Part 2 – the Bananas eventually slip up in the penalty shoot out as the Huw Thatcher Trust hits £80,000
If you missed it, Part 1 about the early part of the day is here.
Before the evening session, the girls tournament took place late in the afternoon as team captains Smith, Thatcher and Broomhead led out their teams infront of an enthusiastic and admiring audience! The girls tournament provided almost as much in amusement as it did in quality – particularly as Carys Thatcher’s team seemed to struggle from the outset. Birthday girl Thatcher, and her teamates were clearly suffering the effects of the society event of Holmfirth the previous night – when they had celebrated until the early hours at their year 11 leavers Prom. This meant that it was left to the remaining 2 teams battling it out in a high scoring final – the Broomhead sisters failing to stop a rampant Smith side that included a raft of players from Huddersfield Town and Leeds United! In truth, Broomhead’s and Thatcher’s teams were outclassed on the day although Amy Broomhead is clearly one to watch, as she showed her older team mates how it should be done despite being hit full in the face by the ball in her 2nd match!
Despite the variable standard of the girls teams, it was lovely to see a group of girls playing football – a group that included some very good friends of Huw, his sister of course, and a number of other players who have been very supportive of Huw Trust events over the last 2 and a bit years. Hats off to the girls for showing up and taking part and taking everything everything in the right spirit. And it was lovely to see some of them back later in the evening to cheer on their friends in the older lads’ tournament during the evening.
The evening session provided just as much amusement, along with plenty of ability and good football. The 9 teams of 16 and 17 year old lads were joined by a veterans team aged 40 plus to make two very strong groups of 5 teams. It’s difficult to pick out individual teams on a night of such good football, competitiveness, comerarderie and a keen sense of remembering Huw who would have graced the pitch that evening. But in terms of footballing ability, the eventual winners led by Sam Briggs were outstanding – the self named Bluebirds turned out in Cardiff City shirts and named themselves in respect for Huw. Joe Stephenson’s side of 16 year olds also caught the eye – a quick and skill full side that played some great stuff. Henry Greenwood’s side (again dressed as bananas) put in a great fighting performance as they put the skids under last year’s winners to reach the final. Lawrence Guntert rolled back the years to show his terrior like qualities to score a spectacular goal from the half way line – reminding us of the promise he showed as a tenacious player for Hepworth United as a 11 and 12 year old.
Equally impressive was the vets team – facing the disadvantages of advancing years with great determination. The humid conditions were clearly not to their liking and some of the older players seemed to be losing a lot of fluid as their bodies fought against the heat of the night! Nevertheless, they didn’t let themselves down and surprised a few people as they recorded a comfortable victory in their second group match and secured a draw against Joe Stephenson’s excellent outfit. In the end it was too much for the vets to qualify as they sucumbed to a heavy defeat to the Bluebirds in their last match. They also lost to Sam Bellas’ team in a fixture that saw son Sam get one over his Dad Neil in an intriguing contest where Richardson’s finishing was too much for the opposition to handle. Well done and thank you to the vets for getting together and showing up late at night and making a good account of themselves – again in a great spirit which was typical of the day and made it another event to remember.
The final saw the Bananas continue to be slippery opponents, often ‘parking the bus’ against the technically superior Bluebirds. Hannon put in an incredible display in goal for the outfit in yellow and after a 5 minute period of extra time the sides remained locked together.
The penalty shoot out saw the Bluebirds win comfortably with Clowes showing why he has been rated as one of the best keepers in Huddersfield in his age group for some years now. The enthusiam to do this again next year seems to remain – after such a great day let’s see if we can do it again in 2014!
So it remains for me to say thank you again to the Ezro family, Ed, all the bakers, referees and helpers (of which there were many), the parents, supporters, the Old Bridge Bakery, the school and Sports Centre staff, and most of all the players. Thank you for the memories, laughs, sportsmanship, generosity and respect for Huw 🙂
As we left at 12.30am, one of Huw’s friends jumped into his car and drove off home. It reminded me of how much time has passed since we last saw Huw. His friends (many of whom I started to coach at Hepworth as 6 year olds) are moving on in their lives, driving, girlfriends and university or jobs on the horizon. But I smiled as Cal drove off in the knowledge that he along with 129 others had spent the day in such a positive and sporting manner – to respect and remember a special friend who will remain close to their hearts forever.
The day’s events will take funds raised by the Huw Thatcher Trust to over £80,000 which helps people with brain injuries from the time in the forces, medical problems or accidents. Funds raised by a big group of us who appreciate more than ever what we have – and regret what Huw has missed. But we take him with us in ways like this, and his heart and name live on – for ever and for always ♥♥♥
Follow the Huw Thatcher Trust on Facebook here.