National Football Final
The Year 7 girls football team went to Birmingham on Wednesday 25th April to compete in the English Schools FA U12 Girls Football Fives National Finals (indoor 5-a-side). The competition was held at the PlayFootball arena and our girls qualified for this national event by winning both the West Cornwall Schools area tournament and the South West Regional Finals. This is the first time in the competition history for a school from Cornwall to reach the national finals.
Due to the travelling distance involved, this trip involved an overnight stay. Our journey began at 9am on Tuesday 24th April where we travelled to Birmingham. We checked into our hotel and then made our way over to the Star City complex for evening dinner and bowling.
The bowling was great fun and we set the girls a challenge, should any student beat a member of staff (Mr Lawrence or Miss Veall) then they would receive a prize. Unfortunately, the bowling skills from staff was excellent and the students could not beat us despite all their efforts. The following morning we woke up after a good nights sleep, the team enjoyed breakfast together which would fuel the girls with energy ahead of their big day.
The team had a new kit for the tournament and to say they looked smart is an understatement. We were one of eight teams that qualified for the national finals and we were in attendance as the South West Champions. Indeed, with all teams having won their regional area tournaments the playing standard for the tournament was due to be high! The girls were both nervous and excited for the tournament to begin and set about their warm up routine to prepare for the first match.
Our first game was against Chancellors School, any nerves soon disappeared and very quickly, we went 1-0 up with a great strike from Mari Ward. The girls then grew in confidence throughout the match with many more goals flying in. We won our first game 5-0 which was a great start to the campaign. All five goals scored by Mari Ward.
Our second league game was against Kepier School where the girls had to work really hard both in and out of possession of the ball. It was evident to see why our girls have been so successful this season, all of them worked so hard throughout to run, tackle and defend. We won the game 3-1 in the end with our goals coming from Mari Ward x2 and Isla McLeod x1.
Our final group match was against Thomas Telford School who are renowned for reaching the later stages of all national competitions. This game would determine who would win Group A. Thankfully, this tight game finished 4-3 to MBA with the girls efforts and team work yet again exemplary. We won the group after winning all three group games. Goal scorers in this game was Mari Ward x3 and Cerys Arthur x1.
Winning Group A meant we would play the team that finished second place in Group B. We met West Park School in the semi final, meaning a guaranteed minimum 4th place finish overall, what an achievement but the aim of course was to try and reach the final. We had a great start in the semi final with two quick goals from Mari Ward. We had many more attempts at goal throughout the game but the opposing goal keeper had an exceptional match in goal. This was going to be our downfall as this exciting encounter finally finished 3-5 to West Park School who had only 6 shots all game compared to our 17 attempts at goal. If only we was to be as prolific as our opposition in this match then we would have progressed to the full national final. It just proves how minimal the margin is between success and not at the very top level. Two goals stood between our girls reaching the final but the experience and memories the girls have gained from this successful journey is priceless and they should be very proud of their efforts. Our three goals in the semi final all came from Mari Ward and of course, full credit must go to West Park School who managed to beat us and progress to the final. West Park School met All Saints in the final with All Saints being crowned as the 2018 National Champions.
Finally, our 3rd/4th play off match was against Thomas Telford School who we played and beat in the group stages, however we lost this game 4-6 and it was clear to see the girls were fatigued and disheartened from loosing a tight and hard fought semi final. All goals in this match scored again by Mari Ward.
You were a privilege to take away girls and i speak on behalf of both myself and Miss Veall. Your efforts and behaviour both on and off the field was terrific. You were so close to being national champions and you represented yourselves, the school and our County with honour and you have made history by being the first ever team from Cornwall to reach the national finals in this competition. Not many players ever get the opportunity to play at the national finals, we did and a HUGE well done to you all. We finished 4th overall out of the whole country, what an amazing effort and achievement.
Report by Mr K.Lawrence
Group A Results
MBA 5-0 Chancellors School
MBA 3-1 Kepier School
MBA 4-3 Thomas Telford School
MBA 3-5 West Park
3rd/4th Place Play Off
MBA 4-6 Thomas Telford School
Mari Ward x17
Cerys Arthur x1
Isla McLeod x1