Cromwell’s age group football teams had mixed success at the Otago Community Football Tournament last week in Dunedin.
The gun Under-13 squad, trained by coach Jarred Andrew, delivered on their promise and entered the tournament final unbeaten. Even more remarkable, they had not one goal scored against them before that game.
This team was a mix of Cromwell and Alexandra players who were selected after trials and had strength all around the park. 1.8 metre Archie Bruce was a formidable and athletic presence in goal.
Other stand-out players were captain Sam Fluksa, defenders Hamish Attfield and Ben Griffiths and top goal-scorer Nick Pieterse.
The team lost their final to a very slick Maori Hill team but proved that Central football can be right up there with the best.
By contrast, the Under-15 reps comprised of players of varying ability, held together by three Alexandra lads Julius Gorman, Tommy Cooney and Jamie Tate-Bell.
They had lost badly to the rep Under-13s in the lead-up, but Alexandra coach Tadgh Smith did a brilliant job of turning his twelve players into a team.
They lost all four of their games at Dunedin but played with a determination and enthusiasm that surprised their older and bigger opponents.
The team included three Cromwell 12-year-olds, Blake Wallis, Baxter Christiansen and Theo Laws who looked tiny compared to the hulking 15 year olds that they played against.
A number of opposing teams’ parents, and the tournament referees, commented upon the spirit and competitiveness of the team.
The performance of both squads has caused many parents and administrators in Alexandra and Cromwell to wonder if the two clubs might not keep combining to select rep squads for later in the football season.
Some summer thinking is certainly ahead!