FOOTBALL: Penalty shoot-out festival victory for Rugby Town Tigers

Rugby Town Tigers Under 9s, champions at the Easington Sports festival
Rugby Town Tigers Under 9s, champions at the Easington Sports festival

Outstanding play by Under 9s at Easington Sports festival

Rugby Town Under 9s Tigers

The Tigers travelled to Banbury on Saturday to play in very strong well run festival. With ten teams in the group and the sun shining they knew this was going to be a long tough day.

Things got worse when in the first game Hudson got injured and could take no further part.

First up was Middleton Cheney and lads started brightly moving the ball quickly goals came from Toby, Kaydon and Alfie. Second up was Bure Park, who had defeated Tigers in a semi-final a couple of weeks ago. This time though, the lads dominated play with Kaydon and Alfie notching and James superb as ever in goal.

Wins then came against Bloxham, Banbury United and Oxford City goals coming from Kaydon, Alfie and a rocket from Charlie who was having a fine day in the middle of the park.

Toby and Oli Winn were playing with great composure at the back while Kaydon and Alfie were tearing teams apart in attack.

Tigers then played a strong Evesham side who beat them comfortably 3-1. In tournament football you have to bounce back quickly and the lads did, beating Shipston Scorpions.

Next up Easington Sports, a lovely passing side and Tigers played out a tense 0-0 draw. Going into the last group game the lads had to win to qualify, against Carterton Town. Two crackers from Kaydon gave Rugby Town a 2-1 win and into the semis qualifying in second place.

After playing 90 minutes of football the lads had a 30-minute break.

In the semi they faced the winners of the other group, Bampton Town in another tense affair with no one able to break the deadlock. Then, with 30 seconds to go Charlie burst through from midfield and hammered it top corner a great strike and the boys were into the final.

In the final they faced rivals Bure Park. The lads were out on their feet by now but were told before the game how immensely proud I was of each and everyone of them and asked for the last push.

The lads gave it their all, but the energy just wasn’t there. A great save from James kept them in it and with the last kick of the game they hit the bar but it went over. So it was to the dreaded penalty shoot out. Five each, quite impressive that both teams scored all five. Toby, Kaydon, Oli, Alfie and James all struck theirs nonchalantly into the corners.

Sudden Death - gulp - Bure first and a wonder save from James. Charlie Nicholas stepped up and with the promise of the biggest ice cream he could find on offer he smashed it into the top left corner! Cue the celebrations. James was superb in goal all day with some great saves along the way. Toby (who played the best he’s ever played with great composure on the ball) and Oli Winn were great at the back, solid in the tackle and passing the ball out nicely. Charlie was immense in the middle of the park winning the ball and driving the game forward. Kaydon and Alfie were fantastic on the left and right, terrorising defences and scoring plenty.

An unbelievable achievement by this set of lads playing 110 minutes, then winning the penalty shoot-out in the final. I couldn’t be prouder of them and thank you to Hudson for staying and cheering the boys on all day.