Hallsy’s Weekly Look Around the Academy – An extremely productive day at the office…

The Worthing College Sports Performance Programme have had another extremely productive week with Cup Finals won and lost, County Tournaments won and National League titles now in their own hands.
The Netball Performance Programme have had an excellent season and this has been capped off by winning the West Sussex Schools and Colleges’ Tournament held at Burgess Hill School for Girls, which was the venue of their County Cup Final win the previous week.  Despite the squad having six regulars missing Worthing remained unbeaten throughout the Tournament, with victories over Burgess Hill and Ardingly College being the highlights.  Performance Programme Coach Tina Price reflects on the season “The girls this season have been excellent and today just shows the depth of our squad with players stepping up to first team action and performing at the same level as the girls that they have replaced.  Whatever starting seven has been put out the girls have always done themselves and the College proud and this is visible by the successes the team has had this season.  The players that will be around next year are developing well and I’m looking forward to the future of this programme.”  Netball successes this year have been; being unbeaten in their 13 matches to win the Sussex Round of the National Schools Competition at Roedean, County Cup winners, West Sussex Schools & Colleges’ Tournament and currently top and unbeaten of the BMW Brighton League Division Two, so a fantastic season for Tina and her squad.
The Women’s Football Performance Programme were looking to build on the previous week’s successes from the Netball and Men’s Football 1st XI at their County Cup Finals.  Could it be three from three?  The Women’s Football Performance Programme took on Chichester with Worthing looking to win their fifth consecutive County Cup, but it was always going to be a difficult match against local rivals Chichester.  A strong and vocal crowd saw Worthing take control of the game from the off moving the ball from side to side at a decent tempo with Chichester working hard to close them down. This continued for the 1st 15 minutes with Worthing having the majority of possession but not threatening the Chichester goal. The break through came on the 20 minute mark when a long throw from Meg Cave was flicked on and a well placed header from Becky Simmonds found the top corner of the Chichester net.
This seemed to stir Chichester who had a long range attempt well saved by Nat Woolven in the Worthing goal. Worthing continued to maintain possession with Lucy Somes becoming an increasing influence on the game from midfield.   As the half went on Worthing were well in control of the game but only 1-0 up meaning Chichester were always in the game.
The 2nd half started with Chichester pressing higher and making Worthing play the longer ball which meant they were able to pick up the pieces and break at Worthing more frequently. This pattern continued until Worthing became more composed and started to move the ball across the back four again. Once they gained their confidence back the 2nd goal was not long in coming. This time from a free kick that saw Somes beat the vain attempts of the Chichester keeper to keep the ball out of the net.  This saw Worthing visibly relax and start moving the ball with increasing confidence and at a greater pace. Chichester where beginning to tire from chasing the ball which led to Worthing becoming increasingly sloppy in possession and allow Chichester back into the game.  In the dying 3 minutes with the game seemly dead Chichester had 3 chances to get themselves back into the game but all three times they found Woolven more than a match from their attempts twice palming over well struck free kicks and once smothering the ball when a forward found themselves in behind the defence.  Performance Programme Coach Mike Bridges was delighted with the win “Finals are usually nervy affairs and this one was no different.  We defended Chichester’s direct approach extremely well and when we passed the ball with tempo we created chances.  Each girl gave it their all and they full deserve the accolade of being the best team in the County for this season.”
Unfortunately the Men’s Football Performance Programme 2nd XI couldn’t make it a quadruple of County Cup wins after being defeated by Thomas Bennett’s 1st XI in the 2nd XI County Cup.  The game was pretty much out of Worthing’s reach after eight minutes.  In that time Thomas Bennett has cruised into a 3-0 lead.  Worthing rallied and with coaches Danny Cullip and Dave Hall ringing the changes Matt Hardman reduced the deficit with 10 minutes before half time.  This could have been the catalyst for a remarkable comeback, however another piece of sloppy defending allowed Thomas Bennett to score a 4th just before half time.  Despite the scoreline Performance Programme Coach was still in a positive mood.  “For both the 1st and 2nd XI’s to reach their respective County Cup Finals is in my opinion a fine achievement and one that the players should be proud of and I’m sure this hasn’t been achieved too many times in the past.  Its just a shame that the 2nd XI didn’t switch on for the first eight minutes because apart from that is was a fairly tight game and if we would have got closer to their midfield three you never know.  Even so the players should be happy with their efforts to reach the County Cup Final as well as hold their own in a British Colleges’ League where they come up against many 1st XI College teams.  These experiences will stand them in good stead for their future footballing development.”
After their County Cup success the Men’s Football Performance 1st XI played a rearranged ECFA Premier League match at East Preston FC against bottom of the table Southgate of North London.  Despite their lowly league position Southgate made the game an extremely competitive encounter and were greatly improved from the previous match up.  Worthing should have taken the lead early on with Joe Warner winning the ball off the Southgate centre half, who in turn fouled Warner in the area.  Warner stepped up, but unfortunately struck the crossbar and Ryan Fergany blazed over the rebound.  It wasn’t long before Worthing did take the lead.  A Fergany cross beat everyone except for Lee Mottershead, who skillfully looped the ball over the advancing Southgate goalkeeper.  It took Worthing mid way through the second half to double their lead and it came in strange circumstances.  A Dave O’Callaghan free kick curled into the penalty area, only for the Southgate centre half to pick up the ball.  Penalty.  Warner this time made no mistake to claim his 19th goal of the season.  Worthing seemed in control, however to their credit Southgate never stopped and Worthing were going to rue their missed chances as the visitors scored two late goals to share the points.  Coach Dave Hall was still upbeat, despite looking like two points dropped.  “The boys played well today and the only thing that was missing was the taking of chances that were created.  At this level if you miss chances you are always open to conceding goals and to their credit Southgate did this.  At the start of the season if you would have told us that you would win the National League if you won your last game we would have ripped your arm off!  So its in the players hands now and that is great credit to them as their attitude, work ethic and talent has been exceptional this year and I hope they get what they deserve.”
Onwards & Upwards,

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