What’s it like to lose a game of 5-a-side? Don’t ask Catena Media Royale, who went unbeaten to lift the 2019 SBC Global Championship trophy this week.
Captain-leader-legend Craig Harman was tasked with assembling a nine-man squad from Catena Media’s UK office to go up against some of the industry’s best and brightest – from operators and suppliers to affiliates and media – during SBC’s annual 5-a-side tournament at Stamford Bridge. The competition was fierce. Gaizka Mendieta, a Valencia and Middlesbrough icon who was twice named the best midfielder in European club football by Uefa, even turned out for the SBC team.
Harman netted Catena Media Royale’s first goal of the tournament to seal a 1-0 win against Apocalypse Now, before Jake Entwistle (in his own words) ‘slotted home Thierry Henry style’ in the second match against Justice League, which ended 1-1. Another 1-0 win over Fight Club in the final group game, with Savas Antonoglou coming up with the goal this time, set up a quarter-final clash with Empire Strikes Back, where yet another 1-0 win took us through to the semis.
There, The Dark Knights were dispatched 6-0 (SIX!) and Catena Media Royale were one game from glory.
The final kicked off at 5pm, after a tough day which had seen us play five games over three hours. By now, our legs were really feeling it. Former Fifa and Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher officiated the finale, where Catena’s resolute defending, counter-attacking gameplan and some magic from Ben Darvill – who pulled of six incredible saves – came good.
After a gruelling 10-minute affair, the whistle goes and it’s all down to sudden-death penalties. Jake steps up and scores the first, putting all the pressure on Trustly. One miss and they would lose. Their player scores. It’s now 1-1, the ball is back with Catena and the heat is on. But ice-cold Tom Aldridge steps up and sends the ‘keeper the wrong way nicely. Back to Trustly, and this time Ben did what he does best. A great bottom-left dive denies the penalty-taker and Catena, who during the entire tournament never went a goal behind, win!
This was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to get to play at a great stadium and be part of a fantastic event. Step aside, Invincibles.
Ben Darvill, Thomas Aldridge, George Martin, Sam Newton, Savos Antonoglou, Craig Harman, Tom Green, Jake Entwistle, Thomas Rooney
Group game 1: Catena Media Royale 1-0 Apocalypse Now (Goalscorer: Craig Harman)
Group game 2: Justice League 1-1 Catena Media Royale (Goalscorer: Jake Entwistle)
Group game 3: Catena Media Royale 1-0 Fight Club (Goalscorer: Savas Antonoglou)
Quarter-final: Empire Strikes Back 0-1 Catena Media Royale – Final Score 1-0 (Goal Jake Entwistle)
Semi-final: Catena Media Royale 6-0 The Dark Knights (Goalscorers: Sam Newton x2, Craig Harman, Jake Entwistle, Tom Aldridge & George Martin)
Final: Catena Media Royale 0-0 Trustly Avengers (Catena win on penalties)