Hamrun Spartans FC Youth Nursery ended their commitments at the Welsh International Super Cup by winning two finals when participating with squads from the 1995 and 2000 categories. The contingent left for Wales on Saturday 24 July 2010 and returned to Malta on 31 July 2010.
The contingent was led by club officials Noel Debattista and Martin Bugeja, whilst Stefan Sultana, Paul Massa and James Cutajar were the coaches accompanying the players.
The experience for the Class E (1995) in the Welsh Super Cup under the guidance of Stefan Sultana was a very positive one. Considering that the squad consisted of boys born in 1995, together with others born in 1997, one must conclude that results obtained could not have been better. Competing abroad against same aged teams is not easy, therefore competing against boys who are one year, or in some cases, more than a year older, is no mean feat.
After a tough start, in which the U/15s suffered 3 defeats and a win from the first 4 matches, the team managed to rise to the occasion and ended the tournament on a high, winning the next two games against tough opponents and managed to qualify for the Challenge Cup final against Penparcau Magic (equivalent to a final for the 3rd and 4th place). Here, the Hamrun team had to face the team against which it had already been beaten 4-2 in the group stages.
The game did not look like going in the right direction for Hamrun, having ended the first half 1-3 down, after conceding 2 penalties. However, the lads showed great character, raised their game and managed to equalize midway through the second half. In a dramatic finale, Hamrun managed to go into the lead in injury time. However, an incredible third penalty was awarded to Penparcau Magic, which however was brilliantly saved by the Hamrun keeper. Hamrun emerged victorious with a final score of 4-3 and declared winners of the Challenge Cup.
The category Class J (2000) under the guidance of James Cutajar and Paul Massa won their final against Celtiaid with a 2-0 scoreline. One should also mention that Celtiaid won against Hamrun 4-0 in the group stage. The game was played under heavy rain but the boys in red still managed to win despite the circumstances. As in Class E, Hamrun played also against older boys but the kids’ performance was solid especially in the last three games. Though coming from a small island, the kids showed that with some more effort Hamrun could have made it even further. In this tournament, no winners were declared for categories Classes I, J, K and L (from 2001 to 1998), calling the final matches Red, Green and Blue matches.
It was an excellent adventure for the Hamrun Spartans boys. They not only made their Nursery proud on the pitch, but also off the pitch with their exemplary behaviour. The level of maturity showed by the lads encourages the nursery to take part in similar tournaments, knowing that, whatever the results, they will always walk out of the pitch with heads held high. They did not get demoralised with some early tough results, but reacted very positively and managed to end in a crescendo. In experiences like this, one should not only look for the football benefits, but also at other aspects which contribute to the whole development of the players. And their respective coaches are sure the Welsh Super Cup 2010 will remain in their memories for a very long time.
The nursery is pleased of its success in the Wales International Super Cup, an event in which Steven Gerrard, Tomas Rosicky, Andriy Shevchenko, Owen Hargreaves, Michael Owen and Shay Given had previously participated. .
The group also had the opportunity to visit Old Trafford Stadium and Museum tour and took the spectacular Vale of Rheidol Railway tour.
Photos of the Wales trip can be viewed on the nursery’s website on www.hamrunnursery.com