Hearts FC Tigers U19's
Sat 04 May 2024  ·  U18 Division One
Hearts of Teddlothian Football Club
Hearts FC Tigers U19's
G Lee (50'), F Pickrell (80')


Neil SINCLAIR6 May - 16:58
Share via

U18s just miss remarkable come-back as last-ever season draws to a close

THE 192nd competitive fixture brought to an end Coach Simon Wallis's tenure with Hearts Tigers, a role he first took on over 12 years ago. A trip to Wokingham on a surprisingly warm May morning did not end in glory, although the final 45 minutes was every bit as good as Simon would have hoped. A somewhat disrupted fixture list meant the game that should have been played on the opening day of the season concluded it instead and Tigers would complete only 18 of 20 league fixtures (including three conceded).
Ashridge Park, secure in sixth place, had a squad of 15 players and a record of three wins and a draw against Tigers over the last two seasons. Tigers, as has so often been the case this season, had just 11 players and went down to 10 for 25 minutes of the first half. Nevertheless, against a full Tigers XI, the revolving participants from the home bench eventually found themselves hanging on to the lead garnered whilst Tigers were wounded.
The opening exchanges were even, both attacks being caught out by good defensive lines. But with Ashridge playing with three strikers, in the 18th minute they capitalised on a defensive error to open the scoring.
Tigers fought hard to regain parity. Toby Chilvers had one of his best games of the season at the heart of the defence and he and his defensive partner, Alex Rustomji, dominated the aerial battles, enabling Hearts' midfield to have plenty of possession. Gabe Sinclair was forced to leave the field after a trademark sprint apparently tipped him into the "red zone", and Ashridge took full advantage of the space that created for them on their left flank, doubling their lead soon after Sinclair's departure.
The flood gates could have opened but skipper Frazer Pickrell rallied his depleted troops and for quarter of an hour the hosts were kept at bay. Kobe Sabado worried the Ashridge keeper with a long range free kick and Joe Wallis, playing his 190th match for Tigers since 2015, made a remarkable double save. As Sinclair returned to the pitch, an Ashridge corner found its way to an unmarked man who calmly put the home team into a commanding 3-0 lead.
Far from the flood gates opening, Tigers came out for the second half with renewed vigour. Ned Davies swopped wings with Sinclair and the change seemed to stall Ashridge's attacking intent. Within minutes of the restart Sinclair went close from the edge of the box and, having regained possession from the goalkick, Alex Carter found George Lee who buried the finish to ensure he took home the Tigers' "golden boot" for the third season running. Tigers could sense that maybe the tide had turned. A goal mouth scramble saw two defenders collide and the Ashridge No5 was unable to continue. The stoppage rather stymied the Tigers attack and, as Ashridge made seemingly endless rolling substitutions, the home team went in search of a goal to calm their nerves. Full-backs Rufus Biggs and Sadoon Kassab both had torrid times keeping the Ashridge wide-men at bay but always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Rustomji and Chilvers continued to marshall the centre and Wallis was not called in to action too often. With Ned Davies now reverting to the left, Kassab and Pickrell combined to put him into space from where Davies found Pickrell just inside the Ashridge 18 yard box and Tigers' Player of the Season rifled it into the back of the net to make it 2-3.
With over 10 minutes still to play, Tigers threw everything into achieving a memorable draw. Sinclair once again left scorch marks down the right-hand touchline and George Lee was a longer stud away from making contact with Sinclair's cross, with the goalkeeper already beaten. Chilvers and Sabado both had efforts go wide but even with Wallis edging his way into the Ashridge half, Tigers just ran out of time and the Ashridge coaches let out a huge sigh of relief, knowing they had used all their luck to secure the win.

So the curtain finally comes down for this group of players and their support team. 192 competitive matches, one cup final, three promotions, 84 wins, 615 goals, 43 different players; the calm match management of Simon Wallis, the smooth administration of Kelly Wallis, the quiet, measured support of so many parents; above all, the commitment, passion, fun, sportsmanship and gentlemanliness of the players. A debt of gratitude is owed to Hearts of Teddlothian for filling our Saturday mornings; and as the Tigers of 2024 move on, the Club will always be able to say magno conatu

Match details

Match date

Sat 04 May 2024



Meet time



Postponed from 27 April.
Pitch 11B
St Crispin’s School
London Road
RG40 1SS

Please note, we ask that you leave dogs at home, as they are NOT allowed at St Crispin’s.


U18 Division One

League position

Team overview
Further reading