On Sunday 28 November, the Year 6 Falcons travelled to Millfield School to take part in the IAPS National Football Finals.
The boys had worked hard and were ready to live up to their three targets of compete, enjoy and stick together and throughout the day, the boys would demonstrate this in abundance.
In the first game of the pool stage, the boys faced a challenging opening match against an organised and hardworking Brentwood School. Early tournament nerves were evident, but the defending was calm and composed. Harper worked tirelessly when he came on and tried to make a real impact on the game but the desire not to lose from both teams resulted in a 0-0 draw.
In the second game, the boys continued with their composed defending, but Northcote Lodge held firm too, defending heroically in and around the box. Pattni was introduced in defence and his impact was immediate, winning the ball and playing it back into midfield. This sparked more energy for Fairfield and allowed more of the players to join the attacks. Then came a real moment of quality, with Badley picking up a loose ball in midfield and then playing a nicely weighted pass into the feet of the advancing Clark who shifted the ball onto his right foot and lashed in a fierce drive into the top corner. The boys managed the game really well and ended up winning 1-0.
The boys were high in confidence following the win in the previous game and started to play with some real eagerness and enthusiasm. Barton-Knott created some real magic down the left-hand side, dinking and weaving past three players before firing a shot wide of the post. The boys defended strongly but when the ball fell to one of the Wimbledon College Prep midfielders whose tame effort took a deflection and squirted into the far post, beating the despairing dive from Buss, it would end in heartbreak and a 1-0 loss.
The loss on the previous game had a real effect on the boys’ confidence and this was evident in the early exchanges of the game. St Michael’s had the momentum and would end up scoring a fast counter attacking goal, knocking the wind out of the Fairfield sails and the boys would go down 1-0 for the second match in a row.
The final group game meant that only a win for both teams would do. Hughes began to peg back the Westbourne defence by making some excellent runs down the right-hand side. Sadhra was tenacious in midfield, breaking up play and ensuring that Fairfield remained on top throughout the early stages of the game. After some end-to-end action, a wonderfully weighted pass from Clark sent the rushing Tomara in on goal, who remained calm and composed, producing a cute finish to send the travelling fans into bedlam! Buss had to make two outstanding saves to keep Westbourne House School at bay. The boys held firm and won the game 1-0, sending them into the Plate Quarter Final competition.
The Plate Quarter Final provided an excellent test for the boys who were excited and eager to progress further into the competition. Kirkland rose to the occasion and made some excellent runs in behind their defence and was so close to putting Fairfield into the lead, forcing the goalkeeper into making a fine save to push the ball onto the crossbar. Fairfield kept pushing, creating and striving for the goal but it did not come and the game would go to penalties. The boys showed tremendous bravery for stepping up to take a penalty but it was not to be and Kingshott School would go on to win 2-1.
The boys should be incredibly proud of their effort, enthusiasm and application throughout the tournament. They competed fiercely and stuck together as a team throughout. The supporters, the coaches and the Headmaster are all very proud!