Match Report: Kick London vs Krik Sweden

It was England vs Sweden on a cold Friday night as a team from KRIK in Sweden travelled over to London to face the best of Kick (and Hans Sims) in a small sided football match.
After a few handshakes, the teams were ready, with KRIK adopting a Christmas tree formation, and the Kick team looking to make to most of the wings. However 5 minutes in, with both formations out the window, it was KRIK that took the lead, a well worked goal finished past keeper Jack Winslade. If anything, this fired the Kick team up even more and the chances kept on coming, including an audacious overhead kick by Andy Dutton that just flew over the bar. Shortly after Kick were back in it, Robbie Smart played the ball to Matt Rogers, who turned cleverly to beat his marker and fire into the bottom corner, 1-1.
At this point veteran Hans Sims turned up to add some composure to the Kick side as they built on their equaliser. Some great link up play by Robbie and Alastair Park nearly created an opening, before Andy saw another fine effort tipped around the post. Despite their dominance, they feel behind again, a shot from distance deflecting off Andy’s back and wrong-footing the keeper, who could only watch it fly into the top corner. The Kick onslaught continued, but they were met by a brick wall in goal, who seemed to be saving everything. He had no chance though when Robbie, who had recently been cleaned out by one of the KRIK girls, was played through by Andy to finish smartly, 2-2.
As KRIK were continuing to roll on and off with their substitutes, the Kick team were relieved to see some fresh legs turn up as Jonathan Sanders came onto the field. With some solid defending at the back from Peter Brooks and Hans, there looked to be only one winner from this match. Especially when Alastair broke free down the left after some quick passing, before crossing into the path of the defender who could only put into his own net with Robbie waiting to pounce, 3-2.
Chance after chance followed for Kick, as did save after save by KRIKs keeper. Both Andy and Robbie missed chances whilst well placed, and the Kick lads couldn’t put the game to bed. A moment of madness followed as Peter carried to ball out of defence, his inner Titus Bramble came out, and he was dispossessed leaving KRIK with all the time in the world to pick their spot in the bottom corner, 3-3. Both teams continued to create chances as time ticked on, KRIK hit the crossbar whilst Alastair, Jonathan and Robbie all saw chances saved. Despite the opportunities for both sides the game ended as a draw, we were heading for penalties.
As we all know, the English don’t do penalty shoot outs very well. That stereotype seemed true, as Robbie saw his penalty saved and KRIK went 1-0 up with a calm finish. The shootout was turned on its head, as both Andy and Jonathan cooled slotted away their penalties either side of a KRIK miss to give Kick the lead. Matt followed suit finishing in the bottom corner, as did KRIK, before things went downhill in true English style. Firstly Hans struck the post, before Peter blazed the ball wide of the goal as KRIK regained the lead. Kicks hopes rested at the right foot of keeper Jack, but he could only drag the ball wide of the post, gifting the swedes victory.
With Alastair bottling taking a consolation penalty, both teams headed to the pub to celebrate what had been a very good game of football. We’re looking forward to the rematch.

 

Final score: Kick 3-3 KRIK (Krik win 5-3 on penalties)

 

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Kick Line-Up: Jack W, Peter B, Hans S, Andy D, Matt R, Robbie S, Alastair P, Jonathan S.

Scorers (assists): Matt R (Robbie S), Robbie S (Andy D), Own Goal (Alastair P).

Man of the Match (as voted by the team): Matt Rogers

Rugby Union: Six Nations Review

An interesting Six Nations for all, a shame it didn’t build to the Grand Slam decider that the schedule promised but if you are Irish it was quite literally a historic tournament as they celebrated only their 3rd Grand Slam in history.

 

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Ireland
With a commanding 26 points, 11 more than second place, zero defeats and with a points scored difference of +78 Ireland were rightly crowned Grand Slam Champions. Their unerring accuracy was their defining characteristic. Strong under the highball, faultless at the breakdown, nailed their chances and in Jacob Stockdale have developed a real finisher. As Ronan O’Gara’s drop-goal at the death won it in 2009, it was Johnny Sexton’s drop goal at the end of the France match which sealed the 2018 Grand Slam. I very much look forward to seeing them play the Southern Hemisphere Team’s this autumn to assess their progress.

