A few Island Bay United teams played at Williams Park in Days Bay at the second annual Eastbourne tournament. Thanks to Stephen Moore and Belinda Bryant for their reports
12th Grade Sharks
It was a superb day in Eastbourne for the 12th Grade Sharks to take on some of the region’s top teams in the annual early season tournament.
Island Bay was pitted against Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Karori’s top teams, as well as a combined Stop Out – Eastbourne team in the same pool.
Our first game against Lower Hutt we went behind early, but kept pushing foward and were finally rewarded with an equaliser when Ruairi Merdith’s powerful shot from outside the box took a wicked deflection and sent the keep the wrong way. 1-1 a satisfactory start.
The second game against Karori ended in some controversy. An even first half finished at 0-0. Karori were slow to change over for the second half with kick-off at least a minute after the hooter had sounded. Island Bay scored about 10 seconds after the final hooter sounded and Karori successfully argued that the hooter signalled the end of the game, so the goal was disallowed and the final score was 0-0. Island Bay had more chances and deserved the win.
Needing points, our next game saw a comfortable 2-0 win against Stop Out Eastbourne. In our last game, Upper Hutt gave a fine example of how not to behave both on and off the field. A 1-0 win to IBU the final score and a second placing in our pool.
North Wellington’s top team was our final opposition in the play off for third. Despite numerous chances, the small goals being used were making it hard to beat the keeper and after extra time, 0-0 was the final result. After a count back, we both finished on the same points in pool play but North Wellington were placed third by virtue of a 1 goal better goal difference than us.
So despite being unbeaten and only conceding one goal, we finished a creditable fourth.
More importantly, it was a great day of football, we were able to try some new combinations and I’m sure everyone would agree that we were playing some very attractive football by the end of the game.
11th Grade Sharks
The fields and goals were considerably smaller than standard 11th Grade (which meant our goalie, Cody, came pretty close to scoring on occasion). Despite gusts taking out the marquee kindly sacrificed by the Halasz family, the weather was unexpectedly kind.
With six teams entered in 11th Grade it was a round robin tournament playing everyone once. We drew 1-1 in our second match against Upper Hutt and took the other three of our first four games by bigger margins than Upper Hutt took theirs. That meant if we could beat Stop Out/Eastbourne in the last game we were almost certain to win the day.
It was a real nail-biter with our chances of overall victory being dashed with an equalizer from Stop Out in the last few minutes. Meanwhile, Upper Hutt secured the win they needed against Onslow and we finished with a well earned runner up ice-block.
It was a really great display from every member of the team and wonderful to see all the players showing marked skill improvement since the end of the 2015 season.
Thanks so much to our fabulous coaches Janek and Henry for being there all day and keeping the kids focused, competitive and civilised. It was an extremely enjoyable and successful day out.