Devonport’s North Shore Rangers Narrowly Miss Out on Double

Posted by on Sep 05, 2010 | Leave a Comment

The dudes rock - official

The dudes rock - official

North Shore’s sole U14 team is essentially the same team that played together in the U13’s last year. They’re a good group of lads, familiar now with each other’s play, who get on well together both on and off the pitch.  While there are some talented players, the team has a range of skill levels and there is no reliance on a few star players – they are a team in the true sense of the word.  But their key strength has been a strong streak of competitiveness, tempered with sportsmanship – they don’t like to lose!

After a slow start to the season the results started to come more consistently.  Up front the goal scoring machine that is Seth Down – with a true striker’s instinct – lead the attack in a 4-5-1 formation.

The engine room of the team was the midfield, where any number of players fought and won control of the game.  In defence, strength and pace were the key.  And every successful team needs a good goalkeeper, and in Nat Milne we have a fearless and agile player who has been the difference between winning and losing in more than one game.

In the end the team added one more quality to their play, that was the difference between being champions and falling short – consistency – losing only one very close game and winning all others  In the second half of the season.  They also tried to do it by playing football as its supposed to be played, with skill and intelligence merged with physical ability.

Unfortunately they just failed to win in the final of the knock-out, having previously beaten 5-4 a Hibiscus Coast team near the top of the division above them who made the mistake of taking them too lightly.  Every single one of the 15 players rose to the challenge and played at their best when it mattered most.  But yesterday  they narrowly missed out, (losing 2-1 to Waitakere) on what would otherwise have been an excellent double.

One player deserves special credit.  Its never easy to be the captain when many of the team are your mates, but in Kurt Cranna-Smith the team has had someone with the rare ability to both play well himself, while leading and motivating his teammates.  Captain is more than just a title, it’s a demanding role if you do it right.  His dad, Mike, was our referee for many games, and I don’t know how he did it some times – he’s developed a pretty thick skin in the process!  Thanks Mike from the whole team.

My hope is that this group of players come back and play again next year.  Everything is there for another successful year next year – and they seem to be enjoying their football.  But I think they will be ready to move up a division, improve as players and challenge themselves to do even better.  Its certainly been a pleasure to coach them. – Coach Jay Taylor-Innes

How has your team done this season? Soccer, rugby, netball, hockey or anything else – the Speculator would love to hear about it. Send your team report to info@speculator.co.nz

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