Fixture: Team Bath Buccaneers U18 Boys
Date and time: Saturday 29 March 2014
Score: 4-0 & 5-0
Venue: Old Loughtonions Hockey Club, Chigwell
As the famous saying goes ‘Great moments come from great opportunities’ and that is exactly what was presented to the Team Bath Buccaneers Under 18 Boys when they arrived at Old Loughtonians Hockey Club for the National English Hockey Under 18 Boys Finals weekend.
The tournament’s recent history has offered little more than unrelenting disappointment for the Team Bath Buccaneers side who have lost in the quarter finals for the past 3 years, including an agonising defeat for many of the current squad on penalty strokes to Cannock 12 months ago. Their dominant performance over the course of the finals weekend ensured they managed to cast off the tag of nearly men and return home victorious.
In many ways Buccaneer’s toughest cup game came in the first round back in September when they were severely tested by a well drilled and confident Ashmoor Side. Buccs, who were 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go, had to show real character and determination to force their way back into the tie and were eventually deserved 3-2 winners.
Comfortable wins over Isca, Taunton and Guildford followed where they scored an incredible 30 goals whilst conceding just 3. A well fought 2-1 victory over Fareham in the Quarter finals set up Team Bath Buccaneer’s first ever trip to the National Finals at Old Loughtonians Hockey Club in East London.
The boys arrived on Saturday morning in confident spirits, despite arriving slightly depleted after losing two defenders from their initial squad of 18 to injury in the week leading up to the Finals.
Team Bath Buccaneers’ semi-final against Ben Rhydding started petulantly with a series of early fouls. However, after this nervy start Buccs went 1-0 up courtesy of a diving deflection by Dan Salmon.
This well worked team goal seemed to settle the Team Bath Buccaneers side who continued to pile on the pressure winning a series of short corners, the third of which bought them a 2-0 lead shortly after when a sprawling Jake Cannock managed to deflect a low Ed Horler flick into the roof of the net.
Team bath Buccaneers’ Goalkeeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterill then made a fabulous low save to maintain their advantage going into half time, which coincidentally proved to be his first and last touch.
In the second half Buccaneers went from strength to strength with a wonderful display of intricate passing and an almost unplayable array of skills. This was exemplified by forward Jake Cannock who added two more goals to his tally from two well-worked short corner routines. That sealed his hat-trick, with Buccs ending deserved 4-0 winners.
The team were quietly confident heading into the Final against a strong City of Peterborough side and after Buccs’ well drilled defence, led by centre back and captain Sam Gregory, absorbed early Peterborough pressure the Bath-based outfit never looked back.
The squad were utterly dominant for the remainder of the final with Team Bath Buccaneers going into the half time break 4 goals up. The talismanic Ed Horler adding two goals and the duo of Will Seward and Callum Smith adding another score each.
From then on the final as a contest was as good as over, although that didn’t stop left back Mike Stride from hitting a 60 yard first time pass to the un-marked Will Seward to complete a comprehensive 5-0 victory in a match that saw Team bath Buccaneers Under 18 Boys become National Champions.
The squad would like to thank David, Paul and Ian for their invaluable help over the season as well as the army of parents whose taxi driving skills are invaluable in allowing the boys to both train and play.