 

Wales
Finished second recovering from fifth last time out and with their pre-tournament injury crisis is some feat. They blooded new players and are looking in good shape to peak at the World Cup. Gatland has dumped Warren Ball and embraced the Scarlets brand of free flowing rugby. Alun Wyn Jones manfully coped with a young side with out Lions Captain Warburton, try scoring Lion Toby Faletau and Lion of the tournament Jonathan Davies. They coped the best with injuries and pushed Ireland hard in Dublin. Worthy runners up.

 

Scotland
Having won 3 matches it is interestingly Scotland’s points scored difference was still -27. Their glorious victories were 3 closely fought matches and they won those matches in the heat of battle, which bodes well for the future. Gregor Townsend is an astute coach and arguably has the potential to be best home nations coach since Clive Woodward. Scotland however still struggle away from home and their slender victory in Italy shows as much as their defeats in Wales and Ireland the extent of their task to improve this area. Special mention for Jonny Gray who made more tackles than anyone in the tournament.

 

France
What might have happened in the tournament had they not lost to an injury time drop goal by the Irish? In many ways a sobering Six Nations with 3 defeats but it feels like they are on an upward incline from rock bottom. Having sacked their coach pre-tournament France were competitive in every match they played and new coach Jacques Brunel has admirably gained respect having dropped half the team following the drinking incident in Scotland. In Teddy Thomas, France have unearthed a gem and he could be a lethal finisher for the years to come. France too have the best hooker in Guilhem Guirado who led the side with all his customary passion.

 

England
Well that was a shock – 5th place is a fall from grace for the double champions of this tournament. They looked tired with 16 players having gone on the Lions Tour. But more than that it might have been the way their players are managed by Premiership clubs with Owen Farrell having played over a thousand minutes for Saracens, whilst his counter part Jonny Sexton has played only 600 minutes of rugby this season. England looked missed Ben Youngs and were one-dimensional, having an inability at the breakdown which created a paucity of attack. Only two players leave with any credit Owen Farrell and Eliot Daly. Interesting Eddie Jones said people will probably never play for England again. Wonder if he means Cole? Kruis? Wrigglesworth? Haskel?

 

Italy
Matteo Minnozzi scored four tries in the tournament and looks a real find at full back. Sebastian Negri was a strong addition to the squad and credit must go to the coaches for the hard work they have put in. But critical analysis of Italian rugby is that it is way short of international class. Fitness, basic skills and the club structure of the Italian rugby shows how much work there is to do. Spare a thought for their immense Captain who now holds the record for 100 Test defeats, a crying shame for the great man, surrounded by a poverty of talent.

 

And finally…
A grand slam was a surprise for 2018, except it shouldn’t be as this was the 10th in 19 Six Nations. Well done Ireland. Excellent returns too for Wales and Scotland. France and England have food for thought and …at least the food is good in Italy.

Meet the Coach: Alex Shoderu

Who are you, where are you from, how long have you been involved with Kick London, and what is your role?

 

I’m Alex Shoderu. I’ve lived in London since coming to England at the age of 10 from Nigeria. Been involved with Kick London since Sept 2017. I mentor one day a week in a  Secondary School in Watford.

What are your favourite sports, teams, affiliations, and such like?
Football is my first love of the sports but I love sports in general and will play anything. I find I pick racket sports up really quickly because I played table tennis a lot growing up, so I enjoy Tennis, Badminton, Squash. If I was in the US I would fancy myself at American football. I support Arsenal and enjoy watching International Rugby Union too. More recently I’ve got into NBA after a friend told me about  Steph Curry’s  faith stance. Hence I support the Warriors.

 

How did you come to be a part of the Kick London family?

I’ve known about Kick for a while but I think I got reintroduced through Scripture Union.

What has been your best highlight while working for Kick London?

 

When one of the boys I mentor gave me a box of Celebrations for Christmas.

What is the funniest thing a child has ever said to you while working for Kick London?

 

” Sir, who are you, are you the new Headmaster?”

As a Christian, how does Kick London fit in with your personal missional heart? Why is Kick London important for the church?

