With realistically modest expectations the Under 9's began the day a man down before a ball was kicked. Their manager (and the writer of this article) was cruelly struck down by a virus just hours before the catchily titled York City FC Foundation Tournament was due to begin. Our third year of entry was to be masterminded by the Jose Mourinho of the Nidderdale League, Jamie Webb, ably assisted by my wife Liz Hines. What happened next was to provide the perfect antidote for my ailment.
Having played in two previous YCFCF tournaments, with limited success (please note the use of the word limited could be described as positive spin), once again we opened our tournament account with a defeat. The game was slow to start. and on a wet pitch against a tough Driffield Warriors team, who applied pressure from the start. After conceding the first goal we played well, but got caught pushing for the equaliser and eventually went down to a 2-0 defeat.
We didn't let it get us down. We had come to this tournament with a different attitude. On previous occasions we'd poured over tactics and formations, but not this time. This time the plan was simple - go out and have fun - to enjoy football. That's it.
Our second match followed immediately. A talented Heworth side featured several boys from the Sambarca academy, and on paper this was a game we weren't expected to win. But in the best traditions of the football cliche - football matches are played on grass not paper - and as you've probably you guessed by now, we won the game 2-1 - with goals from Will and Henry.
There then followed a long break before game three, against Wigginton Grasshoppers. The match was a tight affair, played in good spirit between two evenly matched sides, and almost inevitably ended in a 1-1 draw with. Our goal scored by Owen.
What turned out to be our final game was against a dominant Haxby Town on home turf. Haxby had won the two previous tournaments, and were expecting to progress. However they hadn't counted on the wonder kid that is Charles W, who scored two goals, the first of which was a worldy! We had the full support of the Driffield Warriors squad for this one, as they needed us to beat Haxby to ensure they won the group. Playing some excellent possession football, with everyone working hard, and some excellent goalkeeping from Evan H, and last ditch tackling by Ted M, we won the game 2-1. The game was a real treat for the crowd, and their stand-in coach!
Tockwith Under 9's finished in second place in Group A, with 7 points from 4 games and a goal difference of 0 - which unfortunately proved to be one goal short of qualification for the semi-finals. So near but yet so far, but the TJFC Under 9's did themselves proud and thoroughly impressed their sickly manager. Well done to all our boys and well done and a big thank you to Jamie and Liz.
Manager TJFC Under 9's
Coaches and friends of the Tockwith Juniors football club