Fulledge Colts Under 15s travelled to Holland to enter the Amsterdam Cup over the Bank Holiday weekend and returned as champions.
The 24-strong squad of players was split into two teams, Blues and Whites, and placed in different pools.
The Blue team was drawn in a group with Shiners FC (England) and Dutch trio Ewijk, Rkvv DSS and R.K.S.V. D. C.G. The players showed great fluidity to adapt to different tactical systems throughout the opening day but goalkeeper Luke Cocker was a constant,
Jake Woodward, Jack Burrows, James Billington and Ethan Slater were aggressive and assured in their defending, while the midfield of Aidan Duffy and Roman Slusarenko were committed and disciplined throughout.
The creativity, skill and neat interchange between Tom Keellings, Matty Chapman, Nathaniel Anderson and Josh McRae in the final third of the pitch was a joy to watch.
They opened their campaign with a 0-0 draw and followed this up with a 2-1 victory against Shiners FC. Although the Colts went behind, McRae soon equalised before an exquisite lob from Keellings with only seconds remaining ensured the points.
Another 0-0 draw followed but the Blues managed to secure their place on finals day with an emphatic 5-0 win.
The Whites team was drawn in a group alongside home team Olympia Haarlem (Holland), V.O.C. (Belgium), De Held (Holland) and R.K.S.V. C2 (Holland).
A 3-5-2 system was employed throughout and the defence of Charlie Dewhurst and Ryan Bateson alongside captain Cameron Lancaster, in front of goalkeeper Will Wrathall, provided a solid platform in the defensive third.
Strong work, in and out of possession, by wing backs Luke Cassidy and Cole Travers provided another dimension for the team, while the strength, power and quality of midfield trio Matty Howarth, Will Foster and Ben Ashton enabled the Colts to gain the ascendancy time and again.
Jake Robinson, Tom Haigh and Reid Wolstenholme were a constant threat and their goal return for the weekend was emphatic.
An 8-0 win opened the campaign with goals from Ben Ashton (2), Jake Robinson, Thomas Haigh and Reid Wolstenholme (2). Two 5-0 victories were then recorded with Ashton (2), Robinson and Haigh (2) getting the goals in both games. A 3-1 win in the last group game against R.K.S.V. C2 was enough to see the Whites finish top of the group and advance to finals day, where they were drawn in the same group as their Blues counterparts.
Both teams boasted a 100% win record on the second day, each securing a 1-0 win over a talented Ross County Academy team along the way.
The two Colts teams were then drawn together in the semi-final, where a tight but enjoyable encounter was settled with a late Ben Ashton strike for the Whites. The Blue team re-grouped to take 3rd place with an 8-0 victory against FC Medemblik.
The Whites then took on R.K.S.V. D.C.G., deservedly winning 3-0 with a Luke Cassidy goal from the halfway line befitting of the occasion.