I heard someone say recently, “when I go fishing, I like to go where the fish are”. I have a heart to see young people walking in relationship with Christ and Kick London is going where young people are. Kick London is important for the church because the primary mission of the church is to make disciples. Kick London is being obedient to that call.
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Do you think Jesus have engaged with sport? What would his favourite sport been? Who would he have supported?

 Yes I think Jesus would have engaged with sport. Favourite sport? Go for long distance running. JESUS had good endurance.

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Alex has completed a marathon himself

What is your personal sporting highlight, either for you or the team/person you support?

Playing at Highbury in the Islington and Camden Cup final.

What is the most exciting thing that could happen in a regular working day that would be a highlight of your year?

Helping a teenager commit their lives to Christ for the first time.

Carabao Cup Final Preview: Arsenal vs Manchester City

We heard you were looking for your
Carabao Cup Final Preview?
Please allow us.. to ASSIST YOU…

 

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The English Football League cup competition, or EFL cup is now sponsored by Carabao, it has previously been sponsored by the Milk Marketing Board, Littlewoods, Rumbelows, Coca-Cola, Worthington’s and Carling.

It is seen by most who follow football as being third in line, behind both the Premier League and the FA cup in terms of importance for clubs competing in England. (As well as Wales, with Swansea City FC being the only previous Welsh winners, back in 2013.)

The cup is an annual knock out competition open to clubs in the top 4 divisions in England, with the winners qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. The current holders are Manchester United, who share 2nd place in terms of victories with both the inaugural winners of the competition back in 1961 Aston Villa & Chelsea FC, who are all on 5 wins with only Liverpool FC winning it more times throughout its history with 8 wins.

This season’s cup final is being contested by Arsenal and Manchester city football clubs. Although some people might well be billing it as the battle of the “Assist Kings”, with “The Goal making Maestro” that is Mesut &…
“The Complete Belgium Baller” that is Kevin De Bruyne going head to head.

Now, to use that old football cliché “Goals win games”, neither of these clubs ever really seem to struggle doing the most difficult thing in football; putting the ball in the back of the net! With both teams hoping to select their best strikers up front in Aguero and Aubameyang (who are both arguably world class strikers with 388 senior career goals between them). However, both sides revolve far more around their playmakers than their strikers.

 
That takes us back to the previously mentioned master makers of goals, De Bruyne and Özil who both (if even half fit) will start the game.

 
Both players are equally gifted magicians with a football at their feet, and that scary quality of vision with the ability to see the full picture before anyone else, both are capable of painting masterpieces with their passes!

 
For any true football fan, no matter of what colour shirt you wear you’ll be watching this cup final, not necessarily because of it’s importance, but because it is likely to be a great spectacle! We are hoping for easy on the eye, fluid football with no parked busses!

 

In truth it’s more likely to be, more like a basketball game in the way both teams attack, with a bunch of ballers on both sides, there are intriguing battles all over the pitch.

 

Our hope is you’ll be watching the game on Saturday waiting for passes to be pinged, strings to be pulled, defences to be split and chances to be created and please let us assist you in pointing out the likely candidates, the potential game changers, allow us to glimpse into the future and predict the pass masters, the Orchestrators of this football Opera the two footballing geniuses that are Mesut Özil & Kevin De Bruyne…

 

Yasha Tobias-Browne

Staff Coach

FA Cup: 5th Round Preview

We are down to the last 16 teams in the FA Cup, and trip to Wembley is within the grasp of some unlikely contenders! Here is a preview of the weekend’s action.

 

Leicester City vs Sheffield United

Both of these sides have had a slump in form in the league of late, but their cup runs could not have been more different.

In round 4, Leicester disposed of Peterborough 5-1, while Sheffield United limped through both Round 3 and 4 with 1-0 wins.

Sheffield United will still hold aspirations of getting back to the Premier League, and I can imagine they won’t be too fussed about going out of the cup at this stage.

Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Sheffield United

 

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Chelsea vs Hull City

Chelsea have flattered to deceive recently, and with press speculation about unrest backstage, you can see it is having an impact on performances on the pitch.

After a nervous (and controversial) win on penalties against Norwich in Round 3, Chelsea made no mistake in Round 4 when they smashed Newcastle 3-0. Will Hull be a lower tier struggle for Chelsea, the way Norwich were, or swept aside like Newcastle?

