GRAMMAR VIEWS: A monthly column written by teachers and students of Spalding Grammar School, this week with student Tom Coley
Six boys from Spalding Grammar School set out on a journey to Norwich for the FA Five-A-Side People’s Cup, which has seen over 1,500 teams enter from all over England, aged 12-35, and these boys had entered the Under 14 category.
Playing for the chance to go to Manchester for the finals, the six boys – Liam Scales, Patrick Campling, Tom Coley, Fenn Storey, Tom Tyler and their captain Luke Cutts – set out to Norwich. They were shocked to see that the other teams had kits to wear and managers. It was quite off putting for the boys, who had turned up in sports clothes with more mix than match.
The boys named their team Purple Dinosaurs and the first match was far from a comfortable start. But luckily with almost half of the eight-minute match gone, talismanic Liam Scales came up with a goal from a seemingly impossible angle. Next a quick-fire double save from keeper Tom Coley kept them ahead. The games are quick, just eight minutes long, so you need to take your chances. As the Purple Dinosaurs went up the other end, they made it 2-0 after some great feet and a superb finish from Pat Campling.
The next game looked like a top of the group clash because Old Catton had a 100 per cent record. After a slow start, Fenn Storey danced around two of the Old Catton players and onto the edge of the box before firing in a rabona shot that was saved brilliantly by the keeper. But that miss would come back to haunt them as Old Catton found a way through the defence and scored.
When Liam hit a free kick into another player the opposition player used some foul language and got himself a blue card, meaning a one-minute sin bin, so Luke Cutts and his team had their chance but they went two down. By this time the clock was against them and even with the one-man advantage they couldn’t get back into the game and sadly lost 2-0.
Next they played the youngest side there and another goal from Pat and a brace from Liam gave them a comfortable 3-0 win.
So finally they were onto the final group stage match and they were already through. After captain Luke bagged his first goal of the tournament, all was looking good. But a mistake in the defence allowed an opposition player through to equalize before a penalty gave Dinosaurs a 2-1 lead.
There was no holding back after this and Luke and Fenn both went on to add to the score sheet, making the final score 4-1 and also seeing the boys finish second in the group and through to the quarter-finals.
On to the quarters and their opponents were Downham. They got off to a fast start in this match when Fenn Storey banged the ball home to give them a 1-0 lead. And Downham just didn’t recover from it. They rarely troubled Tom in the Purple Dinosaurs goal and this was down to an excellent display from Tom Tyler. Goals from Liam (2) and Tom gave them a 3-0 win.
In the semi-finals they would have to play Downham’s second team and were soon 1-0 down.
A good sub from Luke led to Pat levelling the score. The match went into two extra minutes and Fenn set up Luke to give the Dinosaurs a passage way into the final.
The opponents were Lakefield and Dinosaurs started well, Fenn Storey scoring. Then, after a one-on-one save from Tom Coley, the defence moved up and Pat Campling found himself in on goal and it was 2-0 to the Dinosaurs in no time. But Lakefield scored just seconds after the restart and set up a nervy end. Lakefield were desperate and a shot was put past Tom at his near post. It was the first individual error and what a big one it could have been. It came as a massive relief when Liam held onto the ball in the corner of the pitch, saw the run of Fenn and he slotted it into the net with just 20 seconds left on the clock! Lakefield were left shocked after the comeback and when the defence got the ball, it was into the corner to run down time. The full-time whistle went and nobody could have been more surprised than the players themselves. It was a momentous occasion for the six boys, who at the beginning of the tournament had already ruled themselves out! They had no doubt in their ability but confidence was their main enemy. After not having a kit or manager they came out on top –you can never write them off!