Syngenta Juveniles U16s finished their season playing 44 matches, with 2 defeats, 2 draws and 40 wins, which paved the way to an unbeaten league campaign and the lifting of the trophy. They secured back to back trebles with a tournament win in Blackpool also at Easter, and their mantra has been to play football the right way throughout, which has been at the heart of their success.
However the season will also be remembered for a horror double leg break to influential defensive midfielder Craig Paton who endured 30 days in hospital, having seven operations and plastic surgery.
“Up until that moment Craig had been a real anchor for us and was leading our MoM awards competion. It was an innocuous challenge but the bravery and courage that young man has shown has been incredible. As a coach you don’t expect to have to deal with that situation and along with a couple of other family bereavements in our squad for our players, it was a difficult January and February. The support for Craig however from within youth football and indeed the professional game has been unreal and we sincerely hope we can get him back on a pitch in 2018 at some stage” added Buglass. Starting off the 2016/17 season and setting new targets was always going to be difficult for Syngenta Juveniles U16s after winning the treble in 2015/16, however with new faces added the team were determined to give it their best.
A decent run the Scottish Cup and Regional Cup were very much the focus however a fourth round meeting with eventual winners Tynecastle put paid to that with a 4-1 home defeat in December.
“We were determined to show up as well as we could against Tynecastle, a side we respected. We planned accordingly for it however on reflection we probably over prepared and sacrificed our own style of play and game at home and whilst we were in the game at 1-0 down at HT, we didn’t go on second half and push them harder. That was our one real disappointment over the season, something that I’ve discussed with their coach John Daly” reflected coach Dave Buglass.
However from that point on a solid run of performances and victories saw the Grangemouth side advance to the final of the Central Region Cup final with victories over Rangers SABC, Drumsagaard and Bellshill Athletic along the way culminating in a deserved 5-1 win in the final at Ochilview over Oban Saints. On top of that the Dyes progressed to their two domestic cup finals in the Forth Valley and made it a treble header with Armadale for the league championship also.
“We played Armadale twice early in the season after they moved to Forth Valley and they were a very well drilled, organised and fit side. They ran us close but we came out on top in both games with narrow victories, so we knew at the business end of the season we’d likely be battling with them again for the silverware. A draw at Armadale gave us the advantage we needed in the league and we completed the league championship in style at Stenhousemuir. We then went head to head in two cup finals at the Falkirk Stadium and all credit to them where they took the Donnie McColl Cup 2-1, but we got our revenge the week after with a comprehensive and much improved 4-1 victory in the League Cup” said Buglass.
Plans for 2017/18 are already underway and the team will take on a new challenge by joining the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth U17s league with a few new additions already lined up.
(Craig Paton, photo courtesy of Dave Buglass)