To frame this, Peter Whalley and myself have been coaching this side for 3 years, with Alison Rourke by our side as Manager. The 16/3’s had a weird start to the season, even before we got started. No trial games…no training sessions.
We had lost a few of our Div/2 side (who had struggled for the previous two years) with players to other clubs or giving the game away, and it was looking like two teams were not going to be possible due to lack of numbers, or, losing our girls (as they were dual registered), or a very large squad. The decision (not that it was hard) was that losing our girls was NOT an option, so we opted to have a squad of 17. That seems big, but in hindsight with Covid, Flu and injuries it was the right decision.
The squad was now made up of Div 2 and Div 4 players so being in Div 3 seemed logical and fair. Walking out to our first game with zero training sessions, and as coaches, we had no idea where to place the new players or what they were capable of. Avalon …. 8-1 WIN!!! This was an amazing moment right at the start of the season!! The grins from these young men and women were beyond description.
READ: WE CAN DO THIS!!!
Throughout the season the new players have not only integrated brilliantly into the team, but several of them have also become integral parts of team setup. This crew have gelled as a team and bonded like no other group I have seen. They play as a team, but more importantly the play for each other. Nothing is left out on the paddock.
There are way too many teamwork moments to mention here but suffice to say, we have seen goals scored through 9 different sets of boots being involved, starting from the back line, and ending in the front line. Some stunning individual efforts in attack, defence, halves, goal keeping, not to mention long-range bullets hitting the back of the net.
Forest- Killarney… the teams Achilles Heel for the last 3-4 years. Beaten in the first round in an incredibly tough match, which to their credit this BTH team did not engage in any behaviour that would bring themselves or the club down. Second round? 3-0 to BTH… the best game I have seen them play in 3 years. Skilful, aggressive, yet calm.
THIS was the 70 minutes that said to them, WE CAN WIN THIS COMP! The pivotal moment for the team.
This team is going to the semis for the first time in their short career. That is not their focus though. The League Championship is the goal currently. A couple of stats as it stands with two rounds to play. 13 played, 11 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, 34 points, 48 GD (55 for – 7 against).
This team is now the 2022 LEAGUE CHAMPIONS with a 6-point margin (with 1 to go). What happens in the Semis or Grand Final (if they get there) remains to be seen?
I will say this however, the Management Team of this side (and the parents) could not be prouder of this group of young men and women. They have grown as individuals, bonded as a group, and that is more important than anything they have achieved on the paddock this season and that (in my opinion) is why team sport is so important.
The photos (courtesy of Doogs Brown) show a couple of golden moments.
More to come as the season progresses. Watch this space.
Dave Watts – Coach 16/3 Mixed