The U16 Boys beat Kingston Grammar 2-0 in the South semi-final yesterday, to qualify for the National Finals at the end of April.
It turned out to be a tense affair due in no small part to Kingston’s amazing defence of the Cranleigh short corners. Only a few minutes into the game an excellent drag flick just inside the right post was superbly deflected past the post by their player on the line.
Cranleigh had pretty much total possession and the game was played almost entirely in the Kingston half. A couple of goalmouth scrambles, a shot over the bar, another short corner just past the left post and two rushed shots from the top of the D left us with a goalless scoreline at half-time.
Further pressure at the start of the second half saw a couple more chances including another short corner – this time a hard drag flick to the top left was saved again by an unbelievable reaction from the other player on the line with the goalkeeper comprehensively beaten. Another short corner yielded a rebound that was stopped by a defender’s body resulting in another short rather than a penalty stroke. It was turning out to be ‘one of those games’ and then Kingston broke away getting a short corner. That one was stopped but their next one was only quelled with the help of a post.
Having survived a narrow escape, order was restored as we continued to control possession and finally with two bits of great composure in front of the keeper, we scored two open play flicks into the roof of the net in the space of a few minutes.
The final against Whitgift was rather more relaxed with both teams knowing they had made the National Finals but it was still played at an excellent pace with a high level of skill. A very even first half once again left us with no goals at half-time. They then scored from a short corner and we replied with a shot that hit a defender with the goalkeeper beaten that was a penalty stroke but was rather bizarrely given as a long corner. They scored near the end to record a 2-0 win. It was a good Cranleigh performance and bodes well for the National Finals.