Sweden Cup 2014

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The Oslo Crows football team headed to Jonkoping for the Sweden Cup with a team that looked fantastic on paper and turned out to look equally fantastic out on the field. The Crows went on to win the cup with a display of hard running football and a very even spread of contributors across the ground. The field at Jonkoping was in fantastic condition and all were greeted with a warm and sunny swedish summers day, with only the strong breeze affecting otherwise perfect conditions.

Oslo’s team were a little taken aback in their first game as the Norrtalje Dockers quickly registered a goal straight out of the middle, the Crows however quickly switched on and that turned out to be the Dockers only score for the entire game whilst the Crows piled on an impressive six goals to comfortably start their day off with a win.

Oslo maintained a high standard of defence in their second game, and Brett Taylor’s desperate leap to affect a spoil in defence epitomised the effort the Crows players were willing to put in. The Crows are up against the Karlstad Eagles who they held goalless whilst kicking five majors themselves in another display of great teamwork with some great goals coming from Oslo midfielder Stephen Bell.

Oslo’s third game saw them up against the Arsta Swans who were also undefeated. After dominating in the middle in their first two games, Oslo were forced to work hard for every possession in this game. A couple of the Swans midfielders were getting plenty of touches and Rob Young (later voted player of the tournament) was running rampant off half back. The Crows competed well but fell short in the end, losing 40-27 in a tough contest.

Following this defeat, the Crows then sat for a lengthy three-game bye which left them very tight in the legs coming into their fourth game against the Sodermalm Blues – its last game before the finals. The game was a dead rubber – Regardless of the result the two teams would then meet in the semifinal. It was thus decided by the two teams and the organisers that the game could be skipped and the first semifinal could begin. The Swans and Karlstad decided however, that this would give the Crows and Blues an unfair advantage coming into the finals having played one less game, thus the dead rubber had to be played. The opening bounce set the scene for the rest of the game with neither ruckman jumping to compete for the ball. The game was played without much intent and Oslo went on to win 48 to 14.

The decision to force Oslo to play the dead rubber would backfire on the other teams though as it gave the Crows the opportunity to stretch their legs out and switch back on mentally after the long delay with their three game bye. The Oslo players were given a further lift coming into the final with injured player Eivind Myrvold putting on his boots and putting his body on the line despite his balloon sized knee. This move clearly inspired his teammates as they kept their opponents to just the one goal for the game and only some inaccurate kicking in front of goal prevented Oslo from recording a huge win. Amund Lundesgaard, who had been kept quiet throughout the first half of the day saved his best for when it mattered, pulling in a couple of huge contested marks and going back to kick truly on both occasions. The Crows settled for a  win of 29-9 and were through to the grand final against the undefeated Swans.

 

Whilst the Swans would have surely taken their previous win over Oslo as a great boost to their confidence, the Crows had learned their lesson from the previous encounter and their tactic of blanketing three of the Swans more influential players would prove effective. Jonas lined up on the talented Rob Young with directions to tag him out of the game, the move would prove decisive with the backman barely registering a possession in the first half and being moved into the midfield in the second half to increase his influence. The Crows’ midfielders also proved effective in shutting down the Swans midfield in a tight contest. Crows captain Denis Fletcher put the Crows ahead just before half time with a quick kick whilst receiving a heavy bump. The game was very tight going into the breakand it seemed that fitness was going to be a big factor.

The Swans started the second half in the best fashion getting a quick goal straight from the centre bounce. The goal clearly lifted the whole Swans team and the Crows players seemed to sense this. The Crows shut down this comeback immediately though with another towering mark to Amund which he dutifully kicked straight through the middle of the goals form 40 metres out. This goal clearly hurt the Swans players as their comeback was quickly squashed and their heads noticeably hung low. The Crows then scored one of the goals of the tournament with Adam O’Toole running from the back line along the wing, his opponent was closing on him when John Debenham put in a very solid shepherd which could be heard from the opposite wing buying Adam the extra 20 metres he needed to run to get in range for a long kick at goal which sailed straight through. This play epitomised the running play and selflessness that the Crows had displayed all day and was the nail in the coffin for the Swans with Oslo going on to win 5.3 33 to 2.3 15.

Oslo Crows goal kickers for the day A.Lundesgaard 6, S.Bell 6, D.Fletcher 4, A O’Toole 4, J.Debenham 3, J.Hall-Baigent 3, A.Lee 3, K.Harris 2.

Special thanks goes to Brett Taylor for all his work in organising the Oslo team’s travel and accommodation. Anette Smith for driving the team to Sweden and her work as the team’s physiotherapist. And to the organisers from Sweden for putting on such a great event.

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