U15 Boys Win South-West Championships to Progress to Nationals
On Wednesday 1st May three Purbeck teams represent Dorset at Handball down in Paignton after being so successful at the Dorset School Games.
The U15 boys had trained for two years for this moment after at U13 losing narrowly in the final and failing to get to nationals. This was time for revenge!
In the first group game Purbeck dominated winning 11-3 against Pool Academy. Oscar Meaker started the scoring with an excellent spin and finish, followed quickly up by a Joey Towers double (one of which as straight into the top corner. Kyle Cavendish was his usual dominant self-scoring to solo screamers and with Lewis Cartridge dominating the line, powering through to score a hat trick. Kian Salina and Tommy both also got in on the act from out wide to complete a great start to the tournament.
The second group game was an absolute nightmare for many a reason. Kingsley were aggressive an bullish taking gamesmanship to another level. At one point Lewis Cartridge was being tackled from all directions and brought to the floor. The boys fought on though despite not being protected by the officials and grinded out an 8-3 victory. Goals came predominantly from Joey, Kyle and Lewis, with an absolute belter from Kian Salina in the bottom corner after an excellent ‘show and go’.
This put the boys in a great position, knowing that a win against Balcarras would allow them to top the group and earn a place in the final. Balcarras were strong though and had clearly been coached to high level. With the game quite even, up stepped Sam Bowen driving through the defence to create the lead. From that point on it was pure destruction, with a special mention to Jamie Foskett who scored three goals from the tightest angles. Purbeck won 7-4 and were through to the final!
After a long wait the boys were 100% focussed on what they had to do. They knew that horrible feeling of despair from two years ago and that really spurred them on. The final was an absolute spectacle and by far the most comprehensive performance I have seen from any boys team at the Purbeck School. The first half was reasonably even, with Purbeck’s defence being massively on top with an unbeatable goalkeeper in Lewis Reeves. At half time Purbeck edge it at 5-3, but after a classic Mr Tarbard motivational team talk the next 10 minutes was exceptional. In the whole ten minutes Purbeck didn’t concede a goal, putting in massive tackles and being highly disciplined. The officials really were on the Gloucestershire teams’ side and consequently gave four penalties in 5 minutes. Up stepped the momentous Lewis Reeves to save every single one cranking up the pressure on the opposition. From then on it was all Purbeck with the highlight reel goal being a pop into the area to Lewis Cartridge to catch and score whilst in the air. Purbeck won to cheers and tears 9-3 absolutely dominating the opposition.
To say that I was proud was a complete understatement and what epitomised Purbeck’s team spirit and togetherness was an Ollie Peters tackle on a boy twice his size picking him up and driving him back towards his goal. It really was team effort and I see no reason why this exceptional squad of young men can’t go all the way at nationals in Derby on 15th June!
The girls have worked incredibly hard for the last two years for this tournament. They are the absolute epitome of teamwork and have been completely supportive of each other and the boys whom they have trained with.
Nerves were upon us, however, being well trained and disciplined the girls were up for taking the tournament by storm.
Their first game was against Torquay and it took them a while to get into their stride. They were never not in the lead but they didn’t play the explosive handball I know they are capable of. There was no stopping Bethany who dodged around players and used her strength to drive through and score 5 goals. Close behind her Wilko put some blinding goals in from the wing and Robyn scored a couple of excellent goals. This was a comfortable win 5-10.
The next game was against Penryn and the girls knew they had to step their game up and boy did they! They were awesome, again Bethany was top goal scorer but Holly was close on her heels, who also scored a blinding penalty. Michaela fed the ball around beautifully and even took the opportunity to drive through and score 2 goals. Molly came on to replace an injured Michaela and put in a crunching tackle which unfortunately resulted in her getting sin binned for 2 minutes. Again this was a comfortable win 11-1.
Throughout the whole tournament Amelie was fearless in goal and saved numerous shots on target including penalties. The girl’s toughest match of the heats was their last match against Stroud 2. Stroud were good tacklers and targeted Bethany. However the girls have strength in numbers, all of them can shoot so this just allowed other players to step up and score. Sofia who has just come back from a serious injury set up some lovely goals and Michaela was the top goal scorer in this game. The girls won 8-4 which guaranteed them a place in the final.
Once again the girls were up against their rivals Stroud 1. Stroud quickly took the lead and went 2-0 up. However never once did the girls give up. Stroud has clearly done their homework and once again targeted Bethany. However this just created more space and opportunities for others to shoot. Both Michaela and Amelie played some beautiful long balls which allowed Holly and Jodie to bang some eye wateringly powerful goals in the back of the net. Finally the girls were in the lead! It was all getting too tense. Sat on the side-line we were wishing the final whistle would blow. Wilko scored 2 fantastic goals which completely flummoxed their goal keeper who along with Amelie was also on fire! This put us further in the lead. The excitement was getting too much. Alas we gave possession away a couple of times and this then lead to them scoring a couple of dubious goals. If we could just hold on to the 1 goal lead for a few more seconds the final would be won. Unfortunately another mistake lead to Stroud scoring a goal just before the final whistle, the result was a draw 9-9.
The game now went into 5 minutes extra time. Despite all our efforts and hard work and NEVER giving up the girls conceded another penalty, Amelie spectacularly saved one but Stroud managed to put 2 goals past her after that. Amelie played a blinder today and the girls played out of their skins. I couldn’t have been prouder of their endeavour or prowess. Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time for us to recover and we lost 1-2. I can hand on heart say these girls are an inspiration. United we stand united we fall! I’m absolutely gutted for them but they should hold their heads up high and remember the journey they have been on. Third place in the National finals in year 8 making them third best in the country, runners up last year at the South West playing a year above their age group and runners up in the South West this year and furthermore they are undoubtedly such positive role models and ambassadors of the school. I am beyond proud and thank them for all their determination, commitment and memories! Well done girls you rock!
The U13s approached the south-west tournament with a good chance of winning and progressing to nationals. The boys started slowly and struggled in the first game gradually slogging out a 6-4 victory. This game was pretty much solely won by Archie Leaton making multiple saves to keep the boys in the game. The second game the boys really woke up and flourished. Aspen Critchell and Connor Magnier in particular turned into scoring machines capitalising on every chance they got, comprehensively winning 8-2. The must win third game came along with the boys knowing that a win would put them into the final giving them the chance to be South-West champions and progress to nationals. Purbeck dominated their opposition 8-1 with multiple players getting on the score sheet allowing specific players to rest with the final looming.
The final was an absolute spectacle with the boys coming up against a massive and highly physical well coached team. Unfortunately for the first half the boys were intimidated being 9-1 down at half time. After a motivational speech by Aaron Harvey (Head Boy) it was like a different team came out for the second half. The boys eventually lost 10-6 but won the second half 5-1. With a quicker start in the first half this could have been a very different story. It reminded me very much of the current Year 10 boys two years ago. Therefore with more focus, training and positive mind-set I can see these boys replicating the success of the U15s in two years’ time.