On Friday, 24th March at Dixie Grammar School, ISA hosted the National Under 11 Football Finals. Teams who had battled their way through their regional rounds, travelled from all seven regions, to continue their bid to become national champions. The venue, prepared by the ex-Wembley Groundsman was in pristine condition, creating a national standard playing surface, rather apt for a national finals.
Each team was drawn in to one of four groups and then depending on their eventual position, qualified for either the cup, plate or bowl so as to ensure them lots of playing time. There was early promise from defending champions, Lady Barn House who started strongly in the defence of their title. Also emerging from the groups were Sherborne House and Oakfield Prep, each unbeaten on their way to qualifying impressively to the Cup.
As the day moved forward into the afternoon stages, the sun began to spring from behind the clouds, allowing for the 200+ spectators to watch in warmth and enjoy the high level of football on display. Alleyn Court, consistent throughout, scored a last-minute equaliser against a talented Argyle House; having been awarded a free kick near the halfway line, their midfielder struck the ball with venom and watched as the ball rose in to the top corner…what a goal!
Eventually, the competition reached the final stages and it was two London South teams who earned a place in the final. Oakfield Prep squeezed past a skilful Highclare team to reach the Cup final. Joining them in the match, played on “Wembley” was St Faith’s at Ash who, having finished 2nd in their initial group, got better as the day went on. It had been a long day for both teams, playing many minutes of intense 5 a-side football, so the final was a real test of stamina. Both teams showed exactly why they were the top two teams in the country, displaying both skill and teamwork throughout the final. As the match progressed, it was the team from Ash in Kent that proved their strength and went on to become National Champions! Congratulations also to Hull Collegiate who won the battle of the North and beat Argyle House to 3rd place.
Well done to all teams who took part on Friday, it really was an excellent achievement for all teams who had qualified and earned their place as one of the top 24 teams in the country.
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