Hull have had previous success in the FA Cup, having reached the final 2014, but their struggles in the league this season may mean they put their Cup dream to rest for now.

Precition: Chelsea 3-1 Hull City

 

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Sheffield Wednesday vs Swansea City

The narrative ramps up in this one as Carlos Carvalhal returns to the club he took to the play-offs two seasons in a row. Carlos now takes to the away dug out as Swansea chief, having turned around their fortunes since his arrival.

Many had written off Swansea’s survival hopes, but after a few good results, they have bounced back to mid-table. On the contrary, Wednesday need to find a bit of form, and fast, if they want to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.

Much should be said for Swansea’s replay against Notts County though, where they battered them 8-1 live in TV. Sheffield Wednesday are likely to put up a far better fight than that, mind.

Perhaps neither teams focus is entirely on a cup run, but someone has to win the game, right?

Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Swansea City

 

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Brighton and Hove Albion vs Coventry City

Coventry City are the lowest ranked team in the competition, and with the giant killing of Stoke in round 3, have proved they can mix with the big boys. Coventry have history in the FA Cup, and despite their demise to League Two in recent years, they are still a massive club.

Brighton’s form is patchy at best, and while not totally safe from relegation from the Premier League, their focus may be elsewhere.

If there is going to be a shock this weekend, I think this may be the game.

Prediction: Brighton 0-1 Coventry

 

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Huddersfield Town vs Manchester United

Huddersfield’s 4-1 win against Bournemouth last weekend looks more like a blip than turning a corner, and if form is to be believed, they will be easily swept aside here.

Manchester United have a midweek trip to Sevilla to prepare for, and may rest some players.

Both teams enjoyed high scoring wins in the last round, against Birmingham and Yeovil respectively, so we can expect goals in this one!

Prediction: Huddersfield 1-3 Manchester United

 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Despair for Derby County players as Jesse Lingard of Manchester United (C) celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Derby County at Old Trafford on January 5, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

 

West Bromich Albion vs Southampton

If the Prophets of Doom are to be believed, West Brom’s eight year stay in the Premier League is very nearly at an end, and those same errie shadows of doom are circling Southampton as well.

Both of these sides have had poor seasons, and a win in this game would probably signal a fair amount of disappointment that it wouldn’t add three points to their current league tally.

Neither team appear to like scoring goals, nor winning games, so a low scoring draw is the most likely outcome.

Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Southampton

 

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Rochdale vs Tottenham Hotspur

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard that Spurs added to their trophy cabinet in midweek with the “Drawing at Juventus Cup”. This takes pride of place between the “Finishing above Arsenal Shield” and the “We Put the Pressure on Trophy”.

In all seriousness, Spurs’ comeback against Juventus in midweek was impressive, and not predicted, and scoring two goals against a side who had only conceded one in the last sixteen games takes some doing.

While Rochdale should be respected for reaching this stage (and sniping Millwall out of the competition on the way, ha!), they will likely not have enough to match Spurs.

That said, their infamous awful pitch could be the leveller here, and Spurs may struggle to play their slick, free-flowing game on what is akin to a Sunday League Rugby pitch. With weary legs from their Juve trip, and having only managed a draw vs Newport in the last round, could this be destined for a draw too?

Prediction: Rochdale 2-2 Spurs

 

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Wigan vs Manchester City

Cast your minds back to 2013, where already relegated Wigan are up against New Money Manchester in the FA Cup final. Not a single person placed a bet on Wigan that day, when in the last minute, Ben Watson puts his ginger peanut on an inswinging corner, and history is made.

There will be no repeat performance this time around. While Wigan are storming their way back to the Championship, and having two Premier League FA Cup scalps already this season in Bournemouth and West Ham, Man City will be a different proposition.

City defeated Basel at a canter in mid-week, and may decide to rest players (as if that game wasn’t a rest in itself). And should they decide to play their second string and youth’s, Wigan will still be playing a high class opposition.

Man City are still on for a historical quadruple, and I can’t see Wigan being the spanner in those works.

Prediction: Wigan 0-4 Man City

 

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All the prediction’s made in this piece are the opinion of the author, Andy Dutton, and have been made with some bias and a lack of any real football knowledge, dressed as analytics!

