Middleton Rangers JFC Another teams wins TOP HONOURS U10's B Champions of European Competion It was the end of the season and Middleton Rangers Under 10's B Team were entered into the Amsterdam Cup, with Teams from Spain, Germany, England and Holland. A total of 20 teams over the course of 2 days were to do battle for the title of Champions of Europe. All matches were to be played at the Olympia Harlem on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Holland, and Rangers flew out the day before to climartise themselves prior to the first match. All games were to be played on perfect 3G astro turf pitches so the conditions were perfect for the flowing passing game that the Team has played all season. It was saturday morning 9am, the first match was underway, Rangers looked nervious, was the event and the surounding going to over ord them ? Rangers were getting it together with some passing starting to show, but the game was only 15mins long so they had to start and get into top gear ASAP. The opposition from Holland VVZ Zaandam were defending well and Rangers could not break them down, it was a poor start by Rangers as the game finished 0 - 0.

The second league game was against a fellow English team from Kingshurst Sporting Club. Kingshurst started the match very well with early pressure and closing down from the word go, this was summerised with a corner that was sweetly crossed and side footed into the back of the net. Rangers were under pressure and needed to show the determination and tallent that was required for them to succeed. This was the challenge that Rangers needed to spark them into action, they raised there game, started to close down and run down every ball and this hard worked proved off with a fantastic sweetly struck left footed shot from Lewis Rees to Spark the fire of determination, the game ended 1 - 0 and Rangers were still unbeaten. The next challenge was to be against another Dutch team HVV DSK E2, Rangers were fired up and gaining with confidence as each game went by, the match was underway and within 30 seconds the opening goal was slotted away by Kieron Cormack, this was Kierons first trip abroad and what a way top start his european adventure. The match was one way all the at the Dutch team, the scored was stretched with Max Tennant Running through for 2 - 0, Next came a great poachers goal from Lewis Macdonald, then came another from Kieron, followed with another from Lewis M, Davy Parker came on half way though the match to stretch the lead followed by a great cross field pass from Callum Bates setting up Max tennant for his second. Next came a lovely finished from Caleb Padurariu and the game was sealed with a third and hatrick for Max Tennant. Final score 9 - 0, Rangers were on the charge.

The final game of the first day was against Sporting Martinus from Holland, Rangers were tied and the temperature was hotting up on and off the pitch. Pitch conditions were into the 80's and hopefully the stamina of Rangers was going to be the telling difference. The match was up and running, both were quick to the ball and strong to the challenge, Rangers were getting use to the strong physical european game but they were also teaching the European teams how to close down quickly and get the hard tackle in. The game continued but it was Rangrs who got the break through with a storming run from Kerion Cormack and this was the only goal of the match and sealed the victory. So at the end of Day one Rangers had won their group unbeaten with 8 points.

For the second day of the tournament the first and second place teams go into two leagues with play for the A league, so Rangers were going to have a much bigger challenge and it was going to be against teams from Holland, Spain and England.

The Dutch were the first challenge SV Hoofddorp e2, Rangers were on a high from the previous day and eager to get up and running and continue in the same way they finished, but they were also playing much stronger teams. The match was underway with the sound of the whistle and Rangers were straight on the attack, closing down like they were possessed,they wanted this and were not going to let anyone get in their way. With some lovely flowing passing football the lead was taken with a Great strike from Captain Nathan Stephenson, he was starting the team on the right footing with lots of pressure and tenacity, the team was strong, skillfull and superb. Next came a great finish by Davy Parker slotting home the second, Next came a Lewis Rees powerdriver for the third, this was followed buy the quick feet of lewis Macdonald to slot home the next, Davy Parker was firing on all 4 cylinders and notched up his second for the day and the match was sealed as it begun with a strike from Nathan into the back of the net. Next for Rangers were the Spanish team of U E Alcudia, who liked many teams had travelled a long way and wanted the trophy as champions of Europe. The match was off and running and a crunching tackle from Nathan Stephenson set the tone for the rest of the game, all the team were passing and moving against a very skillfull spanish team, Rangers were looking strong but had to beware of the quick counter attacking football that we had seen being played earlier on in the day. Rangers were holding strong at the back with Alexander Nelson proving un passable, the dead lock was broken with another long range sweetly struck shot from Nathan Stephenson, Rangers were in the lead and wanted it more, Alcudia were trying to be physical but Rangers were learning how to used their broad shoulders to great use. The game ended 1 - 0 and rangers were on a high, could this be the day. The Third match was upon the team with seemingly no time in between but Rangers quickly got ready and into their stride of pressing and putting the pressure on the opposition. The game was close but Rangers never looked in danger with the solid defence of Alex Cox and Callum Bates holding strong, The only goal of the game came from a beautifully struck shot from Nathan Stephenson to sealed three wins on the trot. The final challenge for league stages was to come from a fellow English traveller's Princes Villa. Rangers were still looking strong and ready to take on any challenge put to them, the game soon swung Rangers way as Kieron Cormack went on a lightening run to slot the ball skillfully past the keeper, the next followed again from Kieron and this would make four wins on the bounce, the games was sealed with a massive long range shot from Alex Cox which glided into the top of the net. Rangers were unbeaten so far and now qualified for the Final as A group winners.

The Dutch were to be the opposition. 15 minutes stood between Rangers and the Title of the Season. The Dutch looked huge to Rangers with some of our players giving away a foot in height to this strong fast team.

Could Rangers stand up to this challenge. The Final was underway, the Dutch were trying to use their strength but the advise to Rangers was for them to use their skill and passing flowing football, this they were doing and started to take control of the game. There were some close moments which brought some quick responses from Andrew Macnab in goal but nothing to trouble this on form keeper. The opening was to come after 5 minutes and it was with grit and determination that Nathan Stephenson drove through the middle and struck the perfect shot into the top right of the goal, his face told the answer to the shot as soon as it left his foot, it was 1 - 0, Rangers were rampant, they were passing the bigger team off the pitch, Max tennant and Lewis Rees were linking up with easy, likewise with Lewis Macdonald and Alexander Nelson. With some quick footwork and a twisting run Nathan Sealed the game with a thunder bolt from left foot, this was it Rangers just had to hold out.

This final whistle went and all of the 20 parents and family (including banner holder Bethany Stephenson pictured with the winning team) went were on the pitch congratulating the losing team as well as the Amsterdam European Cup Champions. MIDDLETON RANGERS.

What a fantastic end to a great season for all the team, a great squad of players (Callum Bates, Alexander Neslson, Alex Cox, Caleb Padurariu, Lewis Rees, Andrew Macnab, Lewis Macdonald, Max Tennant, Davy Parker, Kieron Cormack, and Finally Captain Nathan Stephenson) along with the Managment team of Head Coach Tony Cox, Lee Stephenson, Gareth Rees and Mark Macdonald. England had won one European tournament, hopefully this will make up for the national team, but if they want to give us a call we will see if we can fit them in.

Finally a great thanks to our sponsors Jackson and Copeland along with BMS, and the club of Middleton Rangers for their support over the last 12 months. Middleton Rangers are going from strength to strength, growing in both size and talent with some great players at all ages. A superb football club with some very proud parents and grand parents and friends.