Match 1: WWFC HURRICANES 0-0 IRCHESTER GLADIATORS
Match 2: ON CHENECKS BLUES 1-0 WWFC HURRICANES
Match 3: INSPIRATION FC 0-1 WWFC HURRICANES (Rocco)
Match 4:WWFC HURRICANES 0-2 IRCHESTER ROMANS
Match 5: PARKLANDS TIGERS AMBER 0-1 WWFC HURRICANES (Tao)
Match 6: WWFC HURRICANES (Harry, Tao 2) 3-0 BILLING UTD BLUES
Squad: Evan; Acer, Charles, Rocco (c), Ryan; Francis, Harry, Joe D, Joe H, Luke; Tao
HURRICANES ADJUST TO PARK LIFE
The claret and blue army mobilised northwards to the outskirts of Northampton for the first of three tournaments to round off the season. Several of the team were unavailable but Rocco had recruited some able replacements from school, so the squad was bolstered by Acer, Joe D and Joe H.
The format was simple enough – finish 1st or 2nd out of 7 teams in the group stage to qualify for the semi-finals – even if the task was tough. On a blustery day with only 12 minutes for each game the boys would have their work cut out against Northants’ finest. The Hurricanes have never played any of the teams in the group, so we (and they) would be an unknown quantity. The first thing to note was that whoever played ‘downhill’ had a big breeze behind them and fortunately in the first game against Irchester Gladiators Woburn had the advantage. In fact, Evan in goal did not touch the ball once! However, despite vastly superior possession and territory, Hurricanes could not slay the Gladiators and the match ended 0-0.
Second up were ON (Old Northamptonians) Chenecks Blues. The Hurricanes were this time playing into the wind, but pressed well and had the majority of possession. However, the one clear chance that Chenecks had, from a hopeful punt forward and lashed finish, proved to be the decider. Chenecks 1-0 Hurricanes.
Hurricanes knew that after playing well but only gaining 1 point from a possible 6, the next match had become a must-win. Up stepped Inspiration FC, who had lost their first two matches, kicking downhill. Hurricanes took the game to them, and a 20-yard stonker from Rocco turned out to be the match winner. Inspiration FC 0-1 Hurricanes.
At the half-way stage, Woburn trailed their next opponents, group leaders Irchester Romans by 3 points so a win would put them back on course. However, they soon fell behind as the nippy Romans no. 9 pounced on a rebound from a good save by Luke. The luckless keeper fell awkwardly on his shoulder making the first save, but whilst Leon and Andy attended to him on the pitch, incredibly the referee restarted the game! Fortunately, the Romans gained no advantage from this oversight, but they did double their lead before the end. Hurricanes 0-2 Romans.
The penultimate group game was against Parklands Tigers Amber, and Woburn decided to go for it. Stung by the bad luck (and poor refereeing) of the Romans game, Hurricanes put on a commanding performance against the joint hosts, and Tao opened his account from a great cross from Joe D. 0-1 was the final score, and although the Bedfordshire boys were reliant on other results to progress, they had played their way back to form.
Other results did not go favourably for the Lions, so the final game saw the Hurricanes playing the Blues – in this case, Billing Utd Blues. Woburn played their best football of the tournament and were quickly 1-0 up as Harry turned in Joe H’s pass. Within a few minutes Luke launched a big kick from deep in his own half, Tao ran the length of the half with the ball and coolly smashed the ball past the Blues keeper to make it 2-0. Just before the end Tao doubled his tally by pouncing on a loose ball and clinically finishing to make it a final score of 3-0.
Leon and Andy celebrated the final performance buying the boys ice-cream and candy floss, and the opening tournament of the summer was over. On reflection, the performances mirrored the weather – a cool start, warm in places, and sizzling by the end (just like the author’s skin), so let’s hope that we have a good forecast for Moretonville!