Two sides from The Forest School have enjoyed plenty of success this year and were rewarded for their efforts with a number of cup wins.
The U16 (Year 11) team started the year off with a terrific win away at Cardinal Newman who were runners up in the 2013 County Cup. This set the tone for what was to come.
Just before Christmas The Forest School U16 team were crowned District Champions after a 2-0 win against Sackville, thanks to an excellent free kick from Jack Reeves before his brother and team captain Lewis ensured the win moments later.
The boys continued this form after the Christmas break to help the team progress to the Sussex County Cup Final. Two wins in quick succession against Longhill in the quarter finals and Imberhorne in the semi-finals ensured the team reached their 3rd County Cup final in 5 years.
The final, against Ardingly College, was played at Worthing FC on Thursday 24th April. A 7.30pm kick-off ensured plenty of parents were there to see their son’s last game for Forest. Both sides produced some excellent football on the day, which was a joy to behold at times and the game was extremely close throughout the opening stages.
Midway through the first-half Forest keeper Ben Cripps produced a top save to keep the score line at 0-0 before being beaten moments later by a deflected shot from the edge of the box to give Ardingly a first-half lead.
Forest came out flying in the second-half and gave it everything they had, with George Palmer and Adam Winkworth constantly pressuring the Ardingly back four before Hugo Cowan hit the woodwork late. A goal would have sent the game in to extra time, however it wasn’t meant to be and Ardingly saw the game out to retain their trophy.
Yr 11 Team Coach Mr Mike Wickham said “We are all extremely proud of the boys’ this year. They played a superb final. We will miss them and wish them all the best as they go on to Collyers and continue their footballing careers there. With this years talented group combined with the ex-Forest team already at Collyers I don’t think it will be long before they are back in another final.”
In what was turning out to be a very busy first week back after the Easter break Forest’s U14 (Year 9) side faced Dorothy Stringer in their County Cup final at Worthing FC on Wednesday 23rd April. From the first whistle the game burst into life as both sides looked to get any advantage they could in the opening stages. It was only due to a fantastic early save from Forest keeper Sam Jewell that the score remained goalless.
Forest soon began to gain the upper hand and it was the strength and speed of the Forest frontmen Joe Humphries and Ben Whiteley that put Dorothy Stringer on the back foot with their direct running.
The first goal of the game came after 20 minutes when a quick free-kick in the Forest half was played into the feet of Eddie Grogan who delivered a pin-point through ball to Joe Humphries who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to give Forest the lead.
The message at half-time was to keep things tight for the first ten minutes and to then try and grab a second. But the boys had different ideas, as five minutes into the 2nd half Joe Humphries ran past two Dorothy Stringer defenders before leaving the goalkeeper flat footed with a fine finish to extend the lead. The Forest back four performed superbly as Dorothy Stringer tried to claw their way back into the game, but Team Captain Joe Blake and his other defensive colleagues were just too well equipped for anything the opposition threw at them, backed up by an impressive keeper performance from Sam Jewell.
The next goal would be crucial and it was Forest again who found the net as Eddie Grogan finished off a fine team move with a speculative 20 yard effort that moved Forest even closer to victory. Shortly after Joe Humphries secured the tie and completed his hat-trick with a composed finish when put through 1-on-1 with the opposition keeper after some excellent midfield play. Just before the final whistle Dorothy Stringer got on the scoreboard with an excellent free-kick effort but it was to be Forest’s day as the final whistle blew. Scenes of joy and jubilation were on show as Forest were crowned U14 Champions of Sussex.
Team Coach Mr Jonathan Robbins said “This is a fantastic achievement for a year group who have enjoyed a lot of success this year. I am delighted with the boys, they played a brilliant game. Everyone at Forest is extremely proud of the whole team.”
To cap off a superb sporting year for the school the U14 Team followed in the footsteps of the U15 & U16 Teams by also winning the District Cup – a superb Double Cup-Winning season for The Forest School Year 9’s boys. With the talent, motivation and drive this squad possesses I am sure they will accept nothing less than retaining their trophy next year – a feat they are more than capable of achieving.
The U16 District Cup winning & County Cup Runner-Up:
Ben Cripps, Nick Bayne, Michael Potter, Lewis Reeves (c), Alex Glossop, Niall Miller, George Palmer, Hugo Cowan, Cameron Barnes, Jack Reeves, Adam Winkworth, Daniel Meisinger, Robbie Fairs, Marco Penge, Jordan Williams, Emmanuel Nyoni & George Wickington.
The U14 District & County Cup winning side:
Sam Jewell, Ryan Howes, Ben Hainsworth, Joe Blake (c), Nick Cranston, George Woolley, Ben Whiteley, Josh Brett, Dan Longo, Joe Humphries, Eddie Grogan, Richard Potter, Max Patterson, Aaron Collins, Sol Relleen & George Chantrill.
Pictured is Forest School Yr 9 Football Team - U14’s County Cup Winners.
Back Row: Sol Relleen, Eddie Grogan, Ben Hainsworth, Dan Longo, Max Paterson, Ben Whiteley, Sam Jewell, Nick Cranston, Mr J Robbins (Team Coach)
Front row: Aaron Collins, Richard Potter, George Woolley, Josh Brett, Joe Blake (Captain), Joe Humphries, George Chantrill, Ryan Howes
Report and picture contributed by The Forest School.