Why win just one cup when you can win two?
That was the mentality of the sporting stars at a Jarrow primary school, and it’s certainly paid off! The school community is currently celebrating kicking off the new year with a duo of fantastic football cup wins.
St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, is celebrating after the Year 5/6 girls’ team won the Durham County Cup, with the Year 5/6 mixed football team scooping the EFL Kids Cup the very next day.
The calm before the score
First, the Year 5/6 girls’ team represented South Tyneside in the Durham County Cup at the Riverside, Chester-le-Street in December. Despite the extremely wet conditions (typical December!) the girls competed against eight teams representing Sunderland, Durham, South Tyneside and Gateshead.
The determined squad played three group matches and, not only did they win all three, but they didn’t even concede a goal! There are a few Premier League teams who could learn a lesson, or five, from this…
After winning the semi-final without breaking a sweat, they progressed through to the final against Rickelton (Washington). They comfortably led 1-0 but, with only seconds to go, Rickelton equalised and the game went to penalties.
Despite the pressure and tension, the girls still emerged victorious and won the Durham County Cup.
The budding Lionesses will now travel to Liverpool and represent County Durham in the national northern finals later in the spring term, with the aim of progressing to the national finals, which, wait for it… will be held at a Premier League ground!!!
The standard of football was extremely high but the team still triumphed!
PE co-ordinator and Year 6 teacher Maddy Wiblin could not be prouder of the girls.
“The girls have made a fantastic start to the season,” she said. “They are unbeaten in all competitions but they knew that this would be their toughest test yet. Despite the torrential rain, the girls remained focused, committed and stuck together as a team to lift the County Cup – matching the success of the boys’ team, who lifted the boys County Cup in May.
“It is a very rare achievement for a small primary school to win both County Cups in the same year. The girls are now so excited to travel around the country to take part in the next round of this prestigious competition.”
It didn’t stop there. The triumphant girls inspired the mixed team to win the EFL Kids Cup run by the Foundation of Light the very next morning.
The team travelled to Downhill Football Hub in Sunderland to compete against 38 other primary schools from the local area.
The standard of football was extremely high and the team played incredibly well in their group matches, winning three matches and drawing one. The team progressed through to the semi-final, where they were unlucky to draw 0-0, sending the game to a penalty shootout.
St Matthew’s won and dribbled their way through to the final against Fulwell Juniors. The match was very close and St Matthew’s fell behind to a super strike, making it 1-0.
Just when it looked like it was all over, the team captain (Jamie Steele) sent a beautiful ball through the middle to the striker (Joey Greenwood), who confidently slotted home to equalise, sending the game to another penalty shootout.
Again, it was close, but after Fulwell missed, team winger Lewis Roberts fired home to win the cup for St Matthew’s. Victorious!
This is only the beginning
Next up, the team will travel to Sheffield and represent Sunderland AFC in the northern finals, with the aim of progressing through to play at the one-and-only Wembley in May.
Miss Wiblin, who coaches the Year 5/6 mixed team, said: “They were brilliant from start to finish. They never give up, always playing for each other and showing superb team work to ensure that the team made it to the final and then win the cup.
“They are a very talented team, with many players playing at county level, so we knew we had a good chance to succeed. They are so excited to travel to Sheffield in the next round and compete at an even higher level. We know that they will try their very best.”
Excellent work from everybody involved! If only there was an option to include all of you in our FPL squad…