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Match Report: U16 North West Indoor Finals

The Under 16 boys travelled to Manchester Grammar School to compete in the North West Indoor Finals, with King’s finishing top of their group in dramatic fashion.

Their first match was against a strong Wirral Grammar School, and the team felt suitably prepared despite a number of players having little to no previous experience with competitive indoor hockey. King’s started the game strongly, transferring their outdoor skills to keep possession well and control the play, causing Wirral to rely on quick counter-attacks, which were quickly dealt with by the defence.  A number of King’s player displayed their individual skill, quickly driving down the wings and find good passes into dangerous areas. Despite the team’s dominant performance, they were unable to convert a number of very good chances, including two penalty flicks, which were both missed. The game ended 0-0, with the team defending well as a unit and controlling the play through-out the game, but a number of missed chances eventually cost the team a win.

The second game of the tournament was against a strong Rossall side, who had defeated hosts Manchester Grammar School in their opening match. King’s started well, with the team moving the ball around swiftly on the counter and defending well as a unit, making it difficult for the Rossall attackers to find and use space. Despite their best efforts to resist the mounting pressure of the Rossall attack, the opposition scored late in the first half. The team went into the half a goal down, but with the knowledge that if they keep playing as they were, started the second half positively, which resulted in an early Cameron MacKinnon goal from a successful short corner. There were a few chances left in the game, but Rossall dealt with the King’s offence well, and the game ended 1-1.

King’s went into their final game of the tournament against hosts Manchester Grammar School knowing that they needed a win to be in with a chance of progressing to the North Finals, as well as other results going their way. The team started well, with the team pressing Manchester Grammar School deep into their own half, building pressure on the opposition defence. Within a matter of minutes, King’s were two goals to the good, with Cameron MacKinnon converting a well-executed short corner and scoring from a good piece of open play. The team went into the break with the knowledge that they were in the best position that they could be, and started the second half as they finished the first, with Cameron MacKinnon getting his well-deserved hat-trick via a short corner. In the dying minutes of the game, Manchester Grammar School pegged back a goal that merely proved to be a constellation, as the match ended 3-1 to King’s.

The last game of the group between Rossall and Wirral was the deciding game as to who progressed, with Rossall needing to win and King’s needing Wirral to either draw or defeat against Rossall. After a closely contested first half, neither team had put one past the other, which left the top spot still very much in contention. The King’s boys had to head home at the half, with the promise that they would be informed promptly if they had progressed. Mid-way through the journey back to school, Mr Sanders received the call that would reveal the winners of the group. The final score of the Rossall-Wirral game was 0-0, which mean that King’s had progressed through to the next stage, the North Finals.

There were good performances throughout the day, with everyone contributing to the team’s success. Goalkeeper Henry Ives made a number of crucial saves during the course of the day, some of which kept King’s in contention for the top spot. These saves included a string of good stops against Rossall, preventing the team from conceding from a string of Rossall short corners. Defenders Max Ridings and skipper Keeran Manoharan were solid in defence, with both players displaying their excellent technical ability in the tackle as well as their composure when under pressure, allowing them to play the ball out of the defence and launch quick counter-attacks. Sean Neary proved on many occasions to be too much for the opposition defences to handle, using his pace and dribbling ability to weave in and out of players with ease, fashioning multiple chances for himself and others. Cameron MacKinnon showed his clinical finishing by converting a number of short corners, as well as adding to his tally from open play. He also drove down the pitch with pace, and pressed the opposition well, creating panic in the opposition defence. Callum Snook held up the ball well and often acted as an offensive outlet for quick counter-attacks, using his vision and distribution to bring in others into the attack. Max Gillson and Mike Naismith provided movement off the ball when in offence, and pressed the ball well, forcing mistakes and pouncing on loose passes.

Overall, the tournament was a success, with the team progressing to the North Indoor Finals, which is at Manchester Grammar School on Thursday 10th December. The team did well to progress to the next stage, and will be looking to add to their fortunes in the North Finals. 


