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Lanc. Champs - HOB U-18

This page is a collection of items from Holker Old Boys Under-18 Lancashire Youth Trophy Cup winning seasons 06/07. Holker Old Boys once again are Lancashire Champions, this year for the first time at Junior Level.
Details of the competition this year are on the LFA Web-site.

Tod Bamber holds the 'Holy Grail' aloft

Akzo Nobel Youth FC v. Holker Old Boys Under-18 AFC

Final - LFA - Furness Building Society Youth Cup

Tuesday 27th February 2007

The County Ground - Leyland


Holker Old Boys Under 18’s lifted the Furness Building Society Lancashire Youth Cup at ‘The County Ground’ Leyland with a 1-0 victory over Akzo Nobel from Darwen.


Holker struggled to get any ball in the games early stages as the well organised & eager Akzo side denied them any time or space to get the ball down, however on 20 minutes Holker had the ball in the net as Callum Livingstone met Gareth Smiths long range free kick, but to the astonishment of the crowd the Assistants flag went up, apparently for offside, but not the goal scorer? This kicked Akzo back into life and attacked endlessly down the Holker right, but Jordan Nicholson & Tom Howlett stuck to their tasks, however Akzo still managed to smash a header against the Holker cross bar & then Holker keeper Sam Stephens had to be alert to smother a couple of efforts. As the game approached half time Holker’s strength & work rate started to pay off & Tod Bamber had two long ranges efforts that left the Akzo keeper routed to the spot.


In the second half Holker started to find the room in mid field to play & Phil Morris and Gareth Smith started to get down the flanks to put in darting raids that had Akzo stretched, however the Darwen side continued to compete on the counter attack & Stephens again had to be alert to grab an effort on the goal line. Then, on 75 minutes, the moment that won the game; Chris Low was fed by Morris wide on the left and as he took a few steps in off the touchline he thundered a 30-yard effort into the far corner to put Holker 1-0, the goal was fitting to win any game. Akzo tried to come back, but with the excellent Mark Daly now patrolling the mid field at leisure he was able to negate the Akzo counterattacks. Jon McMenemey and David Robinson in the central defence also dealt with anything long thrown at them. As the Referees whistle blew the cheer from the large Holker travelling contingent set off the celebrations. Holker’s skipper Bamber was presented with the trophy from Furness Building Society CEO, Rob Cairns and Gareth Smith was awarded the Man of the Match. Holker would like to thank those who travelled to support the team and also John Knagg, the areas LFA representative and his wife Barbara for their support.


Credit must also go to Mark Bamber & Dave Smith the Holker managers & coach Mark Hetherington who have all worked with these lads for over 5 years now.


So this team that’s been together since 10 years of age have finally fulfilled their potential and leave Junior Football as Lancashire Champions…and the debate on the apprent lack of local talent rages on!


MoM Gareth Smith, Callum Livingstone and Sam Stephens collect their winners medals


Man of the Match, Holker full back Gareth Smith receives his award from Sponsor (Furness Building Society) representative Mr. Jimmy Goggin.


Lancashire Champions – Holker Old Boys Under 18’s

Holker Under 18 Pen Pics


Find below the pen pics for the Holker Under 18 squad 06/07. The vast majority of this team have developed through Holker juniors with a couple coming through the ranks of Furness Rovers. Team Photo in Senior Teams.


All this squad are currently playing senior football for Holker, with the exception of Jon McMenemy, who, whilst signed for Holker, is currently in the BAE Systems squad.


The heart of this side has already played at & won at LFA HQ Leyland as part of the BDJFL Under 14 side that lifted the Inter League trophy in 2003 (Stephens, Smith, Bamber, Livingstone, Low)


Sam Stephens – Goal keeper – joined Holker as a 14 year old and is a regular in the Holker First Team. He has great hands, deals with cross and is an excellent shot stopper. He has the natural ability to play this game at a higher level and has really impressed this season; his two saves in the Quarter Final tie with Morecambe were outstanding and his performances this season in the NWCFL have been excellent when you consider his age. At what level Sam ends up playing is really up to Sam.


Peter Brewerton – Defender – has been at Holker since he was 10, he is a solid defender who is dependable Peter is playing senior football for Holker and still has another year left at this level. Gets great support from Dad Andy who is also one of the growing band who support Holker and Barrow FC.


