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So if you read my previous blog post you'll know that I joined a new team a couple of weeks ago. The team I chose had so many positives, it was an easy choice to join them. Most of all the coaches and parents were welcoming and the boys were friendly, plus they played really nice football. No ball-hoggers, playing as a team and wanting to involve the goalkeeper in playing out from the back... 👍

I'm not the only one new to this team, they lost 6 players at the end of last season for various reasons, so have added 5 new players (including me) so far. So our manager entered us into our 1st 9-a-side tournament to get us going...

We only had 10 for the tournament which consisted of a league of 5 teams, but 1 didn't turn up so we were down to 4 teams. So the format was to play each other once (3 matches) with 12 minutes each half, no offsides (shame), but the points were different: 0 points for a loss, 1 point for a 0-0 draw, 2 points for a scoring draw, 3 points for a win but if you score more than 3 goals and win you get 4 points! At the end of the league matches, the top 2 teams play each other in a final.

In our 1st match we won 3-2, but it was tight at 2-2 until we gained a penalty in the last minute. We scored and won the game 3-2 against a good side. Our 2nd match was against the weakest team in the group, which we won comfortably 4-0. Our final group match was a tough one. All their players were taller than us and it proved to be a physical game. Sadly, we ended up losing 2-0.

So we finished the league with 7 points, the team we lost to also had 7 points but we had scored more than them overall, so it was decided that we won the league 😊... Then to the final, playing the team we'd just lost to...

It was again a tough game but our manager encourages us to play the ball quickly and says that it will wear out the bigger lads. We did that and both had good chances to score. Their goalkeeper played well and I made a few saves too. My best save was tipping a top corner shot onto the bar and getting up to make a recovery save too. So 0-0 at the end, it went to a penalty shoot-out...

We scored our 1st 3 penalties, they scored 1, hit the post, I saved one and then they needed to score this one to stay in the match. If they didn't score, we won....

I was so pleased to save this penalty and for us to win the match and get our 1st ever tournament win. It reinforced that I have joined a great team who keep battling and play decent football.

I'm really looking forward to the next few friendlies and starting the season in September. I'll be keeping you up-to-date with how it goes with more blogs through the season.

Henry ⚽👐

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