U9 Lightning Premiership Overview

On Sunday April 29 44 Under 9 sides from the EFL converged on Pinks Reserve for a long day of football. Spread across 5 groups each team played 4 games of football, with the team from each group who won all 4 games being crowned Lightning Premiers.

Norwood Junior Football Club were represented by 2 sides on the day – Norwood Black and Norwood Purple. The entire group set up camp together supported well by parents bringing food, eskies, BBQs, cooking skills and wonderful attitude. Due to the EFL rules making it 18 a side on the day (as opposed to our usual 15 a side) we moved players between teams as we needed, and even on one occasion providing players to the opposition. Somehow there seemed to be as much football played back at our camp site as there was on the grounds throughout the day which I’m sure led to some very tired boys on Sunday night.

The games themselves were well supported as we managed a schedule of games where we never played at the same time, allowing us to support each other throughout. The day started off well with both teams winning their first games comfortably. Unfortunately however in the second game of the day Norwood Black was left to rue some missed opportunities and went down by 2 points to effectively end their day. Norwood Purple managed to scrape through their second game winning by 3 points. With the attention and resources focussed on Norwood Purple for the rest of the afternoon there was a degree of excitement heading in to the next game. The excitement must have been felt by the boys as they started strong against Scoresby and didn’t let up for the rest of the game. Win 3 done… 1 to go.. bring on the nerves!

3pm in the afternoon, last game against Bayswater – premiership at stake. After the magnets on the whiteboard were shuffled, and a short message delivered it was up to the boys to give it their all. A tight start to the game saw the ball move back and forward before we managed to kick the first goal of the game. Tick…first part of the equation done. But then things tightened up and scoring became difficult, we managed only 1 more point for the half. At half time it was 1.1.7 to 0.0.0 – things were okay but by no means done. The nerves were increasing and after a quick break the boys were back out for one more half of football. The nerves only got worse as Bayswater started to run and carry all too freely kicking the next 2 goals to put them in front. We needed a lift from somewhere, anywhere! We thought we had it soon after but unfortunately all we could add was a point. Back to the middle and with parents, coaches, and Norwood supporters all shouting the boys put in another big effort to push the ball forward and get the goal we desperately needed. With a big kick forward we needed a mark…. Up stepped Angus with a solid chest mark within range. With us all looking on with anticipation Angus put his left boot into the ball and we all watched it sail through the big sticks!! You ripper!! But with 45 seconds left there was one more twist in the tale. From the centre bounce Bayswater managed to get the ball out and forward a little too quickly for everyone’s liking and we all held our breathe as a long bomb toward goal went over everyone and seemingly headed toward the goal. Surely not, surely not at this late stage!! The second and third bounce of the ball started to veer away and by the fourth bounce we were breathing again as the ball to a lovely turn to the behind post. The result one behind and a valuable reset in the middle of the ground. Soon after the siren sounded and Norwood celebrated as one!!

It was a huge effort from all the boys on the day and they demonstrated the value of working together to play great football. Special mentions must go to;
Chayce who managed to kick 11 goals on the day!
Marshall for not only kicking his first goal of the season but also his second.
Ethan and Xavier for kicking their first goals of the year.
Liam for his tireless ruck and centre work.
Flynn and James for their persistence and resilience after being on the other end of some dubious tactics.
And for Angus for saving the day!
All the boys did their bit and contributed throughout the day and that includes the Norwood Black team. It was great to walk away from the day with something for all of the Norwood Under 9 boys to celebrate with!!

To Kevin, Steve, Nina, Rohan, Carly, Toby, Jenny, Clint and Peter – thank you for your assistance and support throughout the day.

Vs Lilydale Gold                7.3.45 – 0.1.1
Vs South Croydon            1.4.10 – 1.1.7
Vs Scoresby                       10.2.62 – 0.0.0
Vs Bayswater                     2.2.14 – 2.1.13

(This Novel was written by the Championship Coach Glen Dobson)