On a balmy September Sunday morning, Grade 5 and Grade 4 footballers set off for Vigour Sports in Changzhou for the first football fixture since Chinese New Year, to play Victory FC, an out-of-school team made up of pupils from the locality.
Just a half-hour drive away from school, the boys arrived at the ground fresh and bubbling with excitement, sporting the all-blue Wycombe strip. Victory FC were in their kit of avocado green and white.
Grade 5 (U11s) - WASCZ 3-3 Victory FC
The Grade 5 (U11s) match took place first under the autumn sunshine amid a good crowd of parent-spectators. The colourful flags around the ground fluttered in the breeze as the boys took to the pitch.
With both teams passing the ball excellently from the outset, it was clear that the teams were evenly matched and producing good football. After soaking up some initial pressure from Victory FC for the first five minutes, Wycombe gradually found their stride, and L. Tsang opened the scoring when the ball slid across the goal mouth from the left and he connected and drilled the ball low past the hapless keeper.
With action and near misses at both ends over the first half, it was unclear who would gain the momentum before the break, but Wycombe Abbey secured a two-nil lead with a rocket of a shot from L. Angeheben on the edge of the area.
Half Time - WASCZ 2-0 Victory FC
With the temperature steadily rising, both teams took on a lot of water at the interval before lining up for the second half.
Victory FC, benefitting from the rest, soon forged some attacks and were back in contention with a goal in the first minutes. WASCZ soon replied with their with another wonder-shot from L. Angeheben from the right, the pace of the ball giving the keeper no chance.
Shortly afterwards, a Wycombe corner bounced awkwardly for a Victory defender who appeared to handball it inside the area but the referee deemed it accidental.
Then, within the last 5 minutes, Victory FC applied more pressure at managed to pull the two-goal deficit back, the final goal literally on the full-time whistle.
Grade 4 - WASCZ 0-6 Victory FC
It was a tough start to the new football season for the grade 4 boys as Victory FC at their home ground played with a swagger which left us chasing shadows.
After the boys had watched a wonderful game of grade 5 football, the boys were full of enthusiasm for their first competitive game of term. They then warmed up and were raring to go. However, Victory FC kicked off and Wycombe Abbey quickly knew how difficult the game was going to be. Victory FC raced into a 3-goal advantage in the first half, but Wycombe Abbey kept trying to play football but were still without a goal as half-time arrived.
After half-time Wycombe Abbey came out with renewed energy and played very well going toe-to-toe with their counterparts from Victory FC with R. Shaikh running through on the Victory FC goal only to fire wide of the goal. Then, the second half suddenly turned after a calamitous injury to a defender of Victory FC as the WASCZ defence went to sleep after playing very well in the second half and allowed Victory FC to score 3 quick goals before the final whistle was blown. It was a difficult start to the new football season for Wycombe Abbey but improvement is sure to come.
Both games were conducted in a great spirit of sportsmanship and goodwill. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to play competitive football again and represented the school in an exemplary manner.
A big 'Thank You' to all the parents who came to support the matches and made it such a super morning of sport, and a special thank you to Miss Mei who acted as the team photographer on the day.
Grade 4 Squad:
W. Yu - Seal (4C)
L. Egervari - Shark (4Y)
F. Figura - Shark (4Y)
E. Wan - Shark (4Y)
J. Sun - Walrus (4H)
A. Yang - Seal (4C)
R. Shaikh - Shark (4Y)
Grade 5 Squad:
R. Huang - Dragonfish (5H)
H. Liao - Dragonfish (5H)
K. Huang - Dragonfish (5H)
D. Wang - Narwhal (5P)
L. Tsang - Orca (5M)
A. Yu - Narwhal (5P)
T. Shi - Dragonfish (5H)
M. Shao - Dragonfish (5H)
S. Yan - Dragonfish (5H)
S. Kim - Dragonfish (5H)