The sun was once again shining down on Berkshire ahead of the second day of the 2016 ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup Festival at Reading Football Club.
Following a thrilling start to the event yesterday and surprise appearances from Jason Puncheon and England womens’ captain Steph Houghton, hopes were high of another exciting feast of schools’ football.
The opening game of the day was the Under 13 B Team final, which saw Sidcup’s Hurstmere School line up against Stanley High School. It’s the third consecutive year that Stanley have appeared at the Festival and the very same set of players have already tasted success after winning the Under 12 9-a-side B Team Cup last year. They certainly didn’t hang around either, with striker Marco Ventura scoring two goals in 60 seconds within the first ten minutes of the game. They extended their lead in the second half and despite a consolation goal from Hurstmere to peg the scoreline back to 3-1; they held on and once again lifted aloft a national trophy on the Madejski Stadium pitch.
The second game of the day was the Under 13 PlayStation Schools’ Cup final between Whitgift School and Thomas Telford, both of whom had already won silverware yesterday on the opening day. The game was played amidst an incredible atmosphere with a strong Thomas Telford contingent complemented by a 600-strong crowd from Whitgift School. However it was Thomas Telford fans who would once again be cheering after a clinical display saw them get their hands on the trophy with a 7-0 win, the highlight being a hat-trick from Jack Broome.
While the next game lacked goals, it certainly didn’t lack tension. The ESFA Under 14 PlayStation Small Schools’ Trophy between Shenfield High School and Stretford Grammar School went all the way to penalties after the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 after two 35 minute halves. Both teams missed a penalty in their opening five but it was Shenfield who held their nerve in sudden death to edge out their opponents, winning 5-4 and clinching victory. This was the cue for an appearance from Danny Rose who had been named in England’s Euro 2016 squad yesterday. The left back was on hand to present the medals to both sides as well as the trophy to the victorious Shenfield team.
Thomas Telford were back in action next against St Ivo School in the ESFA Under 13 PlayStation Schools’ Cup for Girls, the same two teams that will also contest the Under 14 Girls’ final tomorrow. On this occasion it was St Ivo who would come up on top with a 3-0 victory, the highlight being a well-taken brace by Lucy O’Brien. The Under 14 final kicks off at 15:30 tomorrow and St Ivo will be hoping to seal a fantastic double.
The Under 13 Small Schools’ Trophy, the final game of the day, proved to be a thriller and it contained two goals fit to grace any level. Causeway School edged out Clitheroe Royal Grammar School 3-2 with a 35-yard free kick from Ben Thompson and a long-range effort from Ben Overton stealing the show.
There have been ten champions crowned and now there are just five to go as we look forward to the final day of the 2016 PlayStation Schools’ Cup Festival tomorrow!