by Sam Ainsworth

Hillmorton Experience First Defeat of the Premier Division Season

Hillmorton High School 0 - 2 Papanui High School

Starting Line Up: Wen, Yuma, Jack, Andre, Jaxon, Azriel, Brad, Zabi, Shoei, Patrick, Tim

Substitutes: Alex, Connor, Joren, Mnase, Andrew

On the 22nd of July, our Hillmorton Boys First XI squad travelled out to Yaldhurst to face Papanui High School in what ended as a 2-0 loss at the CFC facilities under lights. We already knew that Papanui were a good team, but we entered in good mood and we were positive that we could win, despite the notable absences of Cameron, Rowan, and head coach Geordie Dann.

Right from the start, Papanui put on the pressure well. They pressed effectively, always put us under immediate pressure, and put us on the defence straight away. To our credit, we defended effectively and we kept them out well, until around the 25th minute when we gave away a penalty. Papanui scored the spot kick but Wen was unlucky not to keep out.

Many times throughout the first half we managed to catch them on the break well, creating four chances in the first half that we were unfortunately not able to put in the back of the net.

At half time, we had a very productive tactical talk, and that is when we decided to play in a 4-5-1 to defend more as a compact unit, and place Brad next to Azriel in the defensive midfield position to stabilize us as a team. As it turned out, this was a very effective change to our shape as a team, and we played much better in the second half, and we were able to keep longer periods of possession than in the first half. Azriel was subbed for Mnase, and Tim was subbed for Alex to introduce more energy and concentration into the game in the late phases. However, due to fatigue and bad luck, we conceded again with a few minutes to go.

Overall, coming up against very tough opposition with the absence of a head coach, and two very important players in Rowan and Cameron, we knew we were up against it. But regardless of the scoreline, we were still proud of our performance and can take some real positives from the game. If this performance from our team was a litmus test of what is to come, especially defensively, we should all be optimistic for the rest of the season. All of the team put in a big effort, all tracking back, and all working hard for the full 90 minutes.

Man of the match as nominated by Mr Ainsworth this week was Andre at CB.

Written by Azriel Taylor, Year 13

Photography by Tyson Collins, Year 13