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Reuben Sinclair's team are Football Champions!

A usual Monday morning can be one of the most difficult, depressing times of the week for most of us. Dragging yourself out of bed, you wish it was still the weekend. You know you have a full week ahead of you and the weekend seems so far away.

Posted by Owen Richards, Monday June 15 2015

Blog image_Winner of Apsco Recruitment League

A usual Monday morning can be one of the most difficult, depressing times of the week for most of us.

Dragging yourself out of bed, you wish it was still the weekend. You know you have a full week ahead of you and the weekend seems so far away.

But this Monday morning, the Reuben Sinclair team has arrived at work in particularly high spirits. Putting aside the sunburn, the limping and the sore muscles, this could be the best Monday morning in the history of Reuben Sinclair because yesterday, we discovered that we are not only great recruiters but we’re also pretty good footballers too.

Sunday 14th June 2015 brought the annual APSCo Recruitment Cup 7-a-side football competition. Over 70 teams from more than 60 recruitment companies across the UK turned up to compete for a trophy bigger than the FA cup (in both size and stature) and a year of bragging rights amongst our industry peers.

As a small company, we struggle to pull together the numbers for a 5-a-side, let alone a 7-a-side team and up against the likes of Reed (with more than 3,000 employees to choose from) the odds were always against us. But, with a last minute registration only 4 days before we were due to cross the white line, we pulled the troops together, borrowed some boots and shin pads, acquired some goalkeeper gloves and headed to the pitches quietly confident.

The fact that 15 minutes before kick-off for the first game we only had 2 players on pitch was not part of the initial tactics but by kick-off we had the numbers and away we went.

The group games started well, winning both of our first games 2-0 without the other teams mustering up a shot on target with Owners and founders Rohan Shah and Grant Dixon, taking turns in goal, having little to do between the sticks. Then came a 0-0 draw and, already, the tiredness was showing. Another 2-0 win gave us the edge before a 1-1 draw and a 2-2 draw meant that we finished the group stage unbeaten and, to our delight, top of our league.

League Table

Goals and creativity from Neil Grant, Alex Robinson, Will Ong and co. was the theme of our efforts to this stage, twice coming from behind to snatch late draws. But, having conceded only 3 goals in 6 games, our defence with Grant Dixon & Owen Richards was providing a solid foundation from which to build on.

As winners of our group, we had qualified for the quarter finals, a draw which saw us alongside the other 7 group winners. First up was First Choice.

The game started well, with both teams competing evenly and fighting for the ball. First choice had the edge on creativity but we were winning more 50/50’s and looked like a constant threat. With 5 minutes to go, a First Choice striker turned brilliantly on the run and hit a rocket of a shot into the roof of the net leaving us worried. However, in true Reuben Sinclair spirit, we scored a last minute equaliser (again) taking the game to sudden-death penalties.

As the owner of a business, you have to show that you’re prepared to put everything on the line for your team. And Rohan Shah did exactly that. First Choice’s star striker had hot boots and stepped up for the first penalty. But as he struck his penalty hard and low to the right of our Leader and keeper, Rohan, he guessed the right way. He got down quickly and somehow held the ball after a thumping sound from, what I can only assume was his abdomen, echoed around the ground. Sudden death penalties can be short lived when the first one is a miss and new recruit Owen Richards then stepped up confidently to place our first penalty into the bottom corner, putting us through to the Semi-finals where we would meet Penta Consulting a team who had reached the semi-finals without conceding a single goal.

Youth was on their side. Slick haircuts, quick feet and previous games told everyone watching (all 6 people) that they were the favourites. But that didn’t stop us being 2-0 up in the space of 2 minutes with the brace coming from Alex Robinson. Penta Consulting weren’t impressed and as we became more and more dominant during the game this only served to increase their frustration. They lost their cool and bottled under pressure, allowing us to go on and win 5-1 against a team that hadn’t dropped a point or conceded a goal all day. Suddenly, the Reuben Sinclair name being muttered around the 3,000 (ish) attendees. They were paying attention now; we’d made the final.

As a late entrant, our company name wasn’t in the printed brochure or on the original draw. The dark-horse effect was in full flow.

We’d already beaten a team from Reed in our group stage but their other team had made the final. By this point of the day we were all sore and carrying injuries.  We were slowing down and our warm-up consisted of eating Jaffa-cakes and having a quick nap on our kit bags.

Tired Footballers

But when the final kicked off, we again were quickly 2-0 up. How was this happening?

We couldn’t believe it, so just to make things more realistic, we let them score 2 goals afterwards. The game stayed at 2-2 for a while until a vital moment of the game arrived. In true tournament football fashion, controversy ruled as a Reed player took a throw in, drilled it towards the goal and it went in. The Reed players claimed it was touched on the way in by a Reuben Sinclair head, we had no idea what was going but we thought we were 3-2 down. The Referee quickly clarified and the goal was not allowed. We’ll never know if Grant did get his head to the ball but what we do know is that the game then fizzled out and ended in a 2-2 draw. Penalties again. Sudden-death again.

After 3 successful penalties each, Rohan shah again played the role of hero stretching to reach a low shot that was going as far in the corner of the goal as it could have been and parrying it away from goal. Score the next penalty and we win……………

And the rest is history.

As we each journeyed home after a celebratory beer, we were aching; we’d played nine games of football. We were limping and a bit sunburnt in most cases too. But we travelled with pride (except Rohan who also travelled with a massive trophy causing him to be stopped on several occasions by people enquiring as to whether he was genuinely carrying the FA cup around with him on the train- as you do). We travelled with our heads held high and medals around our necks. We knew that we were the best footballing recruiters in the land and we had the biggest trophy ever to prove it.

We weren’t the most technically gifted team there, we weren’t the fastest, the youngest or the most talented. But we were Reuben Sinclairer’s. We carried maturity, spirit and hard work throughout the day and we worked as a unit. Solidarity was the key and it paid off.

A true champion wins and then looks to the next challenge, never satisfied with just one victory. Training for next year starts next week after a well earnt week’s rest.

Thanks must go to APSCo for a well-organised day. Thanks also to the other entrants who played hard but fair throughout and finally, thank you to our three fans and to our team-mates. This might go just up there with the greatest achievements of this business and certainly justifies the purchase of a trophy cabinet for the office.

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