If you feel you can do better, jump onto our weekly predictor, and see if you can score more points than Andy!

And if you do, maybe he’ll let you write the article for the Quarter-Finals in March!

 

Andy Dutton

Senior Coach

Meet the Trustee: John Dutton

Who are you, where are you from, how long have you been involved with Kick London, and what is your role?


I’m John Dutton, from Croydon, and I have been a Trustee of Kick London since August 2008.

 

What are your favourite sports, teams, affiliations, and such like?


I enjoy watching and trying to play (mostly unsuccessful) many sports, but my favourites are football and golf.

 

I played football for my school old boys’ club from 16 until I had to pack up with a knee injury at 28.  Fortunately, I was able to resume work kick-about football in my mid-30’s and continued until I was 50 and, during that time, had the joy of playing in competitive games with both of my sons when they were teenagers.  My sons’ football became my greatest passion and I watched them play for whichever team they joined.

 

In about 2006, my younger son Andy joined his church team (New Life FC) and having watched him play virtually every week, I was invited to assist the team manager and, the next season, become the Team Manager of the Reserves.  I was awful at it and got the team relegated!  However, the following season, I swapped roles and became the Club Secretary.  I still perform the same role today nearly 10 years later and my involvement with the New Life football club is a central and absolutely critical part of my Christian testimony.  However, this is an entirely separate story which I can tell another day if the Editor is interested.

 

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New Life FC 2011 – How many Kick London staff members (past and present) can you spot?

My second greatest football passion is supporting West Ham United and this started on 30th July 1966 – the day England won the World Cup final.  I was 10 years old and besotted with Moore, Hurst and Peters who played such pivotal roles in England beating West Germany.  Contrary to common belief, West Ham fans don’t really think that West Ham won the World Cup, but it is true that we are immensely proud of the role our three stars played in it.

 

Golf is my other sporting love.  When I stopped playing football at 28, I took up golf and still play over 30 years later.  When I retired in April last year, I was really blessed when my wife agreed that I should give myself a retirement present by joining The Addington golf club.  This is such a privilege – a glorious place to wonder at the beauty of God’s Creation – even if it hasn’t done much to improve my handicap.

 

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How did you come to be a part of the Kick London family?


I’m sorry, but my answers all seem to be so lengthy. I was attending an end of season awards service for the league that New Life FC play in, and there was a presentation by a guy from Ambassadors in Sport and he spoke about students doing internships or gap year placements.  At the time, Andy was at Uni and it seemed like something he might be interested in so I filed it away in the back of my mind for another time.  A little while later, I saw an article in the local paper about Kick London and it seemed very similar to what had interested me about Ambassadors.  To cut a long story short, Andy started doing voluntary work for Kick while he was still at Uni and my interest in the organisation grew from there.  Subsequently, I read or heard that Kick London were looking to recruit new trustees, so I applied in May 2008 and was appointed in August 2008.

 

 

What has been your best highlight while working for Kick London?


I think every testimony I read of a young person’s life transformed by God’s love through sport as a result of Kick London engaging with them is the best highlight, until the next one, and the next, and the next. Each one literally brings tears to my eyes.  What a privilege to be associated with the incredible, amazing work that God is using our staff to do!

In addition, knowing that my own son is contributing to the ever-growing library of testimonies is a tremendous ‘highlight’ for me.  I pray that God will forgive me the sin of being proud of him; but I’m immensely proud of all our staff and the organisation as a whole.

 

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What is the funniest thing a child has ever said to you while working for Kick London?

 

“Has there been a story of a “Transformed Life” that has really impacted you?”   A short answer at last … I don’t get involved with the young people directly so don’t have an answer for this.

 

 

As a Christian, how does Kick London fit in with your personal missional heart? Why is Kick London important for the church?

 

As I mentioned previously, New Life football club is a major part of my Christian testimony (and also Andy’s but that’s his testimony to tell) and I know that God used sport to transform my life.  So Kick London’s whole ethos really resonates with my personal experience and I just love, appreciate and support every aspect of Kick London’s approach.  I couldn’t devise a better operating model if I was given a blank sheet of paper now.  And the fact that we have diversified to embrace so many sports makes it even better.

 

 

Do you think Jesus have engaged with sport? What would his favourite sport been? Who would he have supported?

