SSFA AYL 15 Bathurst Cup
The AYL U15s went into the Bathurst Cup competition with high expectations with 8 talented new players added to the squad. We did go into the competition with a number of players carrying niggling minor injuries as well as our goalkeeper Lucas away on a trip to Brasil. Injured Fletcher bravely put his hand up to protect the space between the 2 posts for the entire tournament and he did not let us down.
Match 1 v Albury Wodonga FA
A super tough match against a very good outfit. The boys defended valiantly for long periods of the game, as Albury forced their way into our 18yd on many occasions. Opportunities also fell our way as we struck back on the counter, when we unleashed our speedster up front. Amazing Fletcher saved a penalty and put on a goalkeeping display that was so natural and confident. Tips from the very experienced goalkeeper Mark may have been a contributing factor to his performance. Fletcher may think otherwise. Definitely to be a our back up keeper for the season ahead. Albury hit the post and we hit the post. It was a great start to the competition, giving us belief, we could go far in the tournament.
Match 2 v North West Sydney
Result 2-O win
We were up against another AYL team in North West Sydney, and a win was a must. Two long range strikes from Brandon and Zane secured the victory in very hot conditions. The boys were on a role and were geared to play the new addition to the AYL competition Western NSW Football late in the afternoon.
Match 3 v Western NSW Football
Result: 0-4 Loss
Once again stifling hot conditions and an opponent that was powerful and direct saw to our undoing. Three of the goals were scored in the first half as we struggled to keep up with the marauding country team. The second half we seemed to take control of moments in the game and showed glimpses of what a fit SSFA team will look like. The result was a wake up to us that the competition this year is going to be tough and a challenge we are all looking forward to.
Match 4 v Mid-North Coast
Result: 0-1 Loss
With some interesting results in our group, a win in our last match against Mid North Coast coached by Andy Harper would guarantee us a place in the quarters. A very competitive in your face opponent disrupted a majority of our attacking moves as we struggled to get the goal that would put us through. Although they were not fancy about their football their ability to make attacking solo runs into our box was devastating. They eventually scored late in the game and eventually won and then to go on and win the tournament in the U15 age group.
Overall, the tournament was an amazing experience for all players, parents Mark and myself. For me it was an opportunity to see how the boys responded to the demands of the conditions as well as results that were favourable and very importantly unfavourable. Strengths and weakness were displayed and will serve as valuable information as we head to towards the start of the season. To end, the real positive to come out of the tournament was the comradery and the determination to not give up. These individual and team characteristics will keep the team steady in the weeks to come. Thank you, boys, for making this Bathurst Cup a memorable one. Mark and I very much look forward to the long and exciting season ahead.