Girls from The Gower School in north London are celebrating after success in the first ever national under 11 girls independent schools football competition, organised with the Football Association (FA), the Independent Schools Association (ISA) and the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).
The under 11 team of Mabel Taylor, Katherine McVicar-Tsang, Ines Oulevay, Lexi Jary, Isabella Jenner, Siena DeHart