YOUTH FOOTBALL: Welbourn schoolboys are Lincs county champs
Welbourn’s Sir William Robertson Academy Year 11 boys were crowned county champions after taking on the might of North Kesteven in the Lincolnshire Schools County Final.
To reach the final they had outfought some formidable opponents. A tough opening fixture against last year’s finalists Carre’s witnessed a hard fought 2-0 victory. An away trip to Boston saw an injury-stricken team limp through 1-0 with debutant performances from Ryan Wilkins, Nick Firmin and Ellis Short.
Their quarter-final match was a hot-tempered affair against Priory Ruskin Academy but the team once again stood tall and deservedly held their nerve with a battling display. The semi-final match was a tough encounter against St George’s. After taking an early lead, St George’s came back with two goals to put SWRA behind for the first time in their quest for silverware. A spirited effort saw SWRA score two goals and hold out for a 3-2 victory.
The boys travelled to Ravendale Park to take on North Kesteven in the final.
North Kesteven played the long ball which Anderson and Wilcox coped with at ease. Callum Stamp went on a penetrating run and was fouled 22m out, resulting in a direct free kick. Ryley Thompson curled the ball up and over the wall into the top corner to give SWRA an early well deserved 1-0 lead.
The game then followed the same pattern with every North Kesteven attack being broken down by an energetic midfield and watertight defence. Haydn Havard weaved his magic and curled a left foot shot against the post to again show North Kesteven that the SWRA goal threat would not go away.
The second half was again an aerial bombardment of long balls, but SWRA captain Luke Anderson headed the ball clear time and again. The SWRA midfield engine had put in a great deal of work but continued to outmuscle the opposition.
With five minutes remaining, a through-ball to Havard saw him cut between the defender and goalkeeper to pivot and shoot into an empty net.
With seconds remaining and the title seemingly in the Welbourn boys’ possession, North Kesteven scored a late goal, but it was too little too late when the final whistle went.
The trophy was collected by Luke Anderson and medals awarded to all the boys in the squad.
SWRA’s head of PE and team coach Kerry Symmons said it had been a pleasure to teach and coach the boys for the last five years: “The route to victory was not easy, however, this group of boys showed good techniques throughout. They grew as a team and by the final showed an extremely high level of resilience to ensure that they were not prepared to leave the field of play without giving their all.
“Rarely do you have 11 players each perform to their maximum, but this was that rare occasion. It took five years to win the big one. Worth the wait. A day you will remember for the rest of your lives.”