FOOTBALL: Fairytale year for Hillmorton Under 11s
Team only played their first game in November 2017
Hillmorton Under 11s were runners-up in a tournament at Wolves Academy on Saturday - after a fairytale 13-month journey for the young football team.
Rugby father and son Pete and Toby Edwards put the side together and played their first game November 4, 2017 in Division 3 of the Mid-Warwickshire League.
After a draw, loss, win and loss, on December 16 this team then kicked on, winning every league game after that to take the title.
They went on to win the League Shield, beating St Peters Celtic 7-1, before entering four summer tournaments.
Lillington was first, which they won without losing a single game, then on to Coundon Cockerills, where they won again with a 100% record.
In the Hillmorton tournament, they lost out of penalties to Cov Jag, a team they beaten in the first game and then finally onto Daventry Town, which was played in three groups.
The team ended up winning every game until the final, where they were beaten by an excellent Burton Band side.
This year they were promoted to Division 1, and to date they top the league, having played 12 games, winning 11 with one draw.
An entry into last weekend’s Grassroots Cup was a huge step up in quality and an overwhelming display, gave all of the boys a massive day to remember and vital experience gained.
Hillmorton well and truly flew the flag in the very competitive Grassroots Cup held at Wolves Academy on Saturday.
In the opening game they found themselves 2-0 down within five minutes but from here the day started. Hillmorton fired in two goals from Theo Phedon and Jonny Whiteley but let in a last -minute winner against the run of play.
They dominated the second game and with goals from Tyler Armsden (2) Jonny Whiteley won 3-1.
Game 3, and Hillmorton were in full flow, with a Jonny Whiteley hat-trick seeing them group leaders.
In the quarter-finals against a quality Solihull Moors side, Toby Edwards almost gave them the winner with a lovely top bins free kick.
Moors equalised in the last minute, taking the game to penalties.
Hillmorton scored all five, their hero between the sticks Patrick Coulson tipping Moors’ fifth against the bar, which put them into the semi-final.
There Jacob Smith scored a gem, a 30-yard lofted free kick, which was a delight to see! Joshua Hancock also scored, helping Hillmorton to win the game 2-1.
The final was against Halesowen Juniors, who top the JPL league and hadn’t conceded all day. The game remained 0-0 until six minutes from time, then Halesowen scored twice and proved to be the better team, finishing as deserved champions.
It left Hillmorton worthy runners-up, delighted with their achievements as a side whose first game was only 13 months ago.
Manager Peter Edwards said: “Our boys had a fab day playing at a much higher level than they are used to in our league.
“With unknown opposition at this level, and with outstanding Premier League facilities, we were just looking to enjoy a memorable day and to represent Hillmorton well to get our name out there.
“The boys showed that they are certainly ready for next year’s challenge in the Midlands Junior Premier League. They were all heroes today - I am overwhelmed.”
Player of the tournament was handed to Jonny Whiteley, who was amazing and couldn’t stop scoring, notable mention to Josh Hancock.
The full Hillmorton Under 11s squad were: Goalkeeper Patrick Coulson, Andre Gilbert, Mason King, Jacob Smith, Tyler Armsden, Owen Williams, Josh Hancock, Jonny Whiteley, Toby Edwards and Theo Phedon.