Second-half surge clinches Taxis Cup

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North Berwick Colts won the SERYFA AC Taxis Cup, defeating North Merchiston 3-0 at Saughton Enclosure.

With North Merchiston just one point behind North Berwick in the Under 13s Division 4, it was expected to be a close match prior to kick-off.

Sam Watson, Kris Harley and Gregor Griffiths scored the North Berwick goals in the second half with the scoreline arguably an unfair reflection on the North Merchiston side.

Both teams struggled with the conditions at the start of the match, as the huge, saturated pitch hindered both teams’ creative opportunities. After ten minutes, North Berwick’s Ren Quantrill shot narrowly wide from 16 yards.

North Merchiston’s Jamie Carlyle nearly scored after 33 minutes, when his shot from 20 yards looked destined to loop under the crossbar, but North Berwick goalkeeper Jamie Wallace jumped high to parry, then gather it at the second attempt.

On the verge of half-time, North Merchiston keeper Jude Mothersole was forced into action. He deflected a Griffiths shot and Elliot Glynn put the rebound wide from eight yards.

However, the deadlock was broken four minutes into the second half. Watson dribbled the ball towards the edge of the area, before rifling it across goal into the bottom left corner.

The lead was doubled after 57 minutes, Harley scoring with a simple tap-in after Luke Ormiston’s free kick was parried.

Griffiths hit the bar with his next shot after a skilful dribble into the penalty area. He desperately wanted to score, and two minutes later had another opportunity after rounding Mothersole, but shot over the bar from the right side of the area.

The North Berwick striker finally got his reward after 63 minutes, blasting the ball past Mothersole from 18 yards.

North Berwick coach John Griffiths was delighted with his team’s performance and believes his side deserves some silverware after an impressive season.

He said: “It was brilliant. It was the boys’ second final of the year, having been really unlucky in the first one.

“Tonight we really wanted it and the boys have worked so hard all year. It’s the first year of 11-a-side and they’ve been fantastic.

“The head coach is away in America cycling from one end to the other at the moment so he will be delighted when he hears about this.”

North Merchiston manager Hugo D’Ulisse felt that the game was closer than the scoreline suggested. He said: “It was a close game, and we played some good football. We played North Berwick earlier in the season and beat them quite easily. They’ve improved a lot and their experience of playing here before probably helped them. It’s a wet, sticky pitch, which is the same for both teams but they were probably more accustomed to it than we were.

“We’ve only lost two league games and two cup games all season and have been getting better. I’m very proud of the boys in the way they’ve developed and I hope there is more to come from them.”

North Merchiston: Jude Mothersole, Max Gargaro, Nicholas Robertson, Jamie Underwood, Steven Sinclair, Harry Turnbull, Patrick Jefferson, Frank Gill, Michael Lynch, Josh Watherston, Calum Firnie, Ryan Tilbrook, Jamie Carlyle, Evan Swan, Zach Murray, Callum Bryce

North Berwick Colts: Jamie Wallace, Ren Quantrill, Sam Watson, Joel Thomson, John Collins, Finlay Thain, Alex Williams, Elliot Glynn, Gregor Griffiths, Kris Harley, Robbie Warnock, Luke Ormiston, Toby Boston, Lewis Cowan, Andrew Steven, Johnny Harding