfield maestro weaved in and out of his opponents with ease, taking aim and firing in a shot which narrowly went wide of the the left post.  The announcement was made – we were not here to make up the numbers.

For the next 5 minutes, both teams continued to suss each other out, making forays into each other’s halves.  Caiden Sadd was marshalling the defence well to clear the ball when required, and Luke was called into action again when a mistimed clearance sliced off a boot towards our goal, which was well handled under pressure.  After the ball had been cleared, St. Giles regained possession and made a defence-splitting pass over the top of the Oakmeadow backline, which was superbly met with a right-footed volley by the sharp boots of the striker, and arrowed into the top right hand corner of the net, leaving Luke no chance.  1-0 to St. Giles.

Following the re-start, the boys from Oakmeadow immediately set their stall out to hit straight back.  Once again, Jack Lewis scampered down the left wing, utilising all of the space afforded by the larger-than-usual playing surface, and superbly pulled the ball back across the St. Giles area, which was frantically cleared by the St. Giles defence, somewhat controversially, with the eagle-eyed Mr. Ostermeyer spotting an infringement on Charlie Davies as he lined up to shoot.  Despite no protestations whatsoever except from Mr Ostermeyer to the bemused Mrs. Morris, the young referee allowed the game to continue, the Oakmeadow team playing to the whistle admirably as all young footballers are rightly taught.

The game subsequently was really beginning to open up, Luke making a save low to his right with his legs following a drilled shot from the left of the area after St. Giles had found some space down their left flank.  Having cleared their lines, the boys in yellow then put the ball into the St. Giles penalty area dangerously, their goalkeeper just doing enough to clear with the predator Harry Carr lurking with intent.  St. Giles were next to put the ball into the box, with a dangerous volley just wide the result this time.  It was clear to everyone that with half time approaching, the next goal was going to be crucial, none more so than to Mrs Whelan, who was prowling the touchline throughout.  Just before the whistle blew, Seb Kelly made a vital interception when it looked like St. Giles would make a further breakthrough, showing great composure to clear the ball into touch.  With Oakmeadow hearts in mouths, the half time whistle blew: it was still all to play for.

During the interval, as Miss White demonstrated her deep understanding of the game of football, being heard to enquire, “is there only one more bit left and then that’s it?”  onlookers could only hope that as the boys received a quick pep talk from the management team extraordinaire, Mrs Whelan had been studying her book of tactics and the merits of the 2-3-1 formation.










Without much ado, the second half begin as frantically as the first ended, Caiden Sadd tracking back to expertly make amends to clear the ball after a slightly heavy first touch.  St. Giles put on some early pressure, and were exploiting the no offside rule by playing the lone man behind the back line, trying to force the one-on-one.  Leading by example, Captain Caiden was having none of it, intervening with a superb tackle before pressing forward and unleashing a venomous shot just wide of the right hand post.

As time ticked on, the game continued to be end-to-end, with both teams looking to find the all important second goal, but both thwarted by their evenly matched foes.  The crowd were really getting behind the players, willing them on to victory.  Substitute Will Gray was next to make a marauding run, thrilling onlookers, before Noah Lock followed suit, the ball eventually falling to Caiden, who shot from distance, the St. Giles goalkeeper gathering with composure.  It was beginning to look like it just would not be Oakmeadow’s day.

From the goalkeepers distribution to his team, St. Giles played some fantastic flowing football down the right hand side, eventually cutting back dangerously to the end of the area where a thunderous strike struck the right hand upright of Luke’s now-wobbling goal.  Unable to clear Oakmeadow lines, the ball fortuitously fell to the players in purple, and a deflected strike found its way under the body of Luke to hit the back of the Oakmeadow net.  Despite broken hearts, pride overtook, and the boys in yellow continued to give their all, chasing straight back to try and get back into the game, putting some paid professionals to shame.  Mr Ostermeyer could only hope that his relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers would show half of this fight tomorrow in their final game (alas, he knew they wouldn’t…)

The game had now really opened up, and St. Giles were looking dangerous for their third.  However, Oakmeadow attacked further, and following a corner, the ball fell to Noah Lock, whose shot eluded the goalkeeper but was somehow kept out by a St. Giles defender on the line, before Jack Lewis’ shot which was again well held by the St. Giles goalkeeper.  Jack attacked again, a devilish cross being spilled by the keeper, but unfortunately the spilled ball to Will was unable to be kept down below the bar.

And with that, the final whistle blew, 2-0 being the score, and St. Giles being the U9 cup final victors.  Whilst probably a fair outcome, the Oakmeadow boys certainly deserved a goal for their efforts.  One thing is for certain, the result was irrelevant in the eyes of the adulating crowd, the boys rightfully receiving a standing ovation as they made their way over to the side of the pitch.  After a long journey to the final, the squad and everyone involved in their training, from Miss Turner to Ethan and Courtney from Crossbar, deserve the utmost credit on an excellent game of football – not forgetting Mrs Whelan and her words of wisdom.  U10 final next year?






















1 Response so far »

  1. Carla Whelan said,

    May 7, 2017 @ 4:30 pm     Reply

    It was the most spectacularly exciting game, where the pride gushed out from all the spectators. Alas my half time motivational talk didn’t lead to a win, the second half pace and vigour could certainly be seen. Those FA courses over 22 years ago still lay fresh in my mind!!!

    Well done to all!

    I could not feel prouder. Playing with integrity (not rising to some ‘choice’ ref decisions in my opinion)….a stunning group of young, able players. Can’t wait for next year!

    Mrs Whelan

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Say your words