 

As a carpenter, Jesus was a very fit man and I’m sure he would have engaged in the sports of the day.  He certainly walked many miles and I expect he could have run a long way.  I don’t want to be blasphemous or irreverent, but I think Jesus would have had trouble swimming! (Editor’s note: He never needed to swim; he’d just walk on water!)  He would definitely have been a West Ham supporter because he had a heart for the lost, the down-trodden, oppressed and hopeless.

 

What is your personal sporting highlight, either for you or the team/person you support?

 

Although I love sport, I have achieved very little and most of the highlights have been what my sons have achieved.  Both have won, and scored goals in, cup finals for the club that I am the secretary of, so those occasions were pretty special.  Golf is a very individual sport, and single shots can be exceptional personal highlights, but 18 inches is as close as I’ve come to a hole in one.  I suppose my best ever round of 82 at Coulsdon Manor was a highlight but that was years ago – breaking 100 at The Addington is my current ambition and I’m getting close.  One day next Spring it will all come together and I’ll achieve it.

 

What is the most exciting thing that could happen in a regular working day that would be a highlight of your year? 

 

The testimony’s the Trustees receive about young lives transformed are always the highlight.  And hearing about dozens of young people responding to the ‘altar call’ during the annual Kick London tournament is always a tremendous thrill.

The Winter Olympics 2018

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If you are looking outside the window in the UK these days, you might not think of snow, sunshine, fun, excitement and celebrations, but you are rather looking forward to spring…. But lots of excitement, fun, drama and celebrations – perhaps – are just lurking around the corner. It is Winter Olympics time again! Yes! Very exciting!

 

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Athletes from around the world will meet from 9th -25th February in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They will compete in 102 events, ranging from more traditional disciplines like Alpine skiing, bobsleigh, ice-skating and ice-hockey to new disciplines like snowboarding, freestyle and moguls skiing. They are all very exciting to watch! Lots of emotions, drama and fun ahead!

 
Team GB are aiming for the most successful Winter Olympics in their history hoping to get five medals. Who might be the candidates for medals?

 

Definitely watch out for the snowboarder Katie Ormerod who has been in the top three quite consistently since the last winter season. James Woods and Izzy Atkin are freestyle skiers and could achieve the first ski medal for Team GB ever – spectacular to watch.
Dave Ryding might be the best known British winter athlete as he won a silver medal in the Kitzbuehel World Cup in slalom last year and has been on good form this season too. Who knows, he might surprise the audience in South Korea with a top ranking too.

 
Short track speed skater Elise Christie and cross-country skier Andrew Mushgrave might be other candidates for a surprise as they have been performing well this season in their respective disciplines.

 

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09:  (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) The Olympic Rings are illuminated at a snow festival site on the day of the PyeongChang 2018 one year to go on February 9, 2017 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 09: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) The Olympic Rings are illuminated at a snow festival site on the day of the PyeongChang 2018 one year to go on February 9, 2017 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Apart from medals won or lost, one of the most exciting developments might have happened already behind the scenes: North and South Korea have agreed to march under the same united flag! The two countries will also field a joint team for the women’s ice hockey. This is amazing.

Rugby Union: 6 Nations Preview

With the Six Nations starting this weekend, we caught up with Rugby Union enthusiast and Kick London CEO, Joe Lowther, for his thoughts on the upcoming tournament.

 

1. What do you most enjoy about the Six Nations?

 

Its the rivalry between the countries, the banter between friends whilst it’s not as aggressive as football. The aggression is on the pitch but there is a great values base to rugby which dosn’t see this boil over into petty fights elsewhere.

 

2. Will you be going to any Six Nations games, as a Twickenham resident?

 
No, not at £80 a ticket but I wont miss a minute of the matches on television. Love this sport.

 

3. Which nation do you feel is showing the best form going into the tournament?

 
Ireland have been dominant in the Autumn Internationals and the Champions Cup in the club rugby with Leinster and Munster. Scotland are resurgent and nearly beat NZ in the autumn before hammering Australia. France have the most domestics teams through to the knock outs in the Champions Cup, with a new coach, they will be dangerous. Wales have just had Scarlets finish top of the their pool – the first Welsh team to qualify for the knock out rounds before 6 years, Plus Gatland is back, which makes a key difference. Ultimately England have only lost once home or away since 2015 so they are strong, even if domestic form has fluctuated.

