Year 8 Football Success

Verulam’s Year 8 footballers continued their pursuit of silverware in both the County Cup and National Cup competitions with another county cup away fixture, travelling to the furthest edges of Hertfordshire to play Bishops Stortford High School. On a big open pitch with windy conditions, and slightly under strength due to injuries, the boys were up against it. However their efforts and perseverance saw them create a chance for the deadly Harrison Smith who finished in style. As the game went on both teams were finding the conditions difficult and in an even match, but the game was decided with the last kick of the game by none other than Harrison Smith – scoring his 22nd goal of the season and securing his third man of the match award in the last three games. The boys were overjoyed to progress to the semi-final of the County Cup with a match up against either Queens or Aldenham School in the next round.

Their next challenge, a feat that had never been achieved by a Verulam side before, was to win their last 16 National Cup match. Over a thousand schools enter the competition, so reaching the last 16 was an achievement in itself. Could Verulam make history and reach the quarter finals? Illness, injury and ESFA rulings meant the side were again under strength, and a great amount of teamwork and determination was required to get a result. Veralum came up against a school from St Neots, Huntingdon, Hertfordshire who were in the same position having never got this far in the competition before. The weather was not on our side, leaving Sandpit Lane with puddles on the pitch the day before the game. With an external referee booked and an opposition coach for parents and players booked we only had one option – to find a AstroTurf pitch to complete the fixture. Thankfully Herts University pitch was available for hire so we travelled across on Tuesday afternoon.

The game started with the wind in our faces and the teams looked fairly even in the first half. That was until a ball was played over the top to Harrison Smith, who finished with a great left foot finish while wearing Mr Giles’ left boot as his new boots hadn’t been worn in yet! Verulam took a one goal lead into half time despite receiving a great deal of pressure from Longsands in the final part of the half. The second half began with an early goal from goal machine Smith, his 24th of the season, which was followed up shortly after with a great finish from William Andiyapan from an acute angle. With the match more stretched spaces began to open and William Andiyapan again finished well before striking the goal of the game direct from a free kick for his hatrick. Before the game was out, goalkeeper Alfie Chambers made some excellent stops to frustrate their strikers further before Charlie McDonald drifted up from a corner and headed home to make the final score 6-0 in the last 16 fixture. Verulam Year 8’s made history and have reached the quarter finals of the National Cup, the last eight schools in the country. Well done to all the boys in the squad: Alfie Chambers, Charlie Taylor (Captain), Kyrese Williams, Charlie Mc Donald, Dan O’Toole, Paolo Overton, Dom Ward, William Andiyapan, Elliot Johnson, Vinnie Clarke, Harrison Smith, Ben Collison and Bayley Bacon.
Also congratulations to those boys who have helped in earlier rounds, but missed out in this game for various reasons: Tomas Galvez, Harrison Shaw and Frankie Ward, we hope to have them back soon. All the boys will be keen to see the quarter final draw on Monday 29th!

Mr O Giles

P.E. Department

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