It would be fair to say that the lads saved their very best efforts for their final year in Hull Boys’ Sunday League Football, with a strong selection of players to choose from throughout the season and a camaraderie that has been clear to see.
After losing the opening game against Tickton, the team pulled together to reach 16 wins, one draw and three losses – a remarkable achievement and clearly the best footballing team in the league.
With hard games against Market Weighton on an astroturf pitch, following a pitch from the previous week that had clearly never seen a grass cutter at Courtland, an amazing run of wins followed to eventually secure the title.
In the aftermath of the final game of the season after 10 years of lads’ football, manager Andy Sutton finally reaped his rewards. With what was inevitably the largest crowd of the season, Hedon Rangers and Courtland battled it out for the title. While the Market Weighton manager was spotted on TalkSport radio talking to Ally McCoist hoping for the draw so they would win the title, even he didn’t know what was going to happen. Some of the Hedon parents had prepared by watching the film Green Street leading up to kick-off on the final Sunday.
Hedon had certainly done the hard work over the past few weeks with seven games in hand and an intense fixture list – they had to win all the remaining games to win the league! Well, with Sunday morning sausage sandwiches and coffee a regular, an inspiring last game lay ahead with the winner to take the title.
Andy was clearly delighted with the turnout of support for his team.
He said: “This is your biggest game today lads, go out there and do it for yourselves. This can be something you will look back on in years to come.”
With glowing support from the Hedon community, coaches and families from a range of other Hedon teams, the Courtland following was clearly outnumbered.
Tim Smith (head linesman/head of parent support) said: “I have left the fizz in the car for the boys and it’s ready for the final whistle.”
With results going our way and many great performances from individuals over the course of the season, this helped keep them in with a chance of the title leading into the last game of the season.
Elliot’s save was “like a Gordon Banks-esque effort”, was the cry from one supporter in the penultimate game of the season.
With Brett leading the line with flag in hand to help assist in any way he could on the last game of the season, and with what looked to be a senior referee with all the gear, the stage was set.
A few last words from Andy, cheers from the crowd, the lads finally went to battle.
Minutes in and Hedon started the stronger of the two sides. It was certainly going well until the Hedon parents’ phones started to vibrate in their pockets as another infamous weekly text yet again appeared on the Hedon Rangers parents’ WhatsApp group, from head of communications Natalie as she sent a group text as the goals went in.
This time it was virtuous news as it was a “Goal Henley, 1-0”… “Goal Henley 2-0.” The hairs on the backs of the necks started to settle as the electric shock moment started to become a calmer and more manageable moment as Hedon gained control. With a goal from Courtland, Hedon soon recovered and kept the two-goal lead and certainly the game was never in doubt, with a clear 6-2 lead it was indeed an emotional moment as the final whistle blew.
With fizz in hand and sprayed over the players, the relief and exhilaration from all parents and managers were palpable as they cheered and rejoiced. Andy took a minute to digest and take in the ecstatic moment and the success that the team had achieved throughout the season.
With a massive thank you to all the hard work that Andy and Brett have put in over the seasons, from cold nights and dark training sessions, it was all worthwhile, seeing the lads’ faces and the best footballing team with the strongest squad win the league. The lads’ hard work, dedication, devotion and passion for the game and in particular respect for both coaches, proved to be a magical formula to help them come out on top.
Not forgetting the dedicated supporters who brought them to home and away games – it has been a truly great atmosphere and certainly a season the lads will never forget.