Report by Steve Benyon
EDS 1 Squad at ECFA West Midlands Regional 7-a-side Tournament
On Wednesday October 3rd, 12 of the Performance Phase players travelled to Stoke to take part in the ECFA West Midlands Regional 7-a-side Tournament against 15 other colleges.
As a very small college within a very small region of the West Midlands, playing against the likes of Dudley, Newcastle Under Lyme, Birmingham and Stoke, we knew we would have to be at our best in an attempt to reach the National finals, to be held in Nottingham in April.
What happened between the hours of 11.30am and 3pm was nothing short of remarkable and quite simply brilliant.
The tournament was split into 3 groups of 5, with ourselves drawn in the same group as; Sandwell, Hereford, Stoke-on-Trent and Stratford.
Games were 10 minutes a half, with only a 2 minute interval, so it would provide each of the 12 players with heavy physical loading, as well as both technical and tactical challenges within an adapted format to what they are not usually used to.
The first game saw the boys get used to the conditions and format, and we managed to run out 1-0 winners against very physical Sandwell side who are partnered with West Brom, through a Liam Parry strike.
The second game saw the boys run out comfortable 3-0 winners against Hereford, thanks to goals from Owen Jones, Louis Bradford and Josh Bailey.
The third game was probably our best team performance, with a 4-0 victory against Stoke-on-Trent, through goals from Owen Williams x2, Owen Jones and Liam Parry. Victory meant we progressed as group winners, with 1 game spare, but we wanted to remain unbeaten.
Our final game saw us against a very physical Stratford side. Falling behind to an early goal, the boys huffed and puffed and were rewarded with a last minute goal from Liam Ihekwoaba, meaning we finished top of the group on 10 points.
The semi-final saw us come up against Group A winners Stafford. After leading the game 1-0 through a Louis Bradford goal, we switched off and allowed Stafford to equalise. We dominated the second half and were rewarded for our efforts with another last minute winner, this time from Louis Bradford, to send us through to the final 2-1 winners, to face Newcastle Under Lyme.
We played Newcastle Under Lyme last week in another cup and were unfortunate to come away with a loss, and the boys were motivated to rectify this. We conceded a goal within the first 30 seconds, but completely dominated proceedings from there on in.
We scored 3 break-away goals, 2 from Harry Bower and 1 from Liam Parry to see us go through as winners and represent West Midlands in the National Tournament in Nottingham, in April.
All 12 players adapted brilliantly to the new structure, and rule changes which included no offsides or slide tackles. It was the second time in 3 years the club and college have won this tournament which is an incredible achievement
Squad: Rob Johnson, Josh Bailey, Louis Bradford, Liam Ihekwoaba, Aaron Lloyd, Ethan Short, Liam Parry, Harry Bower, Owen Jones, Alex Cadman, Ismail Ozdemir, Owen Williams.
Welsh Youth Cup 1st Round vs Cefn Albion Preview
After yesterday’s impressive performances, we now turn our immediate attention to recovering and preparing for Sunday’s first round Welsh Youth Cup game against Cefn Albion.
With our opponents being relatively unknown, we must ensure we prepare correctly and show them respect by performing to the best of our ability.
We are keen as a club to progress further than last year, and we will be doing our upmost as a group of staff and players to ensure this is achieved. Kick-off is 2.00 p.m. at The Venue, Park Hall, with the team being led by Simon Smith and Jason Brindley.