Raiders Blues clinch the title

Back row, from left: manager Darren Heneghan, Liam French, Gabe Millson, Paddy Read, Will Smooker, Luke Mathison, Reece Marchant, Finnlee Ferguson, Oscar Lenane, assistant manager James Marchant. Front row: Tom Foley, Ryan Colmer, Kian Heneghan, Jude James, Jack Heginbottom, Oli Sharpling, Ollie Pitblado and Ed Stubbs
Back row, from left: manager Darren Heneghan, Liam French, Gabe Millson, Paddy Read, Will Smooker, Luke Mathison, Reece Marchant, Finnlee Ferguson, Oscar Lenane, assistant manager James Marchant. Front row: Tom Foley, Ryan Colmer, Kian Heneghan, Jude James, Jack Heginbottom, Oli Sharpling, Ollie Pitblado and Ed Stubbs

Berkhamsted Raiders Blues have been crowned champions of the South Bucks Under-13s Division Three.

With second-placed Harefield United losing both their last two league games and Raiders’ opponents conceding their final league game to them, the Blues ended up winning the league by a comfortable four-point margin.

There is no doubt at all that the Raiders are very worthy champions as they ended the season with the most wins (16), fewest defeats (one), scored the most goals (88) and conceded the least (19).

In fact, they were unbeaten in the league since late September, a 16-game streak during which they scooped an incredible 44 points from a possible 48.

Raiders actually started the season relatively 
slowly and won only two 
of their opening four league games as they had a number of new players settling in, 
and also had to juggle a 
series of cup ties as well.

However, either side of Christmas, the Blues really clicked, winning five consecutive league games without conceding a goal and scoring 32 goals in the process.

Their cup run took them to a semi-final – and they were only beaten by the eventual winners who were the champions of the division above.

It did cause them to stutter slightly in the league, drawing back-to-back games, including a 1-1 away draw at eventual runners-up Risborough Rangers, who snatched their equaliser with the last kick of the game.

However, that disappointment seemed to help Raiders find another gear, and their form in the closing weeks of the season was simply stunning, both in terms of their results and the standard of their performances.

The Raiders Blues ended the season with six straight wins, scoring 38 goals. They swept aside previous league leaders Harefield 6-1 on their own turf, and also handed out a 9-0 beating to fifth-placed George Green.

Raiders Blues’ manager Darren Heneghan said: “To say I am proud of my team is an understatement. They have been fantastic and over the course of the season they have just got better and better.

“We have demonstrated skill, guile, determination, toughness and – most of all – a tremendous togetherness and team spirit that runs through the boys and their parents.

“Some of the football we have played has been a joy to watch, but for me, seeing the players learn and develop through the months has probably been the most satisfying aspect in a season of so many highlights.

“Now we’ll be having some celebrations of this team’s amazing achievements, then take a break before looking forward to the challenges that the next season brings.”