Match Report: King’s 5 Birkenhead 1 – 14th November 2015 (Home)


The under 16’s fourth game of the season was a success, with the team defeating a strong Birkenhead side comfortably. The team took the first few minutes of the game trying to find their feet, which resulted in a number of mistakes and eventually led to Birkenhead taking the lead from a short corner. This gave King’s the wake-up call that they needed and the team started to play the hockey that they had become accustomed to after the last few games. With the team playing to their usual standards and with the team piling players’ forwards an equalising goal was imminent. Within a few minutes, Callum Snook slotted home after a neat move down the wing. Max Gillson also scored a matter of minutes later, and the team when into half time a goal to the good.


 King’s started the second half confidently, with the team dominating both possession and territory as well as moving the ball around the back with pace, which resulted in numerous switches of play. Sean Neary slotted home twice in quick succession, by finishing off a neat piece of play down the left flank, as well as winning back possession in the opposition half and driving through the middle of the pitch, finishing off his run by flicking the ball past the keeper. Cameron MacKinnon added a fifth in the closing minutes of the game.


There were a number of positives to be taken from the game, including the team’s control of possession and territory. The patience of Max Ridings and Sean Neary when passing allowed the team to hold the ball in the midfield and move it around the pitch quickly and exploit the spaces left in the Birkenhead defensive unit. This control of possession allowed the team to press higher up the pitch forcing Birkenhead to rely on quick counter-attacks and long passes through the middle of the pitch.


Another positive to be taken from the match was the team’s display of versatility; King’s when into the game with 15 players in total, which left 4 substitutes on the bench at all time, and resulted in heavy rotation through-out the game. A number of players played out of position, but all quickly adapted to the rigours of their role which allowed for the team to maintain their fluidity in play and meant that the team were a threat the opposition for the entirety of the game.


There were good games all over the pitch, with Marcus Wesley (Man of the Match), Cameron MacKinnon and Sean Neary all having exceptionally good games. Wesley often drove down the left flank creating two-on-one situations with the midfield and forward lines against the opposition fullback. MacKinnon showed great work rate and determination through-out the game, making a number of tackles in the midfield and driving down the pitch with the ball effectively. Sean Neary, who was deployed in a deeper role, created numerous chances of the team, picking out good passes to switch the play as well as causing havoc to the Birkenhead defence with his mazy runs with the ball, and his ability to get away from his marker.





Match Report: King’s 6 Weaverham 0 – 12th October 2015 (Home)

After a strong start to their cup campaign this season, the Under 16’s continued their winning ways by beating Weaverham in a closely contested game, despite what the score line may suggest. The team began well, holding possession in the defensive half and in the midfield, as well as moving the ball around quickly and driving up the pitch strongly. The team made use of their strong start by scoring within a matter of minutes from the push-back. They doubled the score later in the first half, and when into halftime full of confidence and had their nerves relaxed by the two goal cushion that they held. They started the second half just as well as they did the first, once again scoring within a matter of minutes of the push-back. They finished the game well, adding three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game, exploiting the opposition’s tired defence and loos of confidence. Goals came from a number of players, with Sean Neary contributing 2 goals and a handful of assists, Marcus Wesley also scoring two, finishing off two well-worked moves, Sam Buckingham adding to his tally, taking it to 2 in the cup and new-boy Louis Gruber contributing a deflection goal to the score line.

There were a number of positives to be taken from the game, including the Under 16’s constant control of possession, which forced Weaverham to press hard and high, allowing the like of Archie Phillips, Charlie Toms and Sam Buckingham to either pick out good passes to the flanks, or exploit the space in midfield and drive down the pitch themselves. Once again, the combination of Neary, Callum Snook and Max Ridings on the flank proved to be too strong for the opposition, which the trio often linking nicely and rotation down the flank, due to their versatility. The defence was also very solid, once again leaving goalkeeper Tom Carter with little to do; they marked well, and dealt with the opposition’s use of free-roaming forwards, who were constantly dropping in and out of the midfield, effectively. The team were also able to prevent Weaverham from winning any short corners, once again dealing with their tackles outside of the defensive circle, and tackling in a strong but clean manner when inside the circle.

