Fulledge Colts Under 13s travelled to Holland to enter the JVC Cuijk Tournament over the Bank Holiday Weekend and returned as champions.
The team were drawn in a group with RKSV Margriet (Holland), Etus Haltern (Germany) and the host team, JVC Cuijk.
RKSV Margriet failed to turn up and, subsequently, Fulledge Colts were awarded a 3-0 victory and 3 points.
The boys took their frustrations out on Etus Haltern in the second group game, dominating their German counterparts with skill and creativity, underlined by team work.
Goals came from Ben Ashton (3), Matthew Howarth, Josh McRae, Thomas Keellings and Aidan Duffy.
The final group game against JVC Cuijk took place on a 3G pitch, and the Fulledge boys relished the opportunity to play their brand of football on such a surface, running out 11-0 winners.
Leon Stubbs, Liam Gidley and Ethan Slater provided a reliable platform for the rest of the boys to play, as Ashton (4), Keellings (2), McRae (2), Howarth, Nathaniel Anderson and Duffy got on the scoresheet.
As group winners, Fulledge Colts qualified for the finals, along with MK Dons Academy (England), Southcote FC (England) and SC Dynamo (Holland).
The four teams would play each other and the winner of the group would be crowned as winners of the tournament.
In the first game, Fulledge played the MK Dons Academy and the Colts applied themselves brilliantly.
Fulledge pressed the ball much better and, subsequently, were able to win the ball high up the pitch, which allowed Anderson and Ashton to score either side of half time.
MK Dons simply could not live with the overlapping play from wing backs Jake Woodward and Jack-Billington-Calvert, whilst Cameron Lancaster broke up each MK Dons attack as the Colts ran out deserved 2-0 winners.
Next up were Southcote FC, who provided a greater physical test.
Although the Colts’ usual passing game wasn’t as fluid as it had been, the character of the players shone through and Fulledge were able to scrape a 1-0 victory, as Herbie Farnworth nodded home a Duffy free kick.
Luke Cocker made two outstanding saves to ensure Fulledge held onto the lead.
In the final game, Fulledge Colts took on SC Dynamo, and the winners would be crowned champions.
Remarkably, Fulledge found extra energy levels to take the game to the opposition, playing a high tempo, passing game.
Nevertheless, it was not until the second half when the Colts managed to take the lead; a 35-yard effort from Duffy was parried by the SC Dynamo goalkeeper into the path of Ashton, who neatly slotted home.
Coach Alex Norwood said: “ Winning was nice, but the real source of pride was the efforts of the players, the quality of their play and the way they adapted to playing against different teams from different countries, with different philosophies on football.
“Their impeccable behaviour throughout was a credit to themselves and their families, as well as Fulledge Colts YFC.
“The boys didn’t take the occasion too seriously and could not stop smiling all weekend.
“The positive effect that this had on everyone around them was amazing.
“ I’m proud of them all, they were brilliant.
“I would also like to mention that we were absolutely delighted to receive the backing of VEKA PLC for the trip.
“In particular, I would like to say a personal thanks to Rebecca Clegg for the offer of the sponsorship, which was greatly appreciated by me, the players and parents.”
The team are looking to travel to Barcelona next season and would welcome any sponsorship opportunities to help with the trip.
Alex can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org