Winnersh Warriors 5-a-Side Competitions
Fives Tournament 2003
Date: 19th July 2003
Venue: South Reading Leisure Centre, South Reading
4 - Ian Fenwick
6 - Edward Balch
7 - Ian Oldrieve
9 - Russell Bell
11 - Ian Atkins
20 - Alex Kelly
25 - Nicholas Coyle
105 - Christopher Atkins
The Warriors entered the 2003 Reading Fives knowing that teams of the past had come here and failed. The class of 2003 didn't want to extend the unwanted record of never getting past the group stages despite coming so close on many an occasion. A high level of competition for places forced manager Oldrieve to select the maximum squad size of 8 for the tournament, with many of the usual old hands lining up alongside some more youthful members of the squad. With only the top two progressing from the group stages alongside the top four third placed teams (from 14 leagues), the Warriors knew they would have their work cut out if they were to progress in what was shaping up to be a strong looking group.
With the Warriors first opponents classed as 'a bit tasty' by defender Chris Atkins, the Warriors fielded a strong side in anticipation of a close fought game. It was just that, as the Warriors set the tone for much of their days activities, working hard, closing down their men well, and inevitably, putting in some 'strong' challenges. An excellent defensive performance, not only outfield but in goal as well, was sadly not matched by attacking prowess but the manager was satisfied with a point on the board after their first outing. With more of the squad getting a look-in for the second game, some may have been forgiven for thinking that the quality would be reduced in the Warriors team. Not so, as another sterling defensive performance by all involved looked to be earning the Warriors another point in the form of a second consecutive nil-nil draw. Hopes of the point were dashed however, with seven seconds remaining; a lack of concentration let in the men in yellow to nick the vital winning goal and condemn the Warriors to a 1-0 defeat.
Confidence levels of some players were wavering but the Warriors are made of stern stuff. A superb win in their next game against AFC Sunday Club with goals from Russell Bell and Chris Atkins, and the Winnersh men were back in contention with 4 points to their name. Despite an excellent performance against Rusty Butt Muscle Five, the breakthrough that the Warriors so craved didn't seem to be coming for much of the game. Defensively sound and starting to create plenty of chances up front, the Warriors needed a bit of luck to convert their dominance into points and they got just that. When a quick free kick from Atkins Snr was laid off to Bell, the twinkled toed midfielder dispatched a shot which defied the odds by squirming under the hapless keeper to give the Warriors a much needed morale boost and a deserved three points. Talk after the game focused on the fortuitous Bell, but keeper Fenwick backed up his outfield partner, commenting, "You make your own luck", with Bell himself defiant of his supposed good fortune, stating, "In my experience, there's no such thing as luck".
The most eventful game of the days play came when the Loose Cannons lined up against a strong Warriors side. Knowing that six points from their two remaining games would give them an excellent chance of qualification, the Warriors dug deep and produced one of their trademark demolition derby performances. Barely minutes had gone when Alex Kelly fired in a thunderbolt from an acute angle and when the Loose Cannons backed off Russell Bell in the middle of the park shortly afterwards, he picked his corner well with a placed shot from range to double the scoreline. While the forwards were doing what they do best, so was defender Chris Atkins. After a spate of 'incidents', an elbow and then a raised fist was enough for the referee to produce a red card against the Loose Cannons striker and reduce the men in light blue to four players. With the win in the proverbial bag, the Warriors played out the remained of the match in a comfort zone. There was just enough time left for Bell to add to his days tally with an excellent one-on-one finish against the horrendously fat keeper, while the defence went to sleep and let in the Loose Cannons for a late consolation goal.
The exact standings weren't clear but a win in the final game against Le Nikie would give the Warriors a very good chance of qualification from the group. All hope quickly evaporated though after an unstoppable goal in the first twenty seconds gave Le Nikie the lead. With the defence still on the back foot, a second was added shortly after and it was clear the game was over as a contest. Despite the best efforts of Atkins Snr to make the game interesting (stampeding his way through an opposition player, almost causing a riot in the Le Nikie camp), it was not to be for the Warriors and a dismal performance saw them go down eventual 4-0 losers.
Despite a respectable tally of 10 points from 6 games, the best
every from a Warriors team in the Reading Fives, it was another year of so close
but yet so far. No doubt they'll be back next year, will they be able to reverse
their fortunes? Only time will tell.
Results - League 14, Pitch 18 :
|Kickoff||Home Team||Away Team|
|11:15||Winnersh Warriors||0||vs.||1||Phil Neville Fan Club|
|12:00||Winnersh Warriors||2||vs.||0||AFC Sunday Club|
|12:30||Winnersh Warriors||1||vs.||0||Rusty Butt Muscle Five|
|13:15||Winnersh Warriors||3||vs.||1||Loose Cannons|
|14:15||Winnersh Warriors||0||vs.||4||Le Nikie|
Final Table (League 14):
- League Table Unavailable -
|3||Phil Neville Fan Club|
|4||AFC Sunday Club|
|7||Rusty Butt Muscle Five|
Russell Bell - 4
Alex Kelly - 1
Chris Atkins - 1