Phil Morris – Defender / Midfield – was at Holker up until his final year as an U-16 and has returned to the club via Dalton Utd. Phil is a quality player with a great left foot and has played his way into Holker’s first team since returning to the club, can play anywhere down the left.


David Robinson – Defender – came to Holker from Furness Rovers juniors and is as good a tackler & reader of the game as you’ll expect to see. He has played First Team football this season & his last ditch tackles have got Holker, both first and Under 18’s, out of tight situations on more than one occasion.


Jonathan McMenemy – Defender –has played regular for Holker juniors in between his spells at Carlisle and Blackpool. Jon is an excellent central defender, who whilst signed for Holker is currently plying his trade for BAE Systems first team. Jon is a talented sportsman who also plays cricket to county standard. Jon also has another year left at this level.


Mark Daly – Defender / Midfield – What can you say about Mark, he is an absolutely quality footballer who when Holker played Morecambe FC in the Lancashire Cup, got plenty of accolades from the opponents. Spent most of his junior years at Preston NE, but joined Holker from Furness Rovers in 2005, he soon became a regular in the First Team and was NWCFL Player of the Month in Feb. 06, not bad for a 16 year old. There is no doubt Mark is a top footballer, but an even better cricketer and is currently waiting for a trial session with Somerset to be confirmed.


Gareth Smith – Defender / Midfield – is a pocket dynamo with a quality left foot and has been at Holker since an Under 12. His work rate is excellent and his ability to pass & overlap set him out on his day. But what really makes Gareth a threat is his powdered keg of a left foot; he has powered home many a thunderbolt from distance, including a memorable 40-yard drive at LFA HQ Leyland in the BDJLF Under 14 Inter-League winning side. A regular in Holker’s First Team he is also a county standard cricketer who will be missing from the First Team over the next few weeks as he is on trials for Lancashire CC U-19 squad.


Tod Bamber – Captain – Midfield – is a powerful midfield player who stands over 6 foot 2 & can dribble at pace, play off both feet, an excellent passer and scores his fair share of goals. Tod has been the catalyst for this squad of players since he arrived at the club as a 10 year old and has been in the First Team squad for three years. On his day he can destroy teams. Another who will miss the next few weeks on Lancashire CC U-19 trials.


Robert Grainey – Midfield –has been at the club since he was 10 and is now a big strong lad who has good tight control and can pass the ball around, a regular in the Holker Reserves set up he is looking to take the next step up and push for a First Team berth, is another who will be available for the Under 18s next year.


Jordan Nicholson – Midfield –(Goose to everybody) is a slightly built lad who has really developed this year into a competent player who can play the simple pass (a god send at times) and has an eye for goal. Jordan has been a regular in the Holker third team this year, and is now pushing for Reserve team selection. Another county standard cricketer in the summer months.


Callum Livingstone – Forward – is another who plays regular First Team football, currently plying his trade on the right hand side of midfield in the NWCFL. Has always been a regular goal scorer and comes alive in & around the penalty area, always seems to get the vital goal just when it matters, has been at the club since a 10 year old. Forms a formidable partnership with Chris Low. Another who has already scored at LFA HQ.


Chris Low – Forward – When he is on song there is not a better left footed forward about, he has pace, can swerve & can finish from any were, usually from around 12 yards out. Chris has had a stop start type of season with injures and illness, but has played regular in the First team. In junior football he was a prolific scorer who attracted the attention of a number of Clubs. Chris also scored at LFA HQ (the three scorers for the winning BDJFL side that night were all Holker players) and so the heart of this side have experience of winning there.


Jordan Fullard – Forward – came up from our Under 16 last season and has played regular this season in Holker’s third team. He is a lively forward who has done well when he has come on for this side. Another who’ll be involved at this level next year.


James Ryan – Defender – has been at the club since he was 11 years old and is another who moved up last year and is playing this year in Holker’s third team. Wide players find it difficult to get past him and he is another who has coped well in the Under 18s this season.


Luke Willacy – Forward – is a great kid with a big smile who is another who has come up out of our Under 16s this year. He has developed as the season has gone on and whenever Luke is on the park he’ll work hard for the cause and never lets the side down.


Stephen Forbes – Forward – Forbsey – the rogue of the squad who on his day can bag a hat full of goals. Joined Holker from Furness Rovers as an Under 16 and is currently part of the Holker third team set up. Steve is an important part of the setup; just as much in the dressing room as with his contributions on the park.


