Under 17 End of Season Review

 

A big change for all the players this season as we entered a league where we would not only be playing against some players who are a year older, but also against teams who had been in divisions above us. We are very proud (and unusual!) to have got all the way to U18 level without full-on selective football, with everyone getting a chance to play in most games. But as Dads ourselves we knew that this was the season when these older children needed to be treated as young adults - after all, some of them would be driving themselves around very shortly!! We also knew that jobs, A-levels/school events, relationships and nights out (yes we were young men once too….!) may have an impact on availability, giving additional challenges ahead.

With some players both leaving and joining, it’s fair to say that it took some time to find a shape that clicked for us, but nevertheless we won a couple of games against teams who were to ultimately finish lower than us in the league. As the season progressed we had much tougher games with results not always reflecting what actually happened on the pitch, and inevitably we enjoyed some highs and suffered some lows in terms of results and how we played. But as I said earlier, these players are young men now and were learning in a safe environment how to take disappointment – and we would both like to commend their attitude towards this. Yes there was the odd spat and frustration let out as you would expect, but this was the desire to improve coming out – however they conducted themselves ‘professionally’ and were magnanimous in victory, and gracious in defeat. All attributes to take forward in life.

We played more games than anyone else in our league, despite the terrible weather over the winter – we really should get a prize for playing the wettest cup game in history against League 1 leaders Werrington, it was the only game played in the area that day. You wouldn’t have got wetter in a swimming pool! By the time Covid19 reared it’s ugly head, we had played all but 4 of our games.

From a competitive point of view, the summary would be that we won the games we should be winning, gained as many points as we lost against the teams around us (with a couple of these games unplayed in the 4 remaining), and despite the results we largely got as close as possible to those who really should be beating us comfortably! In fact the best game of the year was against Bourne – they were the unbeaten league leaders and were hammering everyone (including us a few weeks earlier). In losing just 2-0 we created as many chances, defended robustly and our effort was 110%. Their manager stated afterwards that is was the toughest game they’d played all season – and they have played some big teams in Cup competitions. Our commiserations to them on the league being cancelled and not being crowned champions.

So that is the performance that we look to repeat as we go into the 2020/21 season, whatever that will look like.!

Finally a word of thanks to the parents – especially those who have run the line, helped set up, covered training and bought us coffee in cold weather! You have seemingly been constantly under umbrellas this season – THANK YOU for your support.

Next season will be the last at Thurlby Tigers FC as the players reach the oldest age group. So please strap on a face mask and do come along and support as much as you can, before they all become fully grown adults with the world – not just a ball – at their feet.

Have a good summer, and see you for football when King Boris says it’s OK..!!!

Michael and Matt