RAF Halton Football season 12/13

This season saw a mixed bag of results for the Station Football Team, from the highs of beating Brize Norton 1st Team, to the lows of an away drubbing by RAF Odiham.

The team plays in the RAF London League Premier Division against seven other Service teams. They also had the opportunity to compete in the RAF Cup, the League Cup and the Festival of Football 5-a-side competition in Derby.

The team struggled to field a constant eleven players each week, often having to rely on SATT personnel to supplement the core seven or eight that turned up for each fixture. The team started off very promisingly by winning three and drawing one of the first five League games. However the start of New Year coincided with a string of bad results in the League, which saw the team lose five on the bounce. This led to a nail biting final four games of the season, where the team required as many points as possible to stave ofF relegation.

The first of the four games was an away game against RAF Benson. However this was cancelled last minute as the opposition couldn’t field a team, which gave the team 3 points. This proved to be the catalyst the team needed to push on, as the team won the following away game at Northwood HQ. Due to the bad weather a number of games were postponed, so the League made a decision that RAF Halton’s final two games (which were both against RAF Brize Norton 1st team) would be played in a one-off double header. RAF Brize Norton had already comprehensively won the league winning twelve out of twelve games played. The Station team had a big challenge ahead to get the one point required to remain in the League. The away team took an early lead and controlled most of the game in the first half. However the second half saw a rejuvenated RAF Halton side that out battled and out played RAF Brize Norton to come out 2-1 winners and gain six points for the league standings. This victory saw the team finish a respectable fourth position.

The Cup competitions provided the Station team with a lot of success throughout the season. Although they had an early exit from the League Cup, losing to RAF Benson they faired a lot better in the RAF Cup competition.

The team were drawn against DMRC Headley Court, MOD Boscombe Down and LATCC in the RAF Cup group stage. After a good return of two wins and one draw RAF Halton qualified for the quarter final of the Cup on goal difference. This saw the Station team draw a difficult away tie at RAF Leeming. After a long drive up to RAF Leeming, the team produced a spirited display but were beaten 4-1 by a much better RAF Leeming team.

The final competition of the year was the annual RAF Festival of Football 5 a-side tournament at Derby Soccerdome. This year the teams were split into 6 groups each group containing 6 teams. RAF Halton had a slow start to the competition and ended up finishing third in the group which qualified them for the plate competition. The team found their form and victories against RAF Digby, RAF Wyton and RAF Lossiemouth saw us qualify for the final, where we would face RAF Brize Norton B team. A large following of supporters for the opposition team and only RAF Halton’s Station Commander, Group Captain Harper flying the flag for the Station team made the Brize team pre-match favourites. This was reinforced when the Brize team took the lead 1-0, however again RAF Halton’s team displayed great character to battle back and seal a 2-1 victory and claim the Plate title.

Cpl Greg McHale