U12 2011-12 Season Review

posted Jun 21, 2012, 1:59 AM by Wheathampstead Wanderers   [ updated Jul 30, 2012, 8:50 AM ]

Under 12 Sharks

THE SQUAD: Sam Bates, Oliver Blount, Jack Boynton, Alex Card, George Devine, Pei-Zhi Gong, Robbie Hamblin, James Harvey, Cameron Harvie, Nicolai Holst, Hayden Kemp-Robertson (cameo role), Jonny Moore, Ollie Pawlaczek, Andrew Shaw, Jack Toy.

Coaches: Andrew Harvey and David Toy.
The Brave Linesmen: David Toy, Mike Devine, Mark Hamblin, Rich Bates.

At the start of the season we were delighted to welcome several new faces, each a fabulous addition to the squad. So with a very different team we embarked in a tough Division One with new sides joining and some of our former rivals deciding to ‘drop down a league’. A realistic goal was to get used to playing together and to establish ourselves in the division.
The first match of the season set the tone in some ways for the season. We were excellent and scored a fine victory over King George – who finished one place above us last season. Despite that boost we then had a tough series of results against some of the newer teams.
Not surprising in many ways given that we had never played together as a team before.
The real positive change came after Xmas with some excellent results between January and April. That secured our goal for the season but more importantly the boys really started to show an understanding on the pitch.
One of the greatest attributes a team can have is being able to bounce back and recover from a heavy defeat – and we had a few!! – but one of the best things about the Sharks is that they come back the next week ready for the new challenge and never let it get them down. In a team sport there are always many ups and downs and our philosophy is as much about telling the boys a loss is not a big deal, it is how you react to the loss that is!
Great job U12 Sharks. You are a credit to Wheathampstead Wanderers and your parents, and a joy to be involved with. Thanks to everyone for their support.

Under 12 Tigers

THE SQUAD: Ollie Berridge, Barney Crawford, Oliver Dyson, Louisa Ellis, Patrick Frost, Cameron Gibson, Jamie Gilbert, Max Hills, Teddy Howes, Alex Meredith, Archie Roberts, Will Sammons, Patrick Stebbings.

Coaches: Paul Gibson and Andy Ellis.

What a terrific season! It started with a draw but then we went on to win our next seven games. And still we weren’t topping the table! A narrow reverse to the league leaders and a couple of draws saw title hopes fade, but we bounced back with another three wins. And this with a very small squad. On many occasions we only had eleven players available, sometimes less. As it turned out though, this simply added to the sense of togetherness – with some having to play out of their favoured position – and, if anything, has helped our players improve.
Wow... was all that you could say on the way home from our cup semi-final! You just couldn’t stop smiling. Everything good about team sport was epitomised by that performance – everyone playing to their potential, playing to a game plan and, in particular, giving their all for their team. And we would have said that even if the eight heroes and one heroine hadn’t won! It is very rare that nine players beat eleven (plus subs) and normally only happens when the nine enjoy significant physical advantages. The character shown and maturity of that performance – which will forever be known as “that performance” – will live long in the memory. As will the quality of the second goal!
The divisional cup final, which could have gone either way in extra time, was a great advertisement for youth football. With one of our stalwarts missing, due to a school trip, you had to admire the makeshift defence (and we did!) and coming from behind twice to level the match displayed courage, a great attitude and some football that we can all be proud of.
A big thank you to all the players and parents for a very enjoyable season in which we have witnessed the team develop and mature. Each and every player should be proud of their achievements and progress.
We look forward to seeing everyone next season.

Paul and Andy