Along with everyone else’s, the season for our Slough Town Juniors teams came to a premature end back in March, writes Kay Lathey.
Whilst debate rumbles on within the Grassroots community about the manner in which all results were null and voided, I can’t see any other way to have managed it - but you have to feel for those teams who were riding high in their league tables and on cup runs, none more so than our U15s and the Community teams.
At the end of each season, we ask the managers to provide a brief summary of their seasons, the highs and lows and their hopes for next season. We have no idea at this stage of when next season might be, but below are the thoughts of some of the teams who played as part of the STJFC family this year.
We specifically asked them not to pick out individuals, as this will happen when we hold our Awards event. We will look forward to this event and make sure that it is a big party to celebrate the return of football, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
U15s Manager, Dave Tormey says:
The boys have had a great season, scoring an incredible 102 goals in 21 games whilst only conceding 31 along the way. This is two more than the whole of last season with at least seven games to play. The boys were still battling it out at the top of the league, already in a final, with two semi-finals to play. The boys should be proud of their achievements, as are the coaches.
Our standout moment of the season was a fantastic display against a strong Burnham side in the Slough & Windsor CC semi-final where they did not put a foot wrong at Burnham’s stadium. We also remained unbeaten in 2020 - a 10 game winning run. Well done boys.
Not only do these boys come with the right attitude, but we also have some fun at training. I’ve lost count of how many times the coaches have been nutmegged and then told to keep their legs closed. It is a real shame these boys will not get to finish the season as they have worked so hard, going from strength to strength. A great bunch of lads.
Brian Higgins, U14s Manager had this to say of his boys:
It was a very mixed season for the boys this season. A new manager; a few new players; new tactics; a new division and in a new league. A lot to handle all at once.
To be fair they did well, although the results at the start of the season weren't great, a lot of the performances were outstanding. In more than a few games we were wondering how we didn't walk away with the win.
Finally the hard work paid off, and by the Christmas break the formation was settled, the boys knew their new roles and the key partnerships were starting to gel nicely. The results started to improve dramatically, finally keeping a few clean sheets, and some really good results against teams that had previously beaten us. It really showed the development. Top that off with being able to rotate with players missing and still grinding out results, was a good example of how the boys have matured.
I'm not going to single out any particular results, as this was very much a development year for us, however we were gutted not to be able to continue with the momentum we were building since Christmas.
I am really proud of how the boys have done this year. I hope they are too.
U13 Girls Manager, Tom Madigan writes:
The 2019/20 season saw the girls take on a new challenge after being promoted to Division One. After adding a few new signings and a busy pre-season the girls were prepared for the tough task.
The season started well with a 9-2 win. The next few weeks saw the girls suffer. Division One was leaps and bounds ahead of what we were used to. We regrouped and worked hard to earn our place with the big teams. A win before Christmas gave us the confidence to take on the world after a festive break. We were unbeaten in three games before the season was sadly cut short.
There was also success off the pitch too - a sponsor came in at the start of the season to buy every player a full training kit. Furthermore, we had a successful Christmas fundraiser which raised over £700. As well as raising the money, the whole event was organised by some very committed parents.
Overall, the girls have developed at an accelerated rate and become closer as friends - bringing smiles to each other but also us coaches.
U11 Girls - written by Jake Haines
Autumn Cup: Runners-up
We were also on course for the Spring Cup Final!
The U11s had another strong season. Off the back of last season, we wanted to maintain our success and try to bring in some variety to our tactics.
We had a large range of abilities in the team, some of which had never played in a football match and some players that had been scouted and selected for the league representative team. Regardless of the level they were at, all of the players gave everything in their Slough Town colours and were all supportive of each other. They have all improved so much and continue to compete with outstanding sportsmanship.
Early on in the season we focused on defending and so we faced several boys teams. These were challenging for the girls but by the third or fourth match they started to meet the demands of the opposition.
This prepared us for our season really well. In the Autumn Cup the girls breezed through to the finals, really blowing some teams away. In some games we were playing with 5 vs 7 to keep it competitive! Unfortunately, I think this made it more difficult for us when in the final we were against a team which challenged us and by the second half we were starting to feel the uncertainty, eventually losing to a good team 2-0.
We decided after this to use wing backs as we have some of the fastest players in the county and we needed more support going forwards. Wiktoria and Awa crafted themselves into outstanding wing backs who became very effective.
The girls bounced back in the futsal (even after an appalling first match), got to the final and faced the same team from the Autumn Cup final! This time however, the girls set the record straight with Liabah scoring another cup final last minute goal to get us the victory which we thoroughly deserved!
Out of 28 games (including 5 against boys):
Scored: 75 goals
This season we had a goal from every outfield player.
In their inaugural season, our U10 boys have gone from strength to strength under the leadership of John Porter and Leon Burke and will move up to 9-a-side next season.
In addition to these teams, we have been working hard to establish a team for next year for the U8s and have a core group of players attending training each week in preparation for this.
The Wildcats continued throughout the year and we had a team entered into the Girls tournament at Power League in February, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the weather. Again, we look forward to starting a team for these girls when the season eventually gets going again.
A number of First Team players have been running coaching camps during the school holidays at Arbour Park, which have seen between 40 and 50 children in attendance each day. This is definitely one to continue next season.
All in all, you have to say that it’s been a successful season regardless. Just looking out over Arbour Park on a weekend or Tuesday evening and seeing so many kids and adults training, playing and having fun means it was a success!
Despite the premature end, the Slough Town Juniors family has stuck together and has been working on various online challenges including Zoom coaching sessions. Other challenges have involved baking!
We look forward to welcoming everyone back to training and playing football as soon as it is safe to do so.
Copyright 2020 Slough Town F.C. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.sloughtownfc.net as the source.