 

 

4. Which nation do you tip to win this years tournament, and do you feel we will see a grand slam?

 
Ireland are the form team but England have the home games against Wales and Ireland – so unless they slip up to Scotland and France away, they could win it for the 3rd time.

 

5. Which nation will be this years whipping boys?

 

Italy are so off the pace. They cant compete from 60mins onwards.

 

6. Which individual game are you most looking forward to watching?

 

France vs England in Paris will be a massive game but Wales vs Scotland will test out just how far Scotland have come and whether it is time for them to compete for the title.

 
7. Which nation do you feel will be the surprise package this tournament?
Interesting question this as Scotland have revealed themselves with a successful campaign last season – they key is can they back up last seasons home form away from home this year. IE can they beat Ireland and Wales away. Big questions.

 

8. Which nation do you feel will flatter to deceive?
Hmmmmm. Tough one. Itlay will get the wooden spoon and then the talk will be about whether England’s poor club form will infect the national side. With those games away from home and likely injuries to a small squad, Scotland could come unstuck.

 

9. As an England fan, do you feel we are as good as we were, consistently improving, or currently in decline?

 
Eddie Jones has worked wonders. I have always said good leadership means everything at this level. We have the talent pool (just like in the football) but we need strong leadership to inject confidence. The Autumn was in Jones words a bit of a ‘grindathon’ against Argentina, the players look tired post Lions and we have some injuries but Jones has won 22 or the 23 he has played, with a world record 18 victories in a row so I back him to get this right.

 

 

10. Who is currently your favourite England player?

 
In the forwards Itoje is immense. Can do everything twice as fast with more skill than anyone. I am also really looking forward to seeing Sam Underhill play at Seven. He could be a key piece of our future. For the backs I’d love to see the pace of Christian Wade deployed or the breaks of Denny Solomoa but if Jones refuses to play them for defensive reasons I’d have to say the class of Owen Farrell.

 

11. Please predict for us the final standings of the teams.

 
Very hard to predict and England could come unstuck with playing Ireland and Wales at home is crucial.
1. England
2. Ireland
3. France
4. Scotland
5. Wales
6. Italy

FA Cup 4th Round Review

The 4th round of the FA cup produced the opportunity for some giant killings. League two sides Yeovil Town, Newport County and Notts County were handed the chance to knock out the big boys (Man United and Spurs), whilst Notts County also had the opportunity to knock a Premier League side out as they faced Swansea. League One sides Wigan and Peterborough were also handed the chance to cause an upset (vs Leicester and West Ham). So would there be an upset this weekend? Or would the Premier League sides show their strength?

 

Leicester lead the way

 

Leicester were the big winners of the 4th round weekend, putting 5 past league one Peterborough. 2 goals from Iheanacho and debutant Diabate Leicester outclasses their opposition. Manchester United were also too strong for Yeovil, the lowest ranked team in the competition, as they won 4-0 away to the League 2 side. There were also plenty of goals at Anfield as West Brom knocked Liverpool out. There were 3 goals in the first 11 minutes as they ran out 3-2 winners, 2 goals from Jay Rodriguez (the only Southampton player Liverpool didn’t sign) and a Matip own goal were enough to claim victory.

 

Will Griggs on fire

 

A double from Wigan’s Will Grigg provided probably the biggest cup set of the 4th round as West Ham were dumped out of the cup. His header and penalty punished 10 man West Ham after they had Masuaku sent off for spitting. Other shocks included League 2 sides Newport County and Notts County holding premier league sides Spurs and Swansea to 1-1 draws, earning themselves replays. Newport had lead Spurs until the 82nd minute when who else but Harry Kane saved Spurs’ blushes.

 

VAR takes centre stage

 

There was VAR history made as the first on-field decision was made during Liverpool’s defeat at home to West Brom, but it wasn’t without controversy. Craig Pawson firstly ruled out a West Brom goal before awarding Liverpool a penalty after using VAR, whilst West Brom’s 3rd goal was also delayed as the referee watched the replays. In each case the decision appeared to be correct, however the length of time it took to review these decisions was the main concern for many.

