The wet weather had led to various postponements recently so it was great for a few of the Newton Aycliffe Juniors teams to be guaranteed some game time at the Alun Armstrong Sports Centre in their Christmas tournaments held over the 27th and 28th December. One team also managed to play their scheduled league fixture on 3rd January.
The Under 7’s fielded two teams for their tournament. Both teams had a series of games in the group stages, the ‘Blues’ got off to a great start with a 6-2 win against St Mary’s Aces. Following this they were beaten by the eventual tournament winners, Montague Blues. They then won 3-2 against St Mary’s Jacks before drawing 2-2 with the North Yorkshire Academy side and finishing off with a defeat against Kader FC. The ‘Reds’ were the other under 7 team involved and had a hard time against strong opposition initially against the other team from the North Yorkshire Academy and then facing Foundation of Light, St Mary’s Kings and Spennymoor.
The Under 8’s enjoyed four games and despite drawing with St Mary’s Aces they had tough tasks assigned when playing Middleton Rangers, Darlington All Stars and the North Yorkshire side. Ultimately they were not on this occasion able to progress beyond the group stage of the tournament.
It was the Under 9’s who played their scheduled league game against Barnard Castle, unfortunately it was not a good day at the office. Five goals were conceded and the lack of training over the festive period and loss of recent games due to the weather was apparent in the performance.
The Under 10’s had both of their teams on show at the Alun Armstrong Centre, the Russell Foster league side had nine players to rotate around their group games in this 5 a side format. They started well with a 2-2 draw against Barnard Castle and a 3-1 win over Spennymoor Tigers. Two defeats then came up when they played Leven and North Yorkshire before they finished off with a 5-1 win against Spraire Lads ‘Reds’, Taylor scoring all five goals in their final game.
The Under 10 TJFA side enjoyed more success and navigated their group with five successive victories. First up they came off 2-0 winners against Sprire Lads ‘Yellows’ before three unanswered goals led them to a win against Barnard Castle. Spennymoor Lions were the first side to score a goal against the Aycliffe outfit but the game ended 2-1 to the Juniors. Crook Town then were defeated 3-0 and finally Leven ‘Barca’ got a late goal but the game ended 3-1 to Aycliffe.
Progression to the semi-final was secured and a great performance provided a 3-0 win against the North Yorkshire Academy team. The final was a repeat of the summer tournament finale with the Juniors facing Leven. It was Leven’s day and they won a keenly fought game 2-1 so the Aycliffe side finished the day as runners up.
It was a great tournament weekend for our teams and huge thanks to the hosts at Alun Armstrong Sports Centre. The TJFA Under 10 side came close to repeating their summer tournament victory at the same venue and their 17 goals were scored by Lucas (5), Charlie (4), Zack (4), Jake (2) and Jacob (2). Harry and Chloe were superb in defence with Thomas showing fine form in goal such that only four goals were conceded.
Another fine achievement for the club at the end of 2015 was when Jack Slatcher won the ‘unsung hero’ award following a poll on the facebook site Grassroots Football. Jack is a highly valued volunteer at our club who leads the coaching of our development section for 4-7 year olds as well as the Under 8’s team alongside their manager Abi Steel. These commitments are combined with playing for the Under 23 side, referring games, a university course and part time work. This award is great recognition of the effort Jack puts in to his roles within the club – well done and very well deserved Jack.