Year 6 7 a side football

Ten excited boys arrived at the Chigwell Police Grounds, last Friday afternoon for the annual 7-a-side Rally. Wearing their excellent (and relatively new St John’s football kit) they proceeded on their way to the back fields, where they began to do their pre-match warm-ups, whilst Mr Jarmain collected the competition details and prepared the tactics. One of the things that he mentioned was that he wanted us to work hard for each other and aim to keep as many clean sheets as possible. If we did that, then we wouldn’t lose any games! Then, after a short while we were off!

Following this team talk and tactical discussion, our first match was against a school from Epping: Ivy Chimneys. It was a good game, but following goals from the two Jesse’s (Friend and Francis) St John’s were the victors. We then had a game off, where we talked about our strengths and weaknesses from the previous game; next up were Epping Primary. This too was an excellent game from St John’s perspective. We scored 3 goals to nothing (the most we would score throughout the tournament) which was great considering the games were only 10 minutes long. These goals were scored by Kian Steward (from a well-worked corner), Bill Donaghue (with a composed finish) and Jesse Friend – with a delicate chip over the keeper.

Once again we had some time to reflect and re-energise, as we would not be playing another game for at least 20 minutes, as we had two games off. Our next match would be against Leverton (who are a school in Waltham Abbey). This was one of our tightest games; both teams were desperate for the win, as you’d expect, but St John’s had a number of very good chances, but still won the game 1-0 thanks to a well-worked goal by Arthur Maskell – who curled the ball into the bottom left hand corner.

Next up was our final group game against Lambourne Primary. Mr Jarmain continued to rotate the squad players, to keep them relatively fresh for the knock-out stages, which were to follow. We knew that we would be finishing either first or second in our group due to our excellent results, as well as the results of the other teams in our group. Nonetheless, St John’s started off their final group game with a great deal of energy and controlled the game really well. Plenty of chances came and, pleasingly, we won the final game 1-0, with Jesse Francis scoring the goal, greatfully receiving the ball from the opposition keeper.

All the teams left in the tournament were then called together for a final team talk; the organiser – Marcus Cattell – explained who the final four teams would be in the knock-out stages. St John’s would be joined by: Chigwell Primary, St John’s Fisher and Lambourne Primary (who had finished second in our group). St John’s would play Chigwell Primary in the Semi-Final, whilst the two other teams played each other in theirs.

St John’s Semi-Final was a great game and a really hard fought battle, with both teams eager to progress through to the final. There were a number of great performances by the boys, but in the end we were the victors, due to an amazing strike by our captain, Jesse Friend, who thumped the ball into the back of the net from quite a distance! Even the opposition coach remarked to Mr Jarmain at the end that he didn’t mind losing to such a high quality goal!

Following lots of hand shaking and commiserating with the Chigwell boys we would find out who our opposition would be for our Cup Final... and soon we found out who it would be: St John Fisher, from Loughton. The boys and Mr Jarmain got together for our final team talk; we talked tactics and explained how important it was to put all of our efforts into this match. The boys were desperate to win!

Once again, St John’s boys performed admirably; we hadn’t let in a single goal up to this point and we were eager to continue this... and we did. It was another fantastic result for the boys and with a great Shea Steward solo goal (where he broke out of defence, sprinted up the field and stroked the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper) to cap off an earlier goal by Jesse Francis (who had cut in beautifully from the left wing), St John’s finished up 2-0 winners!

The whole team were delighted by the result – we would be leaving with the trophy after a really hard-fought set of games. After a brief awards ceremony (minus the trophy) the boys departed with their Champions medals, and with the welcome news ringing in their ears that they would be taking part in the Football County Final, in Colchester, In early December – as a reward for all of their hard work and excellent behaviour during the Rally. Special mention for the tremendous defensive performance of the team; to not concede a single goal in 6 games is very, very impressive – well done too our defensive back line of Kasey, Shea and Kian – for keeping so many clean sheets!

Congratulations to every single one of the boys who took part in the Football Rally. Squad: Kasey Clarke GK, Shea Steward DF, Kian Steward DF, Jesse Friend MF (Captain), Jesse Francis MF, Zach Sapiro MF/S, George Brown MF, Frankie Organ MF, Arthur Maskell MF,  Bill Donaghue S.