Little League Impress at Singapore Champions Cup
Something of a home tournament for Turf City FC, the Singapore Champions Cup on the weekend of 20th to 21st May 2017 was a big target for coaches, players and parents alike. Held at The Premier Pitch at Turf City, the event offered competition across four age groups, from Under-7s to Under-13s.
Playing under cover on the indoor pitches, the Under-7s had interests in Groups B and C, with both TCFA Black and TCFA White looking for places in Sunday’s Cup competition. After some close contests both teams passed the first test, qualifying top of their respective groups and securing places in the Cup/Plate championship stages.
Three more group matches at this point of the competition would determine whether or not the teams qualified for the Cup trophy in the knockout stages – not an easy task against the Champions Cup’s strong competition. Sadly it wasn’t to be for either side as they both took third place in their groups, seeing them seeded instead in the Plate semi-finals.
Nevertheless, with a trophy on the line there was still all to play for, and both teams rallied to set up an all Turf City Plate final. It was TCFA White vs TCFA Black, with the former eventually coming out on top with a deserved 2–0 victory.
Perfect record for pin-point 9s
Coming off an exceptional season that saw the boys take top honours at the Padang 7s, a lot was expected of the TCFC Under-9s at the Champions Cup. Not that you’d have noticed as they cruised to a comfortable 4–0 win in the opening tie that set the tone for a phenomenal weekend on home turf. The Whites topped their table with 9 points to advance to the Cup/Plate group.
From there the form continued, and while the less experienced TCFC Black side played out the remainder of the competition in the Shield, the Whites picked up another perfect record in the championship stages to secure their spot in the Cup semi-final against a solid GFA Japan team.
Like all who’d come up against the home side though, GFA failed to penetrate, and TCFC picked up a 2–0 win to put them into the final against ESA. And, as was to be expected by this stage of the tournament, it was another clean sheet for the Whites as they claimed the trophy with a convincing 3–0 final win. Eight matches, 26 goals and none conceded – quite a record for the unstoppable 9s!
No luck for battling 11s
A big age-group for Turf City, the club entered three teams into the Under-11 competition – TCFC, TCFA and the younger TCFC 07s. Separated at the group stages, the sides had their individual fights for places in the Cup/Plate groups. Winners and runners-up would progress, while the 3rd and 4th place teams would go into the Bowl/Shield competitions. There was mixed fortune from the beginning for TCFC as 9 points for the first team put them into the Cup group while the other two teams had to settle for the Bowl and Shield.
Fourth place in Group C for TCFA and third in Group D for TCFC 07 meant they would face off in the Championship stages for a chance to play for the Bowl trophy. A close encounter in the head to head game was an indicator of the stronger side though, and as TCFC 07 played to a solid runners-up position in the Bowl, it was second place in the Shield for TCFA.
In the Cup/Plate group, meanwhile, things seemed to be falling into place for TCFC as another 9 points set up a semi-final tie with JSSL. With form on their side everything seemed to point to a TCFC win, but it was heartbreak as the opponents pipped the home team with a 1–0 win. Though TCFC went on to win the 3rd/4th playoff, it was with a definite feeling of what could have been that they collected their third place medals.
Dramatic finale for triumphant 13s
Having seen their junior teammates lift trophies in the Under-7 and Under-9 competitions, there was plenty of motivation among the U13s to get their hands on the Champions Cup’s top prize. With two teams entered, Turf City were confident of success, and TCFC White got things off to the ideal start with a maximum 9 points and an impressive 12 goals scored in the group stages. And while TCFC Black dropped to 4th place in their group, there were still plenty of positives to be taken from what had been a highly competitive opening stage.
“Playoffs were decided on penalties before the finals took place under darkening, rain-filled skies lit dramatically by Premier Pitch’s outdoor floodlights.”
Onto the championship fixtures and fortunes appeared to have switched. While TCFC Black proved they’d be tough to beat in the Bowl competition, the Whites dropped their first points of the tournament against GFA Japan. It didn’t take them long to get their challenge back on track on day 2 however, as a win and a draw put them into the Cup semi-finals against Anza. TCFC Black continued their good form to top their group and also secure a semi-final place in the Bowl.
From there, the drama at the 2017 Champions Cup came thick and fast, with threatening thunder and lightning putting the completion of the tournament in doubt. Teams were called off the pitches for a weather break that would eventually see some games decided on penalties before the finals took place under darkening, rain-filled skies lit dramatically by Premier Pitch’s outdoor floodlights.
Though TCFC Black had fallen at the semi-finals then won the 3rd/4th penalty shootout, TCFC White edged out Anza to set up a thrilling final with the JSSL team they’d drawn against earlier in the day. The tension was incredible as spectators, players, parents and coaches crowded around Pitch 1 to see the rival teams go head to head. But the boys brilliantly held their nerve to claim the trophy they so desperately wanted to lift and to seal a victory they won’t soon forget.
For more from the Singapore Champions Cup, including full results, tables and galleries, visit the official tournament website below.