Cougars under 7s Royals kicked off against Stevenage Borough Lightning just as the winter sun burned away the morning fog on Saturday. It was a lively start with both sides keen to take the lead. A very spirited Buntingford side created some lovely moves with James Willis who pushed forward and made some chances. Jack Nicholas also worked hard to make space whilst Johnny Nicholas defended well to stop the opposition. Later in the game Kyson Man and Jack Nicholas worked well together in a nice move that saw Nicholas find the back of the net. After the strike James Willis continued to create chances with a number of confident runs down the left had side and he almost found the target but it narrowly missed past the post, Ben Gower also came close following Willis corner. During the second half Henry McAllister frequently made runs through the middle to trouble Stevenage and there was a number of chances for Cougars including a good run by Kyson Man and some neat combination play from Henry McAllister and James Willis. At the back for Buntingford Jack Watkins stood firm in defence and in goal Jake Cole made a number of talented saves. After the game Boss On Man told Sky Sports News ” Cougars Royals today worked really well together and stayed focused to the end.”
Buntingford Cougars Under7’s Stripes travelled to play on the 3G carpet at The Valleys to face Stevenage Boro Thunders. The home side in their traditional red and black started the stronger but were thwarted in their attempts to score early by Tyler Cole in goal who was faultless and Sebbie Ivison who made crucial tackles and played some searching passes toward Thomas Deane and Noah Benton in attack. Gradually Cougars got a foothold in the game with Benton playing some intelligent passes. Coach Craig Ivison introduced Rubi Pryke and Thomas Deane to the fray and Cougars soon had their first shot on target from Benton. At the back Finley (The Rock) Steadman was looking sturdy and Pryke was winning everything. After the interval and some personnel changes a well defended Stevenage Corner saw Deane collect the ball and outrun everyone all the way to Stevenage’s penalty area where he fired low into the net. The triumphant scorer was soon replaced by Ivison to sure things up as Stevenage were once again looking very dangerous. Man of the match went to Rubi Pryke who played his best ever game for Cougars. After the game Coach Craig Ivision told BT Sports “It was an even and enjoyable game where all the players gave their best, it was played in good spirit by both sides.”
Buntingford Cougars U11’s Blues travelled to Baldock for the quarter final of the league cup against Letchworth on Sunday. The hosts got off to a great start by scoring but soon after shots from Dexter Cumberland and Stan Gurney went close before Stan Wennington scored the equaliser. Jack Hedge, Sam Miles, Sam Maley and Rocco Douglas were solid in defence and Freddie Bentley made some strong runs to keep Cougars on the front foot. Cougars conceded again when an unpredictable bounce caught out goalkeeper Ethan Vater but Cougars kept pressing and hit the crossbar, had shots go narrowly wide and then with goals from Olly Baker and Ben Maley bought the score level again. However it was not meant to be for Buntingford as in the dying seconds of the match Letchworth scored the winner.
For Cougars U10s Whites it was a closely fought encounter at Bedwell. The match started lively with Buntingford enjoying lots of possession and a goal for the ever energetic Bear Coates. After pushing for a second Bedwell equalised and it changed the game. Tiredness at the end of the first half then let Bedwell in to score again before Cougars got going again in the second half. Cougars scored again courtesy of a goal by the busy Jacob Robini-Brand. Man of the Match went to Lewie Sullivan on his away debut as he was an absolute rock in defence. Cougars match reporter Michelle Home told BBC’s Gary Lineker “We couldn’t fault any players efforts but special mentions go to Jacob Robini-Brand for another great performance. Isla Eveleigh may also have found a new position on the wing as she was great running with the ball and beating defenders today. “
Cougars under 8 Blues took on Baldock in their first game this year in perfect footballing conditions. The game started well for both teams with inspired goalkeeping from Cougars Lui Lo Conte and a great defensive display from both teams in the early stages to keep the score even. The breakthrough came as a through ball found the ever reliable Rylee Kitteringham who slotted home to put Cougars in front. Within minutes the same player doubled his tally to put Cougars in the lead at half time. The second half saw Baldock score two quick goals to even the score line before Gaffer Luke Fone rallied the troops which saw some great moves before a bullet-like strike from Dan Fone to put Cougars ahead again. Kitteringham scored again to complete his hat trick. It was a great team performance from Cougars with some great opponents. Dan Fone won the man of the match accolade.
Buntingford’s under 12s won their third consecutive match at Wymondley Park. The Hitchin based side went ahead after ten minutes only to be pulled back as George Godfrey slotted home from a tight angle. In the second half Cougars stepped up a gear and on 40 minutes went two – one up courtesy of a screamer from the in form Charlie Fountain. Nathan Anderson then added a third before Jack Lally slotted home with his right foot to make it a flattering four – one score line. Manager Richard Daly said afterwards “It was a good performance overall but particularly pleasing was the way the guys kept patient even when things weren’t going our way”