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Youth News - 04/11/2006

By Peter Thompson, 2nd XI captain

2nd XI- The Season So Far

As we reach the quarter-point of the season, it has been, for the 2nds, something of a mixed bag.

The first few matches (a narrow 4-2 defeat, dominant 1-1 draw and another close 2-1 loss) showed how much we had picked up from last year, even if we didn’t bag that elusive win. Indeed our early form could be likened to that of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals- plenty of talent, a good team "on paper", but not yet delivering to full potential. As Arizona’s head coach Dennis Green said recently, "they were who we thought they were, but we let them off the hook."

In my opinion, we could probably have won all but 2 matches in different circumstances. One thing that could have changed one or two of those results, not least our last match against Bangor, is commitment. I will be happy if we get at least 11 regular players out each week, and we can contest any team in the league with that. Anything less, though, and it becomes an uphill struggle.

The league table is slightly deceiving at this stage of the year, but keep checking it regularly (ulsterhockey.com). We are of course at the bottom, but one win, for example, would’ve brought us to 8th. It isn’t hard to see that if we pick up the form and get what we deserve in the next couple of months, we can climb out of danger- relegation is simply not an option this year.

Full turnouts at training will go a long way, confirmation early in the week for a match will help preparations, and try to let me know as early as possible if you can’t make either. These small things WILL bring success and ensure that you won’t let your team-mates down.

For now, focus on the 7 games until Christmas, starting with Banbridge at home next Saturday. Our performance in these next games will set the pace for our whole season, so let’s bring dedication into training and onto the pitch. When I write another summary in Christmas we will not be in the same league position!


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