Thomas Howlett – Forward – Another young player who moved up from Holker’s Under 16’s. Tom has pace to burn, which can frighten the life out of full backs. Another who is part of the Holker third team and is developing very nicely at the moment.




Mark Bamber – has been involved with this set of lads since they were 10 years old, he has supported a number of other coaches but since the Under-14s has played a role with Dave & Mark. The contribution that Mark has made to these lads can not be under estimated.


Dave Smith – Ex BAE Reserves manager and current Holker First Team Assistant Manager, Dave has played a key role over the past few years in pulling the team together. A key learning exercise for this group of lads was playing last year in the North West Under 18 league where Dave & Mark Bamber  (with the support of Gary Penny) took them all over the North West of a Sunday, the experience set the lads up well for this years Open age & Under 18 challenges.


Mark Hetherington – UEFA B Coach, the best coach in the area by far, his record with this side and previous sides is exemplary, but what sets Mark aside is how well he communicates and looks after the young lads as they grow. This group of players respond to Mark & have the collective ability to put his game plans into play.

Holker Old Boys U-18 v. Morecambe Youth.

Sunday 27th November 2006.

Quarter Final - LFA Under 18 Furness Building Society Trophy


A fair sized crowd had made their way upto Rakesmoor on this fine Sunday afternoon to watch this LFA Furness Building Society Trophy Quarter Final tie. Morecambe were the favourites for this Trophy and had only recently lost to Crewe Alexandra’s Youth team in the 2nd Round proper of the FA Youth Cup.


Morecambe started the stronger as the game failed to develop any rhythm due to the competitiveness of both sides resulting in numerous free-kicks. On 15 minutes a shot struck the arm of Mark Daly and a penalty was awarded that Morecambe scored off. 1-0 down after 15, did not bode well, but Holker grafted hard and with Sam Stephens in Holker’s nets having an inspired afternoon, including a first half save from a thunderbolt which he spectacularly turned over.


Holker were also pressing down the hill and on 30 minutes Callum Livingstone was brought down on the left edge of the box. He then got up & powerfully curled the resultant free kick into the net, 1-1 and the game was heating up. But with the Holker defensive pairing of David Robinson and John McMenemy being absolutely outstanding, winning every tackle and every ball in the air against a powerful Morecambe front line, half time arrived with the score remaining 1-1.


Playing down the slope in the second half Morecambe pressed Holker back & only the resolute defending of the back pair, assisted by Phil Morris & Peter Brewereton at full backs, kept them at bay. Then on 60 minutes a snatch & grab attack brought Holker reward, Jordan Nicholson’s great cross field pass was controlled by Gareth Smith out wide on the left and as his cut into the box & switched feet, he drew a clumsy challenge that brought him crashing to the ground, penalty & up stepped skipper Tod Bamber to smack it home. This had been the classic goal against the run of play and with 30 minutes to hold out, Holker set about defending, however they did have one final opportunity when Chris Low burst clear but could not get the power into his shot.


At the other end Stephens pulled off what could be his save of the season getting a hand to the ball at full stretch as it was creeping into his top left hand corner. Morecambe by now had waves of attacks, with all the Holker players working their socks off making blocks or tackles, non more so than Daly who seemed to be everywhere in midfield. For all their pressure Morecambe just did not have the composure to really open Holker up. Some times in football you just have to dig results out & this was one of them days, Holker came up against a quality team yet stood toe to toe and battled for 90 minutes to get a result few in North West Youth football circles would have anticipated.


So this fine 2-1 victory sees Holker into the semi-finals and a home local derby against Walney Island. What a great advert for Barrow’s local junior football… two sides in the last four of the competition that has included Conference Youth teams such as Morecambe and Southport as well as the cream of Lancashire’s Youth teams.


Holker Old Boys AFC - Under 18 - LFA Youth Cup Winners 2007.

Back Row - Jordan Fullard, Jordan Nicholson, Peter Brewerton, Callum Livingstone, Robert Grainey, Sam Stephens, Tod Bamber (Capt), Jonathan McMenemy, James Ryan.

Front Row - Luke Willacy, Stephen Forbes, Gareth Smith, Mark Daly, Phil Morris, David Robinson, Thomas Howlett - Not in the Picture - Chris Low (injured)