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COMMUNITY: SBitC U11 JPL Phoenix side become National Trophy Champions!

16 February 2023


COMMUNITY: SBitC U11 JPL Phoenix side become National Trophy Champions!

16 February 2023

Congratulations to Sky Blues in the Community’s Under 11 JPL Phoenix side on becoming the National Trophy Champions!

Our U11 JPL Phoenix side began their journey into the JPL Winter Trophy competition back in October 2022. The competition was a group stage, followed by two play-off matches, leading up to the National Final.

In order to qualify for the play-offs, our young Phoenix side had to work hard in order to finish top of their group. Within the group they came up against teams such as; Aston Villa Girls RTC, Oxford City, Paget Rangers, Worcester City and Gloucester Elite. All of which were tough games against extremely talented players, but our boys hard work, resilience and skill over the course of the five weeks saw them finish top of their group and heading for the play-offs.

Our Midlands play-off game saw us come face-to-face with Paget Rangers Black. The boys put in another top performance resulting in a 9-3 win. This meant we had become the Midlands Champions and gave us the fantastic opportunity of progressing further in the competition to go on and play the London champions.

After an anticipating wait over the following few weeks to find out who our opponents for the play-offs were, it was finally announced. We would be taking on the mighty FC Evolution, who were the current reigning London Champions.

This was a going to be a huge game. The nerves started to build and adrenaline kick in. Winning this game would make us the London/Midlands champions and take our boys through to play at the National Final the following weekend. An amazing opportunity the boys had dreamt off was finally in touching distance! They were all very excited about the up-coming game, however nerves kicked in once the day arrived.

The whistle went and the game began. Once we got into our rhythm, the boys played out-standing, worked hard and showing off their skill with some fantastic football, leading to 8 incredible finishes! The game ended and we took the victory with an amazing 8-0 win! We were now the London/Midlands champions! A fantastic achievement and thoroughly deserved by our Phoenix boys. However, this wasn’t the end of the road for them, there was still another milestone waiting ahead.

The National final was held on Saturday 4th February at Rugby Borough FC, where we would be competing against Romsey Town YFC (Southern Champions) and Yorkshire Elite Football Academy (Northern Champions) for the title.

The final worked as a group table, meaning each team would play each other once. Win, you get three points, draw, you get one point, and a loss would result in zero points.

The boys ended up getting the first two games, coming up against Romsey Town to kick off the National Finals. They looked very nervous going into the game, understandably so, as this was one of the biggest matches they had ever competed in. However, once they’d channelled that nervous energy, they showed fantastic character and belief to get three important points under their belt and a massive 1-0 win for their first game.

With their final match still left to play, they took a short break before coming up against Yorkshire Elite. This was always going to be a tough ask when we’d played a big 40 minutes already, to then go up against a fresh side. Although, the boys were excellent and kicked off the second game with an early goal, going 1-0 up. Winning this game would automatically make us Champions, however, fatigue started to show, and we conceded taking the game to 1-1. For the remaining minutes the boys just needed to hold on to that draw and not concede a further goal. They were excellent, worked hard and managed to secure that 1-1 draw leaving them with a total of four points in the group table.

There was nothing more they could do now but to look on, watch the final game and patiently wait, hoping that Romsey could beat Yorkshire making us National Champions.

However, things weren’t going in our favour. Yorkshire went 1-0 up early on in the game. This left us thinking that it wasn’t meant to be. The game stayed at 1-0 up until the last 15 mins where Romsey managed to get an equaliser. The Pheonix boys' energy lifted, their excitement grew, and this atmosphere seemed to have an effect on the Romsey players who managed to eventually take the win, ending the game 4-1.

We were National Champions! The boys couldn’t contain their excitement at the full-time whistle, running across the pitch to their parents and loved ones who had been eagerly waiting on the touchline to celebrate with them!

The final standings were:

1. SBITC U11 JPL Phoenix - 4 points
2. Romsey Town - 3 points
3. Yorkshire Elite - 1 point

The celebrations continued into the trophy ceremony and afterwards on the pitch. There was singing, dancing, chanting, photos being taken and huge smiles from our elated U11 side.

Phoenix coach, Ben Clark commented: “A fantastic achievement for all the players who have been excellent throughout the season. It was brilliant to watch them all be so happy after all the hard work and dedication they’ve put into this tournament. The best thing is, we are only halfway through the season, with many more opportunities for this group to shine and make more great memories together!”

Well done boys!


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