On Tuesday 20th June 2017, BC Underwriting and Bennett Christmas took a strong team to play in the CII South East Region 5-a-side tournament at Goals Beckenham.
We arrived confident after winning the same tournament last year and with a couple of new additions we felt we had a good chance of repeating that feat. First up was RSA. We started fast and got an early goal to settle the nerves through a Gilbert strike. It was the same man again who soon after added his second. After making a couple of substitutions to shut up shop, a keeper error handed us a penalty which Gilbert took with aplomb to take the match ball home. The game finished 3-0 and any nerves had been put to bed.
On to our second game against Travel Insurance Facilities. It’s fair to say we were strong favourites for this game as we were the team to beat. It was another fast start and after a couple of reflex saves from the opposing keeper, it was that guy Gilbert again who found the breakthrough with a tidy finish. We then got another penalty after good work from Simmons who then tucked away his first penalty of the tournament. It was Hartley’s turn to get in on the act as he fired in from close range. The scoring was rounded off with Gilbert getting his second of the game. Final score finished 4-0 with another solid and professional performance.
It was another long wait until our next game against Avantia, and you would have thought we might have taken our feet off the gas. Absolutely not, as Hartley fired in a brace and workhorse Spinks joining the party with a sublime finish.
It was all riding on our final game against CFC Underwriting who were big favourites going in to the tournament and who had the best kit there. Whoever won this game was to top the group and possibly get an easier draw in the Quarter Finals. We started strongly with Gilbert, Spinks, Simmons and Benson showing great work ethic and determination to nullify anything CFC threw at us. The channel balls down the side to Benson up top were clearly working as he pulled one back for Gilbert on the edge to fire in his 6th goal of the tournament. Spinks was showing great composure and leadership out on the pitch until a misfired ball in to Gilberts’ head had him ‘rattled’ and therefore made way for Hartley. It was the latter who gave us a 2-0 lead after Benson again pulled one back for Hartley to give us the breathing space we needed. The game finished 2-0 and it’s fair to say the whole team were delighted with how we performed, giving us confidence going in to the knockout stages.
Whilst we had another long wait until our next game, star of the show from 2016 Simmons, decided to have a stuffed crust pizza and a fag in preparation. Teammates were in shock as he dispatched his pizza, with questions being asked about his attitude.
In to the Quarter Finals and we were drawn up against a strong Cobra side. As like our previous games it was vital to get a fast start and we did just that as Tom ‘Kroos’ Stripp and Franz Noakes took us in to 2 goal lead. After some sloppy defending we then conceded our first goal of the tournament where Brakell AKA ‘The Cat’ could do nothing about. We soon made up for this mistake as the exciting trio of Spinks, Benson and Simmons joined the party who all chipped in with a goal each. Simmons clearly not fazed by the Pizza as he ‘sliced’ one in to the bottom corner. A Hartley hat-trick rounded off the scoring for the BC Boys with Cobra getting a consolation penalty making the final score 8-2.
As we approached the Semi Final, we were up against a very strong side in LV who hadn’t lost a game yet, just
like us. This was by far the highest intensity game we played in with LV knocking the ball around quickly and
finally finding a breakthrough as Simmons man got away from him and neatly tucked away the pullback which Gilbert was millimetres away from getting a toe on it. We were now in unfamiliar territory as we were losing
for the first time but after some tidy 1-2’s down the right channel, Hartley’s strike was parried away straight in to Bensons feet who dispatched it home to level the game. The 10 minute final whistle came too early for us as we
were well on top and fancied us to win it. It was now down to the dreaded penalties. All 4 outfield players in
Hartley, Spinks, Benson and Simmons fancied their chances from 6 yards but we could only have 3 to step up
first. Benson was first up as he sent the keeper the wrong way with a cool finish. LV responded to level the shootout, Brakell so close to keeping it out as it went just under him. Hartley was next up for BC who calmly put it away to
put the pressure back on LV. They again responded with a well taken penalty. The pressure was all on Simmons to keep us in the game as he had to score. He stepped up looking a nervous and he fired it straight down the middle where the keeper was standing which gave LV the advantage and one penalty away from the final. They scored and it
was all over for the boys from Burgess Hill who put in everything to the tournament but just came up short.
LV went on to win the tournament well deservedly beating CFC in the final 1-0. We would like to thank Pavilion for putting on another great event and already can’t wait to put things right next year to get our trophy back.
Hartley – 7
Gilbert – 6
Benson – 2
Spinks – 2
Simmons – 2
Stripp – 1
Noakes – 1