IN the absence of a first-team fixture last weekend, we turned our focus to the Torquay United youth system and a busy round of fixtures in the Junior Premier League and a fascinating in-house encounter.

Before the matches, however, it was a training weekend for five age groups, who were working on creating room for crosses. The focus for all training as we move into next week will be defending 1v1 in wide areas and preventing crosses.

An absence of fixtures for our Under-10s and Under-11s Yellow presented us with the chance to pit the two teams against each other. It turned out to be an absolute belter in the winter sun at Seale Hayne.

The 11s were excellent in the early stages and surged ahead with an emphatic finish from the powerful left-foot of winger Adam Reda Khalf. The 10s regrouped in impressive fashion and drew level when Pheonix Collings calmly finished a threaded pass from the midfield.

Parity was retained thanks to extraordinary blocks from 10s defender Ollie Clarke and an equally impressive save by Ryan Collins.

The second-half was thoroughly entertaining and credit to the 11s, as they carved out a succession of opportunities, finally breaking through when Robbie Wright forced the ball home from close-range.

The 10s responded immediately and a vicious corner from Harry Lawler was deflected over the line in the final quarter and then a stunner from distance by Fergus Osment secured an impressive win for the 10s, although the 11s come away with huge credit for creating numerous chances and playing the game with their recognised goalkeeper unavailable.

After the game, 11s midfielder Will Hughes said: “We lost today but created a load of chances and, on another day, we would have won. I am enjoying the opportunity to improve with Torquay United and hopefully become a better player.”

Torquay United Under-12s (pictured) travelled to Yeovil Town in the Junior Premier League and very unlucky to come home with a 2-1 defeat. The Glovers were strong in the first period and United’s resilience was finally overcome with an opener from Ben Morgan.

The Gulls came out firing after the break and drew level with a cracker from Jack Howlett, grabbing the ball in midfield to surge forward and rifle a super finish into the roof of the net with his left foot.

An entertaining game had one final twist, as a long-range shot was parried clear by United’s goalkeeper and Yeovil forward Josh Grimster converted the rebound.

The Under-15s were another side to suffer a narrow defeat to Yeovil Town, losing 3-2 to the Glovers at Seale Hayne.

The Under-16s travelled to Yate Town and a superb hat-trick from Olaf Koszela played a major role in an entertaining 6-3 win for the Gulls. Also on target for United was Charlie Miller, Josh Baxter and Joshua Parry.

This weekend will see home games for Under-11 Blues v South Gloucester and the  Under-13s have a local derby with Saints South-West.

Out on the road, the Under-11s Yellow are at Mid-Somerset, Under-14s at Gloucester City, Under-15s travel to Taunton Town and the Under-16s take on North Somerset.