Hallsy’s Weekly Look Around the Academy – 2 down 2 to go…

The focus this week at the Worthing College Sports Performance Programme was at County level with two of the squads representing the College in their respective County Cup Finals. First up were the Netball Performance Programme, who were taking on Hurstpierpoint College. The match was played at Burgess Hill School for Girls, but despite this Worthing took a large following of supporters to hopefully see the squad victorious.

Following success at the Sussex round of National Schools, Worthing were the favourites however a Cup Final is a completely different game as those of us who have been around a while know. Worthing started slowly missing the first three shots with Hurstpierpoint taking their opportunities to take an early 3-0 lead. Worthing struggled to find form throughout the court, nerves getting the better of them against a much improved Hurstpierpoint team. Defensively, as the quarter went on, Worthing improved and with more opportunities to score, the first quarter ended 7-8 down. The message from Performance Programme Coach Tina Price, was to calm down, believe in themselves, work harder at hunting the ball down and hopefully the performance would improve. This was unfortunately not the case in the 2nd quarter, which saw Worthing slip behind by 4 points.

Changes were made at half time to freshen up the approach and hopefully get Worthing back into the final. Emily Begley came on at Goal Shooter and Mele Stubbs at Goal Defense with Mele Jackson moving back to GK. Emily shot brilliantly under pressure and that gradually pulled the defecit back to one goal at the end of the third quarter. A fast and furious match was beginning to take its toll on the Worthing side, which meant further changes. Sarah Uncles replaced the hard working Anna Van Eetvelt at Centre, Vicky Bowles moved to WD and Katy Finlay to WA. Despite fatigue setting in Worthing remained in the game and with a minute to go were still only a point down and with Hurstpierpoint playing a dangerous possession game, Worthing stole back possession and hot shot Begley scored the equaliser, much to the delight of the travelling Worthing supporters.

As the scores were level at the end of normal time, two halves of two minutes were played of extra time with the scores reset. In the first period Worthing managed to take a 2-1 lead, which was the first time they were ahead in the whole final and it was a lead they were not going to relinquish. In the second period Mele Jackson rebounded a Hurstpierpoint shot, which was played safely down court and it was that girl Begley again to seal a 4-1 win in extra time.

Tina Price was ecstatic with the sides attitude “today was a brilliant fightback from the girls and it shows that a game is never lost until the final whistle goes. The girls have been a pleasure to coach this season and have deserved to gain this accolade from all their hard work and efforts. I would also like to thank the travelling support as they really got behind the team and hopefully they gave the girls a lift when they needed it.”

With one County Cup success the travelling support moved onto Lancing FC to watch the Men’s Football Performance Programme 1st XI, who were taking on Bexhill College in their County Cup. Up to 150 supporters witnessed an entertaining final, where two types of football clashed. Worthing’s passing and expansive game came up against Bexhill’s physical and direct approach.

The start of the final was a tense affair with both teams surrendering possession all too easily. Once the game settled it was Worthing’s passing style that seemed to come to the fore. A direct Joe Warner run down the left led to an excellent pull back to oncoming midfielder Jon Watkins, who blasted over to waste a golden opportunity. It was not long though until Worthing took the lead. All the set piece work in training paid off when Dave O’Callaghan’s corner was met by Warner, whose flicked header found Ryan Fergany, who cooly slotted the ball into the top corner. The rest of the half saw Worthing’s back line defending extremely well against the set piece threat that Bexhill had with their considerable size, however Worthing were still dangerous up the other end. An O’Callaghan short corner to Toko Moyo was laid back to the midfielder and his strike was excellently tipped over the bar.

The word from coaches Dave Hall & Danny Cullip at half time was to continue to work hard off the ball to keep the teams shape to give them the best possible chance to be victorious. Worthing started the second half brightly and this led to Worthing doubling their lead. A Fergany cross was met by Moyo, who volleyed a pass into Watkins. As he turned the defender and was about to shoot a Bexhill foot prodded the ball into the far corner.

With Worthing in the ascendency it was vital that focus was maintained to make sure the Cup was theirs. However there was still drama to come, when defender Dan Heward handled in the penalty area instinctively, which led to his dismissal. Bexhill thought they were back in this final with 20 minutes to go, however they didn’t count on Worthing stopper James Binfield pulling off an excellent diving save to his right to make sure Worthing maintained their clean sheet. Binfield was again called into action, this time a superbly timed tackle on the dangerous Bexhill number 9, a tackle that any centre half would have been proud of.

Worthing re-orginised quickly with Fergany being replaced by holding midfielder Matt Hardman to sure things up in the middle of the park. Even with the one man disadvantage Worthing still looked dangerous in attack. A Dave O’Callaghan free kick was only parried by the goalkeeper, Moyo followed up, but put the ball over the bar, when it seemed easier to score. Worthing did finally get a deserved third. The tireless Joe Warner read a headed back pass, flicked the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and dived to ensure the result was 3-0 and the County Cup was going the short distance to Worthing.

Performance Programme Coach Dave Hall praised the squads performance “The shape defensively of the team tonight was excellent. This allowed us to frustrate Bexhill and then catch them when we were in possession. Each player did their specific job superbly and it was great to see this team functioning so well and this was especially apparent when we went down to 10 men. From all their hard work in training and games this season I’m so pleased that they now have a piece of silverware to show for their attitude and efforts. I would also like to thank all those that came to watch as I’m sure at times they were the 12th man. Our attention must now be on the 2nd XI County Cup Final as well as securing the ECFA National League title.”

So with two County Cups won its now the turn of the Women’s and 2nd XI Men’s Football squads to look to achieve the improbable. A Worthing College Quadruple!

Onwards & Upwards,

Hallsy

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