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1st XI Football 2012

Whatever way you look at it this was a vintage season for Cranleigh Football. The regular season saw us emerge with a perfect record of played 9 won 9 with the side defeating all comers with relative ease and a good deal of style. It was a team oozing with class and ability. There were of course a number of stars but the success of the team relied on our overall strength and willingness to get the ball down and pass it. Goals were always on the cards and came from all sorts of players and positions- testament to their willingness to get forward and string the passes together.

During the term our stiffest opposition probably came from a well-drilled Eagle House side just back from a pre-season tour in Spain. There was also a very satisfying and well-deserved victory against Westbourne House-our first for a number of years.

Mixed in with the 11 a side matches we also put in a number of highly creditable performances in various 6 a side competitions; Semi-final at Charterhouse losing on corners, Semi finals at the Parkside tournament, Quarter-finalalists at the Regionals. These results tell only part of the story and I think with a little more luck we could well have won one or two of these.

The games and the victories seemed to come round at a rapid rate of knots but the overall feeling was that we were rarely threatened and that even when we were that it would be fine in the end.

The success of the team was based on some excellent defensive work. In goal the regular custodian was the ever reliable Will Vincent but special mention should also go to Callum Job who deputised  so well in the cup match against Shrewsbury House- but more of that later. Nick Edwards and Percy Walker-Smith formed a formidable partnership in the middle of the defence and were dogged, quick and forceful throughout. This central strength enabled the fullbacks the freedom to pile forward and support the attack. Seb Clark in particular had a wonderful season and rarely put a foot wrong. On the left hand side Ben Wright, Henry Bushell and Jeff Olsen all came on tremendously and added hugely to the team’s success.

The central fulcrum of the side revolved around the triumvirate of Joshua Wilkinson, Harry Gough and Thomas Hemming who provided the shape and drive to the team. All three were quite outstanding in their own individual ways. Josh read the game brilliantly and always managed to pop up where he was needed and it was his drive and determination which held the side together. I could have asked for nothing more from my captain. Harry Gough added pace and skill to the mix with Thomas giving us a slightly harder edge and some muscle in there. These three were ably supported down the flanks by Sam Bugler and Rory Calnan. Sam blew a little hot and cold at times but when he was on he was unplayable as evidenced by his 5 goal haul against The Hawthorns. Up front was the very entertaining spectacle of JJ Bassil who frustrated and thrilled in equal measure. He improved hugely over the season and his work rate and contribution increased quite dramatically as he found his feet at this level.

The final paragraph of this write up is about the one game we lost. As I write the wounds are still relatively fresh. The game in question was the Quarter-final of the Surrey Cup against Shrewsbury House. It was a cracker! 2-0 up at half-time all seemed to be running to plan. Shrewsbury House had other plans and battered us in the second half and equalised with the last kick of the game before taking the win in extra-time. At the final whistle all the players on both sides collapsed to the ground as the applause from the crowd went on and on. It was a classic- a difficult loss to stomach but my overall feeling was one of pride for their efforts.

It was a wonderful season and there are a number of people who I should thank:

To Wayne and his team for all their work preparing the pitches.

To Mr Tim McConnell-Wood for his support and refereeing.

To Josh Wilkinson for all his efforts as Captain

To Graeme Le Saux for giving up his time to come and share his wisdom and coaching skills

To all the parents for their support

And finally to Tom Forster for all his work in coaching , refereeing and running the side.

It was a season that will be long remembered.

P 10
W 9
D 0
L 1
Goals for 47 Goals against 8