The Watford U17′s progressed to this season’s National Age Group U17′s final Four after finishing second in group B following wins over Bridgefield & Sheffield.
The team will now play City of Manchester in the semi-finals for a place in the Finals against either Nova Centurions & West London Penguins from Group A. The finals will be held at the Liverpool Aquatics centre on the weekend of the 13th & 14th April..
The team started their quest to make the finals against Bridgefield on Saturday afternoon at the Northampton Boys School and in a game that Watford trailed for the majority of the match by two & three goal margins on many occasions it wasn’t until with only 3.00 mins remaining did they manage to take the lead and hang on for that all important first win.
The game started with Watford taking a lead but Bridgefield fought back to take the opening quarter 2-4 up.
At the start of the second period Bridgefield had a three goal lead but Watford fought back to within one at 4-5 but with .37 seconds of the half remaining a man-out gave Bridgefield the advantage which they took to restore that two goal margin at 4-6.
Again the third period opened with Bridgefield scoring first for 4-7 but Edi Brkovic’s side weren’t going to give up easily as they fought back to 6-7 before Bridgefield hit another two goals for 6-9. Back came Watford and with two goals the last with 13 seconds of the period remaining where back within one at 8-9.
The final period and once again Bridgefield scored first as each side then hit goals one after the other to take the score to 11-12, Watford had briefly levelled the game at 11-11.
Then with 3.42 remaining Watford levelled the match again at 12-12 and then took control as two goals in 62 seconds had us in front at 14-12 with the game coming to a close Bridgefield scored again for 14-13 but Watford hung up to record that all important opening victory.
Sunday and an early start against City of Sheffield with Sheffield having lost on Saturday to West London Penguins a victory for Watford would guarantee them progress into April’s Final Four.
The game started with Sheffield taking a slender first quarter lead at 3-2. Back came Watford in the second period and with a 2-0 quarter the team had turned the game around to lead at Half time 3-4.
The third period saw Watford extend their lead at 3-5 but Sheffield fought back to level at 5-5. Back came Watford for 5-6 but again Sheffield responded to close the third period all square at 6-6.
The final period and both sides came out fighting but Watford scored first before Sheffield responded for 7-7. Watford then hit three unanswered goals to knock the stuffing out of Sheffield to establish a commending lead at 7-10. Sheffield hit their eighth but it was too little to late as Watford hit two more to close the game and take the victory and their Final Four place with an 8-12 win.
The final match on Sunday afternoon against West London Penguins was a shoot-out for who could claim top spot after Penguins had won both their opening matches.
With the exertions of the previous match and the fact that we had qualified meant we were tired going into this match and Penguins took a half time lead at 6-4.
The third period saw Watford close the gap to within one at 8-7 and in the final period we draw level twice at 8-8 and 9-9 but with the game petering out Penguins responded and with two goals inside the final three minutes as they closed the game to win 11-9.
A disappointing end but the overall objective to make the final four was achieved and with a semi-final to look forward to against Manchester the team has every chance of making the Final and facing Penguins again for that Gold Medal…
Watford U17′s team (Goals scored):
Harvey Robinson, Josh Mills (7), Elias Thierry (4), Adam Lecombre (12), James Lamb (3), Josh Gibson (5), Ryan Dennis (1), Arav Bhatia, Max Cohen, Zak Kovacs (5), Irish Patel, Oscar Cook.