Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Shield Victory for our U16 ‘Iron-Men’ at UKU National Championships!

Date: Sat 2nd July 2016

Arthur Terry once again entered the U16 UK Ultimate national schools championships, which took place at Moor Lane Pavilions in Birmingham on Sat 2nd July.  The team competed under the name of our traditional team ‘Arctic’ title, in a competition that had the largest number of school team entries in recent years.  Unfortunately, the Arctic squad had just the minimum number of 5 players turn up to represent the team in the 5-a-side competition, which meant that the boys were required to play every minute of every game – known in the sport as ‘iron-manning’.

After a great start in the opening match, the team unfortunately struggled to hold onto the initial lead they had taken.  After conceding a goal during the last play of the game, the result finished with a very unfortunate 6-7 defeat to ‘RGS Ravens’ (Surrey).  Two further defeats came from two of the top seeded teams in the group, ‘Flux’ (Twycross) and ‘Air Badgers 2’, but a comprehensive 9-3 win in the last game against team ‘Venom’ was enough for the team to qualify for the ‘second tier knock-out stage’ shield competition.

The opening game of this 8 team knock-out section saw the ‘Arctic’ boys take on Manchester based side ‘Hydras’.  The game was very close; with the score being level at 4-4 going into the final minute it literally came down to a next point wins scenario, which the boys managed to secure and progress through to the semi-finals.  The semi-final match was against ‘Air Badgers 3’ and this proved to be a more comfortable contest.  The boys dominated the game and secured their place in the final with a clinical 6-2 win.

A slight fairy-tale ending was presented in the final, when it emerged that the opponents for this last game would be ‘RGS Ravens’, the team that the Arctic Boys had narrowly lost to in the opening match of the tournament - …the chance to avenge this defeat and win the shield provided in one game!  The match proved to be just as close as the first game had been, which reflected in a tug-of-war type score line throughout the game.  With just 3 mins left to play the score was 5-5, and once again it looked to be heading towards the scenario of next point wins.  Using every last ounce of energy that was left in the tanks, the boys not only managed to score the next goal, but also forced a further turnover and to score another goal to extend the score-line to an unassailable 7-5 lead. After regulation time had finished, the opponents managed to score the last goal to close the play and make the official score 7-6.  This of course proved only to be a small consolation against the Arctic team who were absolutely thrilled to avenge their opening defeat and obtain the shield victory!

The final ranking for the boys was 9th place overall in the championships – but the effort, determination and teamwork that all of the 5 boys displayed throughout the day proved to be the real achievement that they could all take away and be extremely proud of.  Every opponent that they played identified the boys in their ‘top 3 spirit nominations’, which reflected the tremendous effort that they displayed throughout the day - Well done lads!!   

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