On a roasting Sunday,t he second annual inter-club 6-a-side tournament was held at Stanley Park. Participants flooded in from the U10's - Arrows, Blades, Crusaders; Under 11 Arrows, Under 12 Arrows, Under 8 Arrows, Under 9's Arrows & Blades, and two Vets sides.
A pre-tournament draw was held, with each squads captain picking out a letter, which corresponded to their group.
After two competitive, and in the Vets case, not so competitive group stages, the tables looked like this:
U10 Blades 0-1 U9 Blades
U10 Crusaders 1-0 U10 Arrows
U9 Blades 0-0 Vets A
U10 Blades 0-1 U10 Arrows
U10 Crusaders 0-0 Vets A
U10 Arrows 2-0 U9 Blades
U10 Blades 0-1 U10 Crusaders
U10 Arrows 2-1 Vets A
U10 Crusaders 2-0 U9 Blades
U10 Blades 0-2 Vets A
U8 Arrows 1-1 U12 Arrows
Vets B 0-2 U9 Arrows
U12 Arrows 0-0 U11 Arrows
U8 Arrows 0-1 U9 Arrows
Vets B 1-0 U11 Arrows
U9 Arrows 0-0 U12 Arrows
U8 Arrows 2-0 Vets B
U9 Arrows 1-0 U11 Arrows
Vets B 1-1 U12 Arrows
U8 Arrows 2-0 U11 Arrows
And the four semi-finalists were found, with the Under 9 Arrows taking on the U10 Arrows; and the Under 10 Crusader up against Under 8 Arrows. Both games were tight affairs, but the U9 Arrows and U10 Crusaders prevailed to set up a final showdown.
The final was a tense affair, which was goalless at the interval, with probably the Arrows shading the play. A stray twig halted the run of the Arrows forward in the second half, and referee Ellis blew for the spot kick, and the Arrows duly took the lead. With victory in their grasp and one last Crusaders attack, another penalty appeared as if by magic, in front of Mr Ellis's eyes (still trying to find someone else who spotted it - just joking John, you did a great job), and the Crusaders were level.
Extra time followed, and with the Crusaders urged on by their manager!!, it was the Arrows, and their 18 man squad, who finally prevailed. One stunning strike, and a delicate clip over the keeper giving them the 3-1 win.
Special mention must go to Chris LeBouef for toiling away over the Bar BQ all day long, eventually, seeing him run out of bacon, and his mum, who assisted throughout the day; Karen Farley, Tracey Hargreaves and Sharon Streets for their stirling work in the tea bar.
No competition could run without the referees, so thanks to all who stepped up to take the whistle, yes, even you Mr Ellis.
Well done to Mark Hargreaves for organising the competition, and ensuring everything went smoothly.
From what i saw, it was a hugely successful day for the club, with the tombola and bouncy castles proving to be extremely popular with the kids, however a point to note, several games became fractious, and the language "choice", and occasionally we lost sight of what the day was about - the competition whilst teams wanted to win, was just a by-product of a fun family day out. It is about the kids, and raising funds for them, and it is important to remember that, and not get carried away with macho posturing.
Check out all the pictures from the day.
Below, Nuno Conceicoa and Charlie Hands hoist the trophy into the air