Two primary-school teams from Gainsborough covered themselves in glory when representing the town at the Lincolnshire seven-a-sisde county football finals at Skegness.
For both Parish and Saxilby finished in the top five of the prestigious tournament, which was organised by the English Schools FA on the new 3G pitches at Wainfleet Road.
Teams from Boston, Sleaford and Grantham, as well as Skegness, provided stiff opposition for the Gainsborough duo. But Parish were on fire in their qualifying group, producing two high-scoring wins despite missing their star striker, and although they ran out of steam in their last match, losing 2-1, they still made it through to the semi-finals.
Sadly, a poor start, in which they conceded three goals, cost them dear in the semis and although they rallied in the second half, they lost 3-1 and had to be content with a third-place play-off match, rather than the final. However, they quickly put the disappointment behind them and showed a much-improved performance to win.
One of Parish’s players, Alfie Eccleshall, said: “We scored some great goals. I’m hoping we can come back next year and get to the final.”
Meanwhile Saxilby failed to get through their qualifying group, but they still won a play-off for fifth and sixth place.
Both teams won rich praise from schools football supremo John Anderson, who is sporting director and football manager at Parish. “For two teams in Gainsborough to be in the top five in the county is a tremendous achievement and something we should all be proud of,” he said.
On the same afternoon, the Gainsborough Girls’ representative football team acquitted themselves well in a nine-a-side tournament, also run by the English Schools FA, for the best regional teams in the north of England.
They started with a well-earned draw and although they couldn’t add any more points, the standard was very high and the girls can still take credit for the fine football they have played in their first season.
Gainsborough Town Council’s football development officer Hannah Lane said: “The tournament was a great experience for the girls to play against academy-level players. Well done to all involved, particularly new goalkeeper Willow Shaw, who made some great saves.”
Next it was the turn of Benjamin Adlard Primary to fly the colours for the town as the entry in the county’s seven-a-side finals for small schools. Placed in the strongest group, they did extremely well to finish third and went on to win the play-off for fifth and sixth place overall.
The girls’ county seven-a-side finals also brought success for Gainsborough as Parish Primary shared fifth place after a goalless draw in the play-off against Lincoln rivals, Birchwood. They had failed to qualify from their group on goal difference by just one goal, despite a 2-1 victory over one of the pre-tournament favourites. Proud Coach Mr Anderson praised the progress the girls have made, particularly their attitude and willingness to learn.