1stXI footballers win historic Hudl League and Boodles ISFA Cup double

March 28, 2022

 

It has been an historic year for football at Bradfield as the 1stXI secured a first ever Hudl Independent Schools League title before following it up by winning the Boodles ISFA Cup, helping the College become the first school to win both competitions in the same year.

 

This year has been unbelievable; COMBINING ACADEMIC STUDIES WITH FOOTBALL, the friendships that I have made and learning how we develop on the football pitch as well as off it.

Zach (D)

 

The 1stXI were in imperious form all year, putting in a number of excellent team performances and reaching a level of football that has rarely been seen in schools’ football. The Hudl ISL pits nine of the country’s top footballing schools against each other and Bradfield’s impressive run of seven wins and one defeat was enough to secure the title. A superb final day of the season saw six teams travel to Reading FC for a triple header and Bradfield secured the win they needed, defeating third-placed Royal Russell 5-0 to top the league.

They continued that form into their Boodles ISFA Cup campaign, conceding just twice during resounding victories over Berkhamsted (6-1), Chigwell (3-0), Alleyn’s (4-1) and Hampton (4-0) as the team claimed a place in the final for the first time since winning the Cup in 2018.

The final saw Bradfield come up against Lancashire based Rossall School who had entered the competition in the preliminary rounds and it was they who started the game on the front foot, pressing effectively in midfield and working hard to create a couple of early attempts on goal. However, the game turned in the seventh minute on Bradfield’s first real attack. Captain and centre back Harry’s (C) lofted forward ball was only cleared as far as Tom (G) in midfield. Surging forward he quickly played Dylan (D) in behind the defence on the left wing and his low cross was finished from all of six yards by clinical striker Callum (H) to give Bradfield the early lead.

The boys in blue dominated the remainder of the half, doing everything but score a second. The dynamic inside forward Tom (H) had a penalty shout turned down by the referee, Tom (G) beat the keeper with a stooping header only to see the ball glance off the top of the bar and central midfielder Josh (E) rose to meet a deep in-swinging corner only to see his downwards header bounce the wrong side of the post. Bradfield went into half time with a narrow but deserved 1-0 lead.

 

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and being in this group is a good feeling and you get to experience things which you wouldn’t normally do at another school.

George (G)

 

The Senior boys picked up the second half where they left the first with the defence of George (G), Zach (D), Harry and Jacob (G) continuing to snuff out Rossall attacks while goalkeeper Sam (D) was on hand to smother a couple of through balls and save the occasional shot from range. Fifteen minutes into the second half and Bradfield had a chance to score the crucial second goal when the lively Dylan was brought down in the box following strong hold up play by Callum and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Callum who picked his spot and drilled the ball low into the keeper’s right hand corner to double Bradfield’s lead. Ten minutes later he secured his hat-trick, again from the spot, after Tom (H) was tripped as he prepared to shoot for goal. Cool, calm and collected, the Bradfield striker picked the same side and blasted the ball into the top corner putting Bradfield firmly in the driver’s seat with one hand on the coveted Boodles ISFA Cup trophy.

 

I’ve been able to dig into my vulnerability and show courage where previously I wouldn’t have been able to.

Callum (H)

 

As the game entered its final stages Archie (D), who had commanded the midfield throughout, was substituted and his replacement Ike (G) was on hand to poke home a fourth after the ball pin-balled around the box following a mazey run and shot from Dylan. The win secured Bradfield’s second Boodles ISFA Cup triumph, having secured their first in their most recent final appearance in 2018.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this historic achievement.

 

It’s not just about our time here. What I am learning now will shape who I am for the rest of my life.

Harry (C)