Academy Under 12s ease to win as Oxford is conquered

The Banbridge Academy Under 12s squad who earned victory in the Oxford tournament.
The Banbridge Academy Under 12s squad who earned victory in the Oxford tournament.
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The Junior U12 Academy boys’ hockey team returned from Oxford as champions in Easter’s U12 South of England Championships.

The local juniors fielded two sides and competed against the best teams in the wider Oxfordshire area.

Not to be outdone by the seniors, the U12 Academy side has had a tremendous season under Coach Mr Clarke, but even in his absence and with caretaker coach Cordner shaping the attacks, they made light work of their English opponents.

The tour, now in its 19th year, began with a fine 2-0 win over host club Oxford at 11 a side level and an entertaining “Steve and Roy Celebration of Life” fixture with Cordner grabbing two goals and Simon Jess poaching another in a spectacle of fine hockey.

The Academy A team’s first match was a successful win over Cirencester 3-0 with goal-scorers Charlie Rowe, Jordan Nummy and Nathan Reid to start on a positive footing.

This form continued in the second match against Oxford A winning 3-0 with goal-scorers Charlie Rowe, Louis Rowe and Nathan Reid. In the Academy’s third group match, Charlie Rowe scored the only goal from either of the two teams, scoring with a flick to edge a very strong Eastcote a 1-0 win.

In the fourth match, Banbridge Academy continued its streak of winning with a 4-1 success over Cheltenham and goal-scorers Charlie Rowe, Cody Large and Seb Best.

In the semi-finals, Banbridge Academy won against Marlow 3-0 and then it was the final - a tough match but the Academy managed to win 2-0 thanks to goals from Charlie and Louis Rowe.

The Banbridge Academy B team’s campaign started with a draw against Oxford B and then came a 1-0 defeat to Bicester. They recovered with a 1-0 win over Marlow with goal-scorer Charlie Keery and another fine win over Eastcote B 1-0 with goal-scorer Thomas Urwin.

In their last match they lost 3-0 to a talented Reading outfit and did not qualify to the semis.

They can be justifiably proud of their achievement, in particular Jack McFarland who showed great improvement at the back with quality possession and newly gained keeper Andrew Jackson, who impressed everyone as he snuffed out many a fine attack with fantastic blocking ability.