LAST weekend, after a year of hard fundraising, the 18-strong Formartine United ’96 (Under 15’s) squad headed off to Holland to compete in two Dutch tournaments, accompanied by coach Gary Smith and a few brave parents.
On the way to the beach resort of Scheveningen, where the team were staying, the boys stopped off in past Ajax Amsterdam Arena where they were given a guided tour around the stadium.
The following day saw the boys heading off for a well deserved team-building session at the impressive Walibi World Theme park with its stomach churning rollercoasters, go-karting and water rides! Everyone had a great day with all the rides conquered and a fair bit of team spirit instilled.
On the Saturday, the team headed for the first of the tournaments in Capelle, close to Rotterdam. The Capelle set-up was excellent with the well publicised Dutch facilities being put to good use. Two full-sized high quality astroturf pitches sat alongside the Capelle full-sized grass pitch.
A number of tournaments were running at the same time with a mixture of age groups taking part. The Formartine boys were in a league of 5 teams - ASWH, Victoria, FC Gravensvand and the hosts, v v Capelle. Formartine kicked off their tournament with an impressive 3-0 win against FC Gravensvand – a double from captain Grant Dawson and one from Cameron Burr saw the Formartine boys get off to a great start. The whole team worked hard and pressed FC Gravensvand from the off, limiting the opposition to very few chances.
Formartine were brought down to earth with a bump in the second game with a thumping 6-0 defeat from the eventual group winners ASWH. The ASWH team were well organised, physically stronger, and played an impressive passing game that saw them run out worthy winners.
In the third game, Formartine had to pick themselves up and attempt to restore some pride with a run out against the hosts, v v Capelle. The two teams were fairly well matched and both created several chances. Formartine keeper, Aiden Peck, pulled off a good save to keep it at 0-0 but eventually the Capelle team found a way through and went 1-0 up.
Formartine continued to press for an equaliser but Capelle scored again and the game finished 2-0.
In the final game of the day, Formartine took on Victoria and it was clear from the start that Formartine were determined to finish the day off on a high. Good work by Ryan Smart saw his shot unfortunately cleared off the line by his own team mate Ross Forrest. Two minutes later, Ryan Stewart eventually made the breakthrough with a well taken goal to make it 1-0. With one minute to go, Victoria were awarded a rather dubious free kick which they scored from. The final whistle blew and the game finished 1-1.
Overall, the Formartine boys finished 4th in the group. Their heads were down but they had to pick themselves up as they had it all to do again the next day!
Sunday saw the boys head for Appledoorn in the east of the Netherlands. This time the hosts were ABS. Formartine were in a league of 4 teams with ABS, Diepenveen and Apeldoornse Boys.
First up for Formartine were Diepenveen. Formartine started really well and were immediately on the attack with Reece Hutcheon testing the keeper from distance but his shot was well saved. Formartine took the lead through Cameron Burr who got on the end of an Eric Buchan corner.
In the second half Formartine continued to play some good football and had a goal chalked off for being offside. Grant Dawson then got on the end of a Ryan Smart free kick to nod the ball in and make it 2-0 to Formartine. Diepenveen finished strongly and scored a late consolation goal just as the final whistle went and the game finished 2-1 to Formartine – a well deserved 3 points were in the bag.
Next up for Formartine were the hosts, ABS, who had looked impressive in their first game. This was to be a bit of a tester for the Formartine boys. The team was rotated to ensure all the boys took part and contributed to the tournament. ABS were immediately on the attack with good defending by Gregor Allan keeping the hosts out. ABS then hit the bar with a shot from just outside the box and Formartine were just hanging on. After picking up an injury, Andrew Manson was replaced by Ryan Smith who had looked very comfortable over the weekend in an unfamiliar position in the centre of defence. ABS then took the lead with a well-taken goal and Formartine now had it all to do if they were to take anything from the weekend.
Formartine were awarded a penalty after Eric Buchan was manhandled and brought down in the box and it was time for a cool head. The responsibility fell to the captain and up stepped Grant Dawson to tuck the ball away and level things for Formartine. ABS pressed again and a fantastic double save by keeper Euan Main kept the Formartine boys in the tournament. ABS then had a player sin- binned for descent and Liam Grant fired the free kick just over the bar from distance. At half-time, keeper Euan Main had to be replaced due to a shoulder injury he picked up during his fantastic double save. The second half continued in much the same way as the first with good play by both sides but there were no more goals and it finished 1-1.
The final game of the day was against Appledoorne Boys and Formartine knew that a win would see them return home with the silverware. More changes were made and Formartine kicked off and pressed from the start. Formartine won a free kick which was taken by Liam Grant who scored direct from the kick, only for the referee to disallow the goal for a foul on the keeper. Ryan Smart then saw a shot from just outside the box fly high and wide.
Formartine finally made the breakthrough and it was the captain again as Grant Dawson knocked the ball in from a well-taken Eric Buchan corner. Formartine were determined to wrap up the points and were working really hard all over the pitch. The whistle went and the first half finished 1-0. The second half got underway and Eric Buchan soon made it 2-0 with a well taken goal. The boys were growing in confidence and more goals were to follow, one from Ryan Smart who headed in from corner and the final goal from Ross Forrest who nodded in after Jake Stewart had hit the bar. The final whistle went and it was 4-0 to Formartine and the boys celebrated in style.
The final day in Holland was spent letting off steam at “Race Planet” in Delft where the boys raced each other around a fantastic track on 4 floors showing that football wasn’t their only skill!
All-in-all, the Formartine Boys contributed to an excellent weekend’s football and were rewarded for their hard work with some silverware. They were a credit to themselves, their parents and Aberdeenshire. Well done boys!