Report by Christian James
A dominant away performance earned Sixth Form XI a 3-0 victory in turbulent conditions against KEVIGS Louth, in what is likely to be the side’s last game. Utilising a threadbare squad of just eleven, Mr Cope fielded a 4-4-2 formation, shifting Caswell and Graham to flank Gregory and Coulthurst in midfield as Lindsey and Timmins formed a makeshift forward duo. In defence Bargh filled in at left back, alongside Emerson, Carter and Haskins, and James made his goalkeeping debut.
Captain-for-the-day Emerson elected to play with the wind in the first half, although in truth the gusts were acting across the pitch more than down it. QEGS were put on the back foot in the first ten as Emerson and Carter were kept busy making regular clearances, James with little to do besides sniffing out the occasional low cross or through ball.
Within a quarter hour the visitors appeared to have acclimatised to their new structure, and Timmins and Lindsey began linking up with increasing success. Half-chances came and went for Timmins and Graham before Lindsey found the net midway through the first half with a neat side foot on the rebound. Half time arrived without further event after a 20-minute spell punctuated with driving rain and increasing cross winds, QEGS increasingly comfortable on the ball.
Now playing into the wind, Horncastle began the second half as they ended the first- on the ascendency. A long ball over the top found Caswell, who’s marauding run drew a foul inside the Louth penalty area, affording Timmins a chance to double the lead. The Horncastle Town man made no mistake from 12 yards, hesitating long enough to gauge the keeper’s intentions before slotting in agonisingly out of reach of the home custodian.
Commentator Martin Tyler is often heard stating that “sometimes a two-goal lead can be a dangerous one”, and it seemed to be case in point as Louth’s best three attempts all arrived with QEGS two to the good. Firstly, a speculative low drive from 20 yards was gathered by James, before further pressure saw space open up down the hosts’ attacking right. Heading beyond James’ reach the Louth frontman appeared to have reduced the arrears, only for the large puddle inside the six-yard box to stop the ball dead as it bounced, affording Haskins the opportunity to hack clear.
Louth found a way in behind for the third time shortly after in a three-on-one attack, but James’ desperate lunge afforded Emerson and Carter enough time to cover their stranded shot-stopper to produce three inspired goal-line blocks before the ‘keeper recovered to relieve the pressure.
With Louth desperately seeking a goal of their own, Horncastle’s frontline began finding large open spaces in behind, and with ten minutes to go the lead was up to three. Timmins’ original effort was fumbled into the path of Gregory, who shovel the ball in with a mixture of foot and shin to cement the victory for Mr Cope’s side.
Louth pushed in search of a consolation with reckless abandon, but only forged one further chance- James claiming a near-post cross from the hosts’ right flank to maintain the clean sheet.
QEGS Horncastle (4-4-2): Christian James, Christopher Bargh, Greg Carter, Sam Emerson ©, Oli Haskins, Tom Caswell, Dexter Coulthurst, Harry Gregory, Angus Graham, Alfie Lindsey, Jonathan Timmins.
Loughborough High Schools Foundation was our first opponents, their GS and GK were tall, which was a telling feature of the match. We were very positive though and the game flowed end-to-end throughout. The positive was the ball was fed well into the shooting circle but the negative was we “fell short” in defence. Final score: 4-18.
After a review of all scores after the first round, QEGS knew that we had a good chance for all of the remaining matches. Next up was Repton. We had a strong start and won the first half with no errors made. This was a tight match that we were unlucky to only draw 5-5. A missed opportunity!
Oundle were to follow. The final score was 11-12 and was another match we should have won as the match is only two halves of seven minutes and yet again we were ahead at half-time, a silly mistake in seven minutes makes a difference to the final outcome.
Still buoyed by what was generally a fine performance, all the girls were playing very well together, even though the team comprised of Year 10 and Year 11 students. Not to be deterred our next opponents were Rushcliffe. Following the trend of leading at half-time our nerve wavered. We didn’t vary the tactics enough and they began to read our moves. We became too predictable and lost 8-12.
So to the final match – the play-off between the top two Lincolnshire Under-16 teams. QEGS going into the tournament as County winners were very confident of maintaining our leading title. Yet again, ahead at half-time, we held on to a fine win against KGGS, 12-9.
Overall, finishing ninth was a harsh but fair result. Those small margins in other matches could have ended up with a top five position. All of our players: Ella, Anna, Daisy, Lydia, Connie, Alice, Kirsty, Katie and Ellie were well challenged, provided answers, played well together and learnt the art of communication on a netball court.
Thanks to Mrs Parsons, Mrs Kemp and Mrs Samra for their help and support and taking us on the day.
Wednesday 19th December 2018
Buoyed by recent wins against Boston College and Grammar, QEGS made it three wins from three as the side extended their rich vein of form into the Christmas break. Marshall’s first clean sheet of the campaign laid the foundation for a victory earnt in a first half which saw Sixth Form Eleven score three without reply at Spalding Grammar.
Mr Cope made one (enforced) change to the starting eleven with Haskins unavailable; Timmins dropped into the back four as Wilson returned to the XI accompanying Gowshall up front. And it was LIAM WILSON who opened the scoring for the Boys in Burgundy, nodding home after the ball cannoned off the bar from Gregory’s long-range effort.
MAX GOWSHALL doubled the visitors’ advantage soon after, Dean’s short corner to Lindsey allowing the left winger to cross into the back post, for the captain bundle home his eight of the year in a congested box- to the delight of the two fans in attendance (both Gowshalls themselves).
Eight soon became nine this season for GOWSHALL as the frontman struck from an area of relative safety for Spalding, somehow finding the right corner with an audacious looped effort from 20-plus yards to put Horncastle three to the good before the interval.
The midway point arrived with QEGS dominating, importance now placed on a composed second half display Injury to Caswell forced Lindsey into left back as Carter was introduced to midfield a matter of minutes after the restart, as QEGS dictated the tempo and allowed Spalding possession without efforts on Marshall’s goal.
However, when Marshall was called upon he was quick to response, stifling a through ball with an aggressive slide to cut out one particular counter-attack. Carter saw an effort flash just wide after dispossessing the home goalkeeper before Spalding had a goal correctly ruled out of handball in the build-up.
James replaced Wilson up front as time ran down, the game increasingly playing out in QEGS’ half as Timmins and Emerson stood firm against the desperate long ball. Counter attacks from QEGS threatened to extend the lead, most notably James broke through to see his effort pushed away in the closing stages.
On balance QEGS were good value for their three points and now head into Christmas with a record of won 6 lost 4 for 29 against 19; and have consecutive home games upon return in January.
QEGS (4-4-2): 1 Aaron Marshall, 5 Angus Graham, 3 Sam Emerson, 4 Jono Timmins, 2 Tom Caswell (12 Greg Carter), 10 Oli Dean, 6 Dexter Coulthurst, 8 Harry Gregory, 7 Alfie Lindsey, 11 Liam Wilson (14 Christian James), 9 Max Gowshall ©
MOTMs: Coulthurst & Gregory- complete dominance over the middle of the park enabled QEGS to assert themselves as the midfielders got foot on ball and pulled off intelligent passes both short and long throughout the game.