There were good games all over the pitch, with Sean Neary just beating skipper Keeran Manoharan to the Man of the Match award, and Marcus Wesley, Charlie Toms and Joe Laughton all having exceptionally good games. Neary proved to be a constant threat to the Weaverham defensive unit, often driving from deep in the midfield down the right flank, exhibiting his dribbling ability. He contributed two goals and a handful of assists, including a reverse stick lob over the keeper. Manoharan orchestrated his defence well, acting a pivot around the defence, allowing the team to switch the play to the other flank with pace. He swept up any loose ball at the back, and made strong tackles in the defensive half. Wesley showed his goal-scoring prowess, neatly finishing off two good moves, and narrowly missing another; this was also show during the second XI game against King’s Chester, where he once again found the net. Toms displayed his excellent range of passing, often sending through balls to Neary and MacKinnon to latch onto the end of, and confidently drove through the centre of the pitch, causing panic in the opposition defensive unit. Laughton marked tightly, not allowing his man to get passed, and made a number of good tackles and interceptions. He used his physicality to his advantage, often staying strong on the ball, and winning a high percentage of his tackles.

Overall, the match was a success, with the team winning against a Weaverham side with a number of good players. The win takes them through to the Cheshire finals, with their opposition yet to be confirmed.   


Match Report U16 - October 8th
King’s 4 King's Chester 0

The first cup match of the season for the under 16’s was a success, with the team winning in an emphatic style over a strong King’s Chester side. The team began well, dominating both possession and territory, forcing the opposition to rely on their pace on the counter-attack to create any chances on goal. The team pressed the defence well, and occupied space well at the opposition free hits, often causing them to play the ball backward, or causing an error in their defence, which ultimately lead to Cameron MacKinnon slotting home the first goal of the game, after he pounce on a poor ball from the opposition to drive into the circle and finish neatly in the bottom left corner. The team when into the half one goal to the good, but knew that King’s Chester could come back at any point. The started the second half strongly, with Archie Phillips hitting a first time shot only a matter of minutes from the break. The goal was created from a hazy Sean Neary run down the baseline after good passing play between Neary, Callum Snook and Max Ridings. This calmed the nerves in the King’s Macclesfield side, allowing us to merchandise the play more, with the team exploiting the gaps in the King’s Chester midfield and defence. The likes of Charlie Toms and Sam Buckingham were able to find long-ranged passes for Neary, Phillips and MacKinnon to latch onto the end of, which caused panic in the King’s Chester defensive unit. The third goal of the game came from Sam Buckingham, who took the ball past a number of King’s Chester player in the midfield, and drove in a strike from the top of the circle. The final goal of the game came from a short corner, with the ball being slipped to Sean Neary, who launched a goal-bounded shot, which was deflected by a King’s Chester player into the goal.

There were a number of positive to take from the game, including the fact that King’s Chester didn’t win any short corner; the under 16’s dealt with their tackles outside of the defensive circle, and were strong but clean when inside the circle, which left goalkeeper Tom Carter with very little to do. The team were also very accurate with their passes through-out the game, which allowed the forward line to make more adventurous run in and out of the King’s Chester defensive line, and allowed for more fluid passages of play in the midfield and on the wings, many of which lead to chances on goal. The King’s Macclesfield defensive unit also played well, often man-marking the opposition forwards out of the game, or holding them up allowing the midfield to support the defence; this lead to a limited number of chances for King’s Chester to score.

There were good games all over the pitch, with Joe Laughton, Will Harrop and Max Ridings having exceptionally good games. Laughton dealt with the pace and dribbling ability of his winger using his strength in the tackle and physicality when on the ball, which often took the winger out of the game, preventing numerous counter-attacks from King’s Chester. Harrop, who also played against with the opposition winger, used his recovery speed to his advantage, often man-marking the winger, which drew the play into his flank, allowing play to be spread into space once the ball was won ball. Ridings displayed his both his offensive and defensive prowess through-out the game, dealing effectively with the opposition forwards with strong tackling, as well as driving down the line and finding a good ball into the midfield to start counter-attacks. The experience and ability of Toms, Buckingham, Phillips and Neary shone through-out the game, with all four players demonstrating their impressive passing range and ability to drive into space whilst taking on numerous players. This gave confidence to the rest of the team, which in turn spurred them on to play at a higher standard.

Overall, the match was a success, with the team showing promising signs for this season 16’s cup, and for the next season’s under 18’s cup. The under 16’s face Weaverham High School on Monday in the cup, and they look to be well up for what will certainly be a tough game against Weaverham.  

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Ciaran Sanders,
13 Feb 2015, 04:31
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