 

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West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku was also had an eventful FA cup weekend as he was sent off for spitting at an opponent in the defeat to Wigan. The defender reacted to a challenge from Wigan’s Nick Powell and was sent off at the start of the second half. West Ham manager David Moyes, who is already without key players due to injuries, called the incident “despicable” and “the player will deserve everything he gets” with a lengthy ban likely to follow.

 

Free Kicks the pick of the bunch

 

Classy free kicks from Kevin De Bruyne (vs Cardiff) and Marcus Alonso (vs Newcastle) were the pick of the goals from this weekends action. A personal favourite was De Bruyne’s clever free kick, as he calmly passed the ball underneath the jumping wall into the bottom corner, giving the keeper no chance. Alonso found the top corner, bending the ball around the wall and beating the keeper. Leicester’s Iheanacho (2nd vs Peterborough) and Nottingham Forest’s Vellios (vs Hull) both produces neatly cushioned volleys that gave the keepers no chance to stake their claims for goal of the round. Roberto Firmino (vs West Brom) also produced a moment of magic, chipping the ball from the edge of the area, over the helpless Ben Foster and into the back of the net.

The FA Cup 5th Round Draw

Sheffield Wednesday v Notts County/Swansea

West Brom v Southampton

Chelsea v Hull

Leicester v Sheffield United

Huddersfield/Birmingham v Manchester United

Millwall/Rochdale v Newport County or Tottenham

Brighton v Coventry

Wigan v Manchester City

 

Predict your quarter finalists from this bunch!

Matt Rogers

Kick London Sports Coach

 

Meet the Coach: Oladele Ayodele

Who are you, where are you from, how long have you been involved with Kick London, and what is your role.
My name is Oladele Ayodele, raised in London and of Nigerian descent, I’ve been involved in Kick London for 2 months.

What are your favourite sports, teams, affiliations, and such like?

 

I love sports, but spent the majority of my life playing rugby.  American football, Football, Table tennis, Tennis are also part of the repertoire. Don’t have a favourite team funny enough.

 

 How did you come to be a part of the Kick London family?

 

I was introduced through a colleague, who knew I had a heart for youth.

 

What has been your best highlight while working for Kick London?

So far, meeting a kid who had a dream to be a professional skateboarder, at the age of 12 his whole family discouraged him from pursuing this dream, telling him, “he couldn’t do it”. By the end of our conversation he told me only two people believed in his dream his uncle and myself and that was enough to give him confidence.
What is the funniest thing a child has ever said to you while working for Kick London?

An 11 year old child was on report,”She gave me a one and I don’t know why?”  (One being the most positive score) ” I misbehaved like three times, but I’m not going to say anything…”

 

As a Christian, how does Kick London fit in with your personal missional heart? Why is Kick London important for the church?

 

I think everyone needs to hear the gospel and be told reaffirming truths about themselves, especially kids. Kick London provides an opportunity for people to meet Jesus first hand and a chance to see a rise in the amount of kids that know Christ.

 

Do you think Jesus have engaged with sport? What would his favourite sport been? Who would he have supported?

 

I’ve always imagined Jesus as a beast on the sports field. Disciplined agile and strong. I see Jesus getting stuck in with every aspect of life not just sitting down and talking to 1000’s. Think he would have disliked football as an enterprise and supported Toulon rugby.

 

What is your personal sporting highlight, either for you or the team/person you support?

 

Man I have too many, for real. One was an American football match. During a Game on the line of scrimmage an opponents arm was broken the snap resounded. We stopped the game and retreated into our respective huddles. I felt this was an opportunity to see many come to faith if I prayed for this injured guy in front of players and supporters. I ran over to the injured guy and asked for his permission to pray he said yes. He didn’t get instantly healed. Few days later we did get a message from the team saying “thank you to the big guy” for praying. That was lit.

 

What is the most exciting thing that could happen in a regular working day that would be a highlight of your year?

 

I guess a child that didn’t know God experiencing him and honestly wanting to know more or commit their life to Him.

 

Finally, can you provide a picture of you involved in your sport, either an action shot, you in your teams kit, at a game supporting your team, you holding a cup or trophy, etc. Nope not yet

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