BJFF Vipers v YMCA Orange: Blackpool and District Youth League season up and running
Youth football is under way again around the Fylde coast, just 10 weeks after the 2020/21 season finished.
In the Blackpool and District Youth League, that means the introduction of a new under-9s league, in which last season’s U8s step up to seven-a-side football for the first time.
We kicked off another season of Gazette matches of the week with a thrilling encounter from that new competition at Bispham Gala Field, where BJFF Vipers welcomed YMCA Orange.
As with the younger age groups, the scores and scorers are not being publicised in this competition to keep the focus on development and enjoyment.
It’s also about adapting to bigger pitches and to teams containing two more players.
Vipers manager Craig Haydon told the Gazette: “It was a nice competitive game to come back with after a quick turnaround – it feels as though we haven’t stopped this summer.
“Despite the larger pitches there seems less space with more players on the field. The games are longer too, so it will make everybody fitter.
“The dynamics are different with two extra outfield players, but it’s still all about enjoyment and making the most of players’ strengths.”
YMCA assistant boss Tim Rawcliffe added: “It was a really close game. Both keepers were kept busy and made some excellent saves.
“There were also some great tackling and a lot of running with the ball, which we try to encourage in team-talks.
“There were some really well-worked goals, with intricate passing and really good football decisions.
“It was pleasing to see the players discuss the game on the pitch, solve problems for themselves and be rewarded for their teamwork.
“We don’t have set positions for players at this age. We think they should be given the opportunity to try all positions and they took to them excellently. It was great to see how quickly they adapted with each substitution.”
Harry Taylor pipped Isaac Manning for the Vipers’ player of the match award, getting up and down the field throughout, helping teammates and scoring himself.
A similar contribution saw Ronnie Whitehouse named star player for the Orange as Rawcliffe explained: “The award could have gone to a number of players but Ronnie defended brilliantly and created many goalscoring opportunities, besides scoring one himself.”
The league thanks the clubs and their many volunteers for their hard work to ensure the competition could recommence so quickly and smoothly.
There were plenty of new teams in action as the U8 league also got under way, while the return of the U18s provides a bridge to the adult game and helps to keep players in football.
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