15th grade footballers win cup final in style

Mid Canterbury’s 15th grade football team celebrate and thank supporters at the end of Saturday’s game. Photo: Doug Bovett.

Mid Canterbury’s 15th grade football team has ended the season on a high with an emphatic 4-0 cup final victory on home turf.
Watched by a crowd of around 150, Saturday’s game against Selwyn in the Ashburton Domain was fast, entertaining and played in perfect conditions.
The teams were evenly matched for the first 25 minutes, but an unfortunate bounce of the ball and a mistake by the goalkeeper gifted the home side a first half lead and an easy nod up for speedster Kingsley Olawale.
Mid Canterbury started the second half very strongly and were on the scoresheet again with a bullet header by Boaz Drye from a corner.
A very strong second half display saw the home side hit the woodwork twice and have a number of other chances.
They scored two more deserved goals, both headers scored by striker Elliott Ward.
Mid Canterbury manager Richard Ward said he was very impressed with his team’s effort on Saturday and especially the second half display.
The team had shown good commitment and played well all season and to come away with the cup victory was the icing on the cake.
Half of his squad of 14 were on the younger side for the 15th grade and some had not long had their 14th birthdays.
‘‘The majority of the lads have played together for five years now and they’ve have built up a great rapport, on and off the pitch.
‘‘There’s great camaraderie between the boys and also between their parents, which is important.’’
Mr Ward said he hoped that the team would be able to continue to play together next season in the same 15th grade competition because their was no 16th grade.
A couple of players would be over age, but could still be allowed to play if Mainland Football gave them the go ahead.
The Mid Canterbury 15th grade team played and won five games in the Division 2 competition before being put up to Division 1 in July.
They finished second behind Coastal Spirit in Division 1 after a 10 game season and were unbeaten in all their home games. The top four from the division played off in the cup competition over the past two weekends.