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Another outing for South’s Under 12s showed a colossal improvement, with not only their first ever draw but first ever win too!

Game 1: City of Peterborough B 0 – 2 Cambridge South

South started the brighter of the two sides and quickly began to dominate play, scoring after five minutes. The team were excellent in both attack and defence, with quick passing and close marking. The second half was a similar story with a second goal added, again after five minutes. If legs tired it did not show and South saw out the rest of the half to gain their first ever win at this age group!

Highlights included:

  • Juliette's two goals, both one-on-one with the keeper.

  • Ben (the bit older) making a thumping last ditch tackle to prevent a three-on-one against our keeper.

  • Ben (the bit younger) showing his flashy stickwork, bamboozling many a defender.

  • Isabella running the game from central midfield.

  • Helena arriving at half time to provide a substitute, allowing tired legs a bit of a rest in the British Summer Time heat.

Game 2: Bourne Deeping Dragons 1 – 0 Cambridge South

This was a harder game with the Dragons electing to play an extra outfield player instead of a keeper. The opposition used this extra outfielder wisely and had the majority of possession, scoring in the first half. South had their chances in the second and came close on a number of occasions, with the ball unfortunately just rolling past the post several times.

Highlights included:

  • Ben (the bit younger) sprinting around all over the pitch, tackling everything that moved.

  • Teddy making a triple save at one point as well as at least ten others during the game.

  • Amelia constantly driving down the line and pulling the ball back for our other forwards.

  • Ben (the bit older) leading from the back and organising the team.

  • Freddie juggling the ball in spectacular fashion after it was lifted towards him, including a 180° spin with the ball in the air (we all agreed to forget the backward roll into the net at half time).

  • Isabella playing every position on the pitch, including centre forward for the first time.

Game 3: City of Peterborough A 1 – 1 Cambridge South

Another close, hard-fought game, South edging one half and Peterborough the other. Each side had its chances but neither could quite finish it off, as both keepers made save after save. Both sides tired in the heat and South nearly brought it home but the final whistle went slightly too soon as our forwards were bearing down on goal for one last try.

Highlights included:

  • Helena marking one of their stronger players out of the game.

  • Juliette injuring her hand diving in to try and deflect it pass the keeper, then playing on to try and get the winner.

  • Amelia not giving up and getting a goal to cancel out Peterborough's early lead.

  • Freddie driving out of defence to try and get a winner in the final minutes

  • Teddy looking like he had been for a swim when he finally took the keeping kit off.

Over the three games it was great to see the passing and moving learnt in Coach Colin's sessions demonstrated, and the energy to burst forward to try to score. Positional play was something maybe even the Men's 1st team could learn from, and everyone worked hard to get back the ball each time possession was lost. A big ‘well done’ to all those who played but a special mention to our goalkeeper, Teddy, who not only played for our team but lent his skills to a team who did not have a keeper of their own, playing four games back to back on what must have been the hottest day of the year so far.

Girls' U14s: Wisbech 6 – 0 Cambridge South

Meanwhile, the Girls’ U14s had a brutally early start for their England Hockey Tier 3 Development Championship game up in Wisbech. Neil had foolishly agreed to a 10am push back, forgetting that the clock change effectively made that 9am, which meant an ‘8.30am’ meet at the pitch after a ‘7.15am’ departure from Cambridge, with in turn a ‘6.30am’ get-up on a Sunday morning!

Fortunately, a sunny spring-like morning lifted everyone’s spirits. Coaches Neil and Mariano explained the new 1-2-2-1 formation to the team – a holding playmaker behind two central midfielders, with two wider players shuttling up and down the flanks to aid the defence or support the striker up top.

After a short warm-up, the game got underway. Wisbech quickly showed themselves to be a practiced and well-organised side, their good linking play putting pressure on the visitors. Charlotte, in the holding role, was dealing with most of what came her way though, and Isla made several saves when attacks did get through. South threatened with a few breaks of their own but eventually the home side found a way past South’s defence and were two ahead at half time.

With four substitutes rolling every few minutes, at the break the discussion was of the need to keep the team’s shape and positions. The second period showed some good passages of play from both teams. Wisbech got more into their groove, with some incisive attacks enabling them to add to their score. For South, Hannah was putting in an excellent performance in midfield, demonstrating strong tackling and passing, while Alicia made some fantastic runs and dribbles towards the Wisbech D. Sam, Eloise, Katy, Emma, Scarlet, Zara and Cleo all worked hard against a strong opposition, but a couple of late goals, including one on the final whistle, saw the game finish 6-0 to the hosts.

Despite some late goals giving a gloss to the score, there was much to be positive about in South’s performance. Everyone worked hard as a team, and all the players showed passages of skilful play. The next step will be to join these up into a more cohesive collective performance, which will come with time and experience as a team, and to remember to keep pressing the opposition and competing for the ball when play does break down. We look forward to the final games of the season, with fixtures against Cambridge City and St Neots at Wilberforce Road in May.