Winners of the U11 Shrewsbury 6-a-side 2015

V Packwood 0-4
V Stafford Prep 0-5
V Yarlet 3-1
V Cothill 2-0
V Terra Nova 1-1 (won 3-2 on penalties)
V Yarlet 1-1 (won 4-3 on penalties)

On the 256th anniversary of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, the Pink Army of Woolhampton Hill marched north and then west for some early season Salopian Sixes soccer. We may not have had to cross the Atlantic and then navigate the shallows of the St Lawrence River but then again General Wolfe didn’t have to negotiate the IKEA traffic around Walsall.

The junior infantrymen were ready. Battle plans digested. The opening salvos always count for a lot in these short, sharp pell-mell encounters, so it was vital for the corps to come out all guns blazing. Twenty-eight playing minutes later, we had scored none and conceded nine. Plan B.

Looking more like the doomed charge of the light brigade, something had to be done. And our redoubtable heroes changed things round when capitulation may have been the more understandable course. We are better than that. So we regathered, ironed out a few tactics and went on to deploy and execute some very effective stuff for the rest of the day and became jolly difficult to play against. Yarlet were despatched 3-1 with an Angus Highland hattrick. This rather obvious alteration was simple, like most good plans :  Johnny Nicol did not go into the opposition’s half. Next up, Tommo gunned in two unanswered goals against Cothill. We were now a battalion battling, loving life and up for more. The semi-final of the Shield awaited Hugo Barnes’ troops : Terra Nova. No terror here for our rejuvenated soldiers of fortune, now playing to a plan and making life look easierby doing what they were told and seeing the clear benefits of doing so. 1-0 up with  thirty seconds left. Surely we are in the final. But the fat lady had not sung in time when the Cheshire cats clawed one back.

The nerveless Firth, reliableTomlinson and dependable Mckendrick did what was required from the spot with panache. One of theirs smudged the woodwork and that was that – we were in the final against  Yarlet.

So, the Pink Army in Scarlet against the Royal Blue of Yarlet. At 0-0 with three minutes left, the most beautiful passage of play of the day unfolded. Tomlinson, over a free kick, pretended to shoot but instead rolled it ten yards slightly back and diagonal to the oncoming Firth who firmly swept the ball hom einto the onion bag. 1-0 with thirty seconds left. Sound familiar? Before we knew it… a corner for Yarlet sailed over Hot Shot Hamish’s head and was met back post with a clinical downward nod by their skipper – good goal. 1-1. Final whistle. Sudden death penalties again!

Their guy missed, Angus missed, their next three guys scored but so did ours – Tommo, Johnny and Hamish. When the HotShot saved Yarlet’s fourth, up stepped Algy Bullen; could he keep his nerves in check? Could he do what was required when it really mattered? Of course he did! Of course he could! Back of the net! Or is it the front of the net?! Algy smashed it down the middle and we had done it.

Very well played to Hamish in goal and from the spot, well done to the heroic Algy, brilliantly played,  Charlie – you looked really good and I especially liked your calling and passing technique. Well done to Johnny and the disciplined role you played, which was definitely the turning point in our fortunes. Well done to Tommo for your running back and cultured left boot. Well done to Barnesy, who worked tirelessly up front and latterly on the right. And well done to Angus, probably our player of the day.

Send for the Brasso. The boys have brought home the bacon.

 Wine for my men. We ride at dawn.