Over the weekend of 17th & 18th May 2015, Kings Lynn RHC took to the road once again for CP Roubaix’s annual international tournament. Travelling with both an Under 13’s side and Senior side it was expected to be an exciting weekend. After a 3am departure time on Saturday morning, two minibuses made up of players, parents and plenty of kit began the long journey to France.
The under 13 side, made up of a mixture of ages ranging from 8 to 11 years old, were the youngest side in the tournament. Many of the players making their first appearances outside of England. The tournament for the youngsters was a round robin based event due to there being only five teams entered.
The first game saw them come up against Fontenay. A closely fought game was soon to come with both sides having chances to take an early lead. Nothing being converted until Kings Lynn soon broke on the counter attack and a nicely taken shot saw us take a 1- 0 lead into half time.
Following the break the side were asked to take the same approach in the second half and it wasn’t long before the scoreline was doubled, 2 – 0. Following the goal, Lynn found themselves on the back foot for a few moments and had to rely on their goalkeeper’s to keep them in the game. Some good saves came and helped the side to their first victory of the tournament.
The second game of the weekend was against La Garnache. This was up there with one of the most exciting games of the weekend in the under 13 category. The opposition were made up of all final year under 13’s with plenty of experience, this was certainly going to be a good test for our young side. An early lead soon came for the opposition after a well taken goal, but they were soon pegged back by a bit of brilliance from Lynn. A swift move seeing the ball make its way into the top corner of the net making it 1 – 1. With a few minutes left on the clock and with nothing to choose between the two sides, Lynn gained some advantage and grabbed a couple goals, only for the opposition to reply soon after. However Lynn grabbed a winning goal with just under a minute to play and held out to take the game 4 – 3.
The Sunday was certainly going to be an exciting day for everyone involved. Lynn’s first game of the day was against Roubaix’s B team. This game was one for our young side to show what they could do. The side were on top for the majority of the game but only took a slim one goal lead into the break. After settling the side down in a half time break, they soon found their feet in the second half, each player contributing in some way. The final result was fully deserved as they ran out 4 – 0 winners and set up a title decider with Roubaix A.
The final game of the weekend was expected to be a game showcasing the young talent of roller hockey around at this tournament, and certainly didn’t disappoint. After a good first half of play from both sides, Lynn were certainly unlucky to be 1 – 0 down going into half time, having displayed some great play in both defence and attack. With Lynn now having it all to do in the second half, it was unfortunately not going to be the fairy tale ending we had all hoped for. Roubaix A who were a much stronger and older side took the game comfortably in the end with a 5 – 0 scoreline. Taking nothing away from our young side, they battled from the first minute to the last and showed exactly why they were to finish runners up in the competition.
On a final note, this had been a hugely successful weekend for the youngsters who did themselves proud. They’ve certainly shown to all parents and coaches exactly what they are capable of doing, and have earned a lot of praise from many of the other teams. Both coaches for the young Lynn side Sam Kay and Josh Taylor certainly felt the weekend had been a huge success and are looking forward to getting back to training to work hard for the future.
Sam Kay The group showed fantastic team cohesion across the course of the weekend,which resulted in how organised they were on the rink. Every player had an individual role and contributed to the teams success.
Jo Mills (Under 13 parent) For such a young team playing in an under 13’s tournament, I feel they played amazing and should feel very proud of themselves.
Leena Futter(GK), Alfie Poppy(GK), Joe Crawford, Myah Easter, Joshua Futter, Ria Griffin, Joseph Hawes (C), Miles Hovell and Keaton Vincent
The senior side, which included many of the club’s Premier League players, were looking to defend the tournament title in which they were victorious in this time last year. With six teams entered, two groups had been made up with a semi final and then a final to follow.
The opening game of the tournament came against La Garnache who compete in the French N3 League. Not knowing what to expect from the opposition, Lynn took caution in the first few moments of the game. After time passed Lynn soon realised the standard of the opposition and adapted well. Finding the net numerous times before the break took us into a 8 – 0 half time lead. Much of the same in the second half, with the team constantly changing and keeping fresh allowed more breaks in attack to add to the scoreline, with every player getting on the score sheet and the game finished 16 – 0 to Lynn.
The second game of the day was against hosts Roubaix A. Expected to be a fascinating game with both sides looking to get top spot in the group. Both sides started strong, the early encounters suggesting the game would be battle of defence. After a few goals being converted the score was 3 – 1 to Lynn at the break. Second half began, and Roubaix A were piling on the pressure, and soon got their reward by grabbing another goal back. Following the goal, Lynn soon took the game to the opposition and began to show why they were the champions last year round. The final score coming in at 7 – 3 in favour of Lynn.
Semi final day soon followed on the Sunday, as our senior side had topped the group they would face the runners up of the other which worked out to be Roubaix B. Knowing this game would be as tough, if not tougher than the previous night, the game was approached with care. Both sides taking their time with attacks and not rushing anything to ensure no mistakes were made. Lynn soon found their feet and bagged the opening couple of goals but the hosts soon grabbed a goal back to make it 2 – 1 to Lynn at the interval. Now knowing we had to focus more than ever on the game it self, the next goal in the game would be crucial. The goal soon came in our favour and after that the game never looked like being lost. Plenty of chances being converted and the team play was second to none. Final Sore was 6 – 1 and Lynn were into the final to set up a rematch with Roubaix A.
Heading into the final, this game was certainly going to be a lot different to the previous night. Knowing this, our senior side set up in a tactical way to approach the game. Early chances were limited and we soon found ourselves on the back foot and one goal down. The hosts lead however didn’t last long, an equaliser soon came and then a second for Lynn shortly followed. Both teams grabbed another goal each before half time to make it 3 – 2 to us. The second half of the final was one which will not be forgotten in a hurry for those that were watching. After both teams added to the scoreline it was 4 – 4 heading into the final three minutes in the game, when Lynn struck once again to regain the lead. However with the team now on nine team fouls, discipline was essential. Having played out the remainder of the game not giving anything away, a moment of madness soon struck Lynn and the 10th team foul was awarded literally on the final buzzer. Having liaised with the time keepers, the direct free hit was given but had to be struck directly from the spot. Lynn were now reliant on their goalkeeper to effectively decide the game. Nerves all around from Lynn soon turned in the delight as the direct free hit was saved and the Lynn side were CHAMPIONS for the second year in succession winning the game 5 – 4.
On a final note, the tournament success is something which will be in the memory of those who took part for a long time to come. Taking part and coming out on top in these events in fantastic for the club and everyone involved. We look forward to taking part in other events in the future.
Michael Baker It was great to be involved with such a talented team, all the training came together for this weekend, they were a joy to watch.
Kathryn Baker(GK), Will Martin(GK), Matt Baker, Ryan Barnes, Josh Gay, Jamie Griffin, Sam Kay, Josh Taylor(C) & Jack Tucker
A massive thank you must be given to those from the club who took the time to organise the weekend. Without them the trips such as these wouldn’t be possible. Also a equally as big thank you goes to the two drivers for the weekend, Michael Baker for the senior bus and then Mark Futter for the Under 13’s bus. Both teams would like to place on record their thanks to each other for the support during the games and also to all the parents, it was fair to say we certainly had the best support out of everyone for the whole of the weekend.