WHILE most sporting fixtures were cancelled this weekend due to the weather, youngsters from Berkhamsted Raiders were out doing battle with the cold conditions.
With frozen pitched causing the cancellation of the majority of Dacorum’s football matches, Raiders teams from under-seven to under-10 managed to get their fixtures underway thanks to the new ‘weatherproof’ 3G BerkoAstro pitch at Ashlyns School.
The pitch was opened last month, and, despite the wintery weather of late, was in perfect playing condition for the junior weekend matches to take place.
And the games produced some strong performances from the Raiders sides.
The Under-10 Yellow team put in a dominant display as they overcame Tring Tornadoes 4-0, with Jude-Clark Regamey netting a brace and Benjamin Iskaros named man of the match.
Jamie Hills and Joe Hawkes were also on target for the Yellows who moved up into top position in the U10 West Herts Purple Division.
Meanwhile, the Under-10 Blues beat Hemel Town White 1-0 thanks to an effort from Josh Bradding and a man of the match display from Ben Pangbourne, and the Under-nine Blues beat Abbots Youth White 3-1 to move four points clear at the top of the Blue Division.
Another table-topping Raiders side are the Under-10 Reds, who beat Hemel Town 3-1 and went four points clear at the summit.
Man of the match Oliver Burchnall was on target for the Reds, and Edmund Bryant and Will Bisney also scored.
Elsewhere, goals from Charlie Smith, Jack Moriarty and Harry Gilks, as well as an Anders Davis double, helped the Under-nine Reds to an emphatic 5-1 win over Chorleywood Hurricanes.
The Under-7 Blues also won well as they beat Croxley Guild Cobras 2-1 thanks to goals from Tomi Kidd and man of the match James Nangle.
And the weekend matches top off a great few weeks for the Raiders since the launch of the BerkoAstro pitch.
With the pitch proving such a success, Raiders are now planning phase two of the BerkoAstro project which involves the construction of changing rooms, toilets, a tea room, and a training room adjacent to the pitch.
And the opening of all-weather surface has coincided with the club’s most successful season to date.
Eight Raiders sides are still in the draw for the County Cup, while five teams sit top of their divisions in the West Herts League.
Meanwhile, girls’ and ladies’ football is flourishing at the club.
Chantelle Turturici has been announced as new level two coach, while Andrea Bettridge has led Berkhamsted Raiders Ladies to an impressive first three months since their inception in August.
The squad now boasts 17 members, and have entered a seven-a-side league. They also took part in their first friendly match in which they secured a 2-2 draw with the Under-14 girls’ team.
On top of all of this, 200 Raiders players and parents were treated to a day out at Vicarage Road recently.
The players took part in a coaching session with the Watford FC CSE Trust before watching the Hornets’ 1-1 draw with Reading.