Silverware At The Double!
After always being a nearly team - league runners-up three times and beaten County Cup semi-finalists three times - Higham Lane's Year 10 footballers were looking forward to their first final together and a chance to win their first silverware at Nuneaton Town FC's Sperrin Stadium.
In the quarter-final of the Nuneaton & District Schools' FA Cup, Higham produced an excellent team performance to win 3-1 at home against St Thomas More thanks to goals from Curtis BEEBY (two) and Alex LOCK.
The semi-final saw Higham playing some fantastic football and worked extremely hard to easily beat Hartshill 3-0 with goals from Daniel HEAD (two) and Rob AIRDRIE.
The final, against a very strong Ash Green team, proved to be a very tough and close encounter. Both teams got off to a nervous start with the ball in the air a lot resulting in few chances being created. Unfortunately, Ash Green then scored two very similar goals thanks to a very quick forward who outpaced the defending players to score twice - 2-0 down!
Following a few changes in defence and midfield, Higham Lane then began to control the game and keep the opposition's striker quiet. Chances were created and, after a scramble in the box, Rob AIRDRIE finished superbly past several players on the goal line. Still 2-1 down at half-time but the momentum was with Higham.
The second half started very well for Higham with more goal scoring opportunities created. Connor Arnold hit a shot from 30 yards, which seemed to go in, the goalkeeper pushed it away only for a fellow player to be fouled trying to follow it up - penalty. Curtis BEEBY stepped up and coolly knocked the ball in, making it look easy!
Higham were now searching for the winner. Ash Green looked shattered, chasing around after the slick Lane passing machine. With 10 minutes remaining, fresh players were introduced by Higham and Ash Green were struggling to stay in the game. Then, with two minutes left, Daniel Head beat several players and put a perfect through pass to Curtis BEEBY who superbly slotted the ball home into the corner of the net - 3-2 and time to celebrate!
A fantastic squad performance by the Year 10 boys and a magnificent come-back to thoroughly deserve the victory. Captains Rob Airdrie and Tom Vandamme went forward to collect the NE Warwickshire Cup. Well done!
Year 10 Squad: Jack Horton, Adam Parker, Tom Ellis-Moore, Cameron Cook, Ewan Watkins, Josh Preston, Oliver Grainger, Connor Arnold, James McLaughlin, Rob Airdrie (c), Aaron Williams, Brad Moore, Curtis Beeby, Daniel Head, Alex Lock and Tom Vandamme-non playing captain (injured), physio and Tweeter.
Above: The jubilant Year 10 football team celebrate after defeating Ash Green 3-2 thanks to a quality strike from Curtis Beeby in the last minute of an enthralling game.
The Year 7 football squad ended a very successful season by winning the Nuneaton & District League and triumphing in the Nuneaton & District Cup final.
The boys remained unbeaten throughout the season, scoring 25 goals and conceding only eight in six matches. In their league matches they played consistently, creating numerous chances and defending very well to beat George Eliot 3-2, Polesworth 4-1, Nicholas Chamberlaine 4-2, Queen Elizabeth 2-1 and Nuneaton Academy 8-1.
In the District Cup final they faced Kingsbury School, who were also unbeaten during the season. The final was contested at Nuneaton Town FC in front of a cheering crowd and, on the massive pitch, the whole squad produced some excellent football and played extremely well as a team.
The boys got off to fantastic start with Aaron BAILEY scoring a far post header with only five minutes on the clock. After 20 minutes a penalty was awarded to Higham Lane and Jack HILTON stepped up to calmly roll the ball into the corner of the net. As the half-time whistle approached, goalkeeper Luke Donnison made an important save low down to keep the score at 2-0 at the break.
In the second half, Kingsbury quickly pulled a goal back as Higham Lane tried to pass out of defence. This setback only made the team work harder with Tom Shelton competently re-organising his defence. After creating several good goal scoring opportunities, Jack HILTON hit his second after barging his way through the Kingsbury defence while Tom STOKES added a third with a fine shot from 20 yards out.
The boys continued to press and could have added more goals, but it finished 4-1 and Higham Lane were double winners in their first season together! The team squad collected their well-deserved medals and captain Ethan Looker proudly stepped forward to receive the Colin Jones Cup.
A fantastic effort by all 20 players in the Year 7 squad throughout the season and well done to all the boys involved: Luke Donnison, Ethan Richards, Aaron Bailey, Tom Shelton, Josh Bowes, Frankie Parker, Luke Blurton, Dylan Patel, Stephen Hamilton, Adam Lynam, Tom Stokes, Ethan Looker, Elliot Newth, Kyle Brown, Joe Bates, Nick Coltman, Jordan Forrest-Holden, Ethan Meadows, Nathan Treadwell and Jack Hilton.
Below: Coach, Mr Wilson, and Headteacher, Mr Kelly, join in with the Year 7 footballers' celebrations following the team's 4-1 victory over Kingsbury. (More images from the two cup finals can be found in the Photo Gallery).