In the summer of 2015, Starjammer was given the privilege of sponsoring Havant and Waterlooville Youth Football Club’s Under 13 Saturday Squad. The team have had a fantastic season to date, having won 10 out of their 13 games. The team, coached by Daniel Mengham has gone from strength to strength over the last few months, and have rapidly consolidated their position in the Mid Solent Youth Football League.
Daniel has been their coach for 3 years, although the team was originally founded back in 1963. Based at the Front Lawn Recreation Ground in Leigh Park, Havant, the team have gone from strength to strength in the past few months. We had a chat with him earlier in the week to catch up with him as the squad edges closer to the final of the Hants Cup.
So Dan, how did you become involved with the team?
“My son joined the team back in 2012, and the team manager needed an assistant. I was already running a Sunday side with another club so I offered to help with the Saturday side. I took over the team at the start of the 2013/14 season and have been with them ever since. We have had some great successes in that time winning the league twice and also winning the cup. It’s something I really enjoy doing…having an understanding wife also helps!”
Tell us more about the club.
“Havant and Waterlooville Youth FC was Founded in 1963 as ‘Leigh Park United’, with its headquarters located at Leigh Park Community Centre and home ground at Front Lawn Playing fields in Leigh Park. In 1994 the club changed its name to ‘Havant Town Boys’ and moved headquarters to West Leigh Park. In 1999 the club again changed its name this time to ‘Havant and Waterlooville Youth FC’ following the merger with Waterlooville FC. Today the club runs teams from under 7’s to under 16’s and also has a county youth side. We also run a mini soccer school for those age 4 and above. In total, the club has over 250 players!
The club pride themselves on offering affordable football for all. This is only achieved by lots of fundraising, and also through the generous help of our sponsors which include Starjammer, Aroma, Harmonised Construction Management and Roofline. Without the help of sponsors the club wouldn’t function. It is run by a fantastic group of volunteers all of whom do it free of charge. It’s important for the club to keep football affordable and fun.”
What have been the highlights of this season?
“The season so far has been a good one, we had to start re-building at the end of last season as we moved from 9 v 9 to 11-a-side. We also have added 6 new players to the Under 13 Saturday side, so we had a bit of gelling to do. We enjoyed a good pre-season which ended with the boys winning the BTC Southampton 11-a-side tournament beating a local district side in the final.
We have had our highs and lows like any other season but the boys have bounced back when they have had to, and have shown fantastic character. Football is all about bouncing back, if things don’t go your way, you dig in together and pull through as a team, something I’m proud to say these boys do. They are 12 and 13 years old, and amaze me with the things they can do. I’m extremely proud to be coaching them and I’m certain they’ll all achieve great things.
We currently find ourselves in the last 4 of the Hampshire Cup a competition that started with 60 teams – a great achievement in itself. We have had some great results, scored some fantastic goals and achieved some fantastic things as a team.
The highlight of the season so far has to be our games against last year’s Hampshire Cup winners Gosport. We lost 3-2 in the league, only to play them again the following week in the Cup and come out as 8-3 winners. It is the best performance I have seen from the boys and they deserve all the praise they get.”
We here at The Bulletin will be following the exploits of the team very carefully, and will be bringing you match reports as and when we get them.
Saturday 5th September: First game of the 2015/16 League Season for the squad against Vectis Youth from the Isle of Wight, who finished as runners up in the Isle Of Wight Youth League last season with a +95 goal advantage. The squad, fresh with new players including George Quirke, Brandon Udy, Blake Woolmer and Josh Thair, had a good first half, going 3-0 up with goals from Udy and Woolmer. They dazzled in the second half of the game, when Jude Blake added a fourth goal; Callum Bennett then scored two goals in rapid succession. To finish off, Quirke finalised his hat trick. A great start to the season with a stunning 9-0 win.
Saturday 19th September: A hard and bitterly fought game against Waltham Wolves with the squad’s only goal scored by Blake Woolmer in the first half of the match. The second half was fought valiantly, however the team ended up losing 5-1.
Saturday 26th September: AFC Porchester were the opposition in todays game. With the score at 0-0 by half-time, as with the last match several opportunities were missed. Things improved in the second half when, with two fantastic Brandon corners, Sonny Harnett-Balkwill came to the fore by scoring twice. George Quirke’s third goal gave the team much needed impetus – Blake Woolmer topped off the score with a blinding goal to make it 4-0 at full time.
Saturday 3rd October: The teams first in their brand new Starjammer kit in an away game with Whiteley. A stunning match with Sonny Harnett-Balkwill, Callum Bennett scoring goals, and doubles from both Michael Baker and Blake Woolmer even though the team were two men. The final score was an overwhelming 6-1 win for the squad.
Saturday 10th October: For the second round of the Hants Cup, the boys were playing Crofton Saints. Another incredible match with goals scored by Jude Blake, Daniel Mason, George Quirke, a double goal tally by Taylor Britcher, with two hat tricks from Michael Baker and Blake Woolmer. An incredible 11-0 win.
Saturday 17th October: Up against a very strong team, Gosport. Not the team’s best match as they endured their first defeat of 3-2 after an incredible run of victories.
Saturday 24th October: Up against last weeks’ nemesis Gosport in the next stage of the Hants Cup. Determination after the previous weeks’ defeat saw bravura performances and a redeeming 8-3 win. Overall, a fantastic team performance by the boys. Goals were scored by Brandon Udy, Blake Woolmer, Taylor Britcher, Callum Bennett, Sonny Harnett-Balkwill, Jacob Woods, and a double from George Quirke.
Saturday 31st October: AFC Porchester were the opposition today. Another 11-0 win for the squad with goals from Brandon Udy, a successful free kick taken by Jude Blake, a further two goals each scored by Taylor Britcher and George Quirke, but man of the match had to be Sonny Harnett-Balkwill who scored no less than five goals.
Saturday 14th November: The team are now in the last 16 of the Hants Cup in an away game to MFC Popley. Havant pushed hard to gain 3-0 lead, enforced with goals by George Quirke, Jacob Woods and Sonny Harnett-Balkwill. Popley managed to claw back one goal in the early part of the second half making the score 3-1. Taylor Britcher put the cherry on the top when he took a screamer, making it 4-1 – Popley, even more determined, scored twice making it 4-3. The team saw out the 7 minutes of stoppage time, and are now into the last 8.
Saturday 5th December: Following a three week break, the team were up against old adversaries AFC Porchester. Tough weather and pitch conditions demanded a more physical game than usual. Even so, the boys achieved a deserved 5-0 win with goals from Jacob Woods, Brandon Udy, Blake Woolmer, and a double from Sonny Harnett-Balkwill. Into the quarter finals.
Saturday 12th December: Hampshire Cup Quarter Final today against Hawley Youth FC, which got off to an excellent start. The game saw the side take the lead after just 57 seconds with a great Sonny Harnett-Balkwill goal. Jude Blake added another with dogged determination to first win the ball and then a good goal. Sonny got his second of the game with a faultless header from the corner, making it 3-0 at half time. Harry Fox scored his first for the club after half time with a really instinctive finish, before Brandon Udy scored twice. Michael Baker made the seventh and Blake Woolmer completed the score making it a gobsmacking 8-0 win, in spite of the incredible efforts of Hawley’s goalkeeper much to Archie Drury’s chagrin. Into the last four…watch this space.
Follow Havant and Waterlooville Youth Football Club’s Under 13 Saturday Squad on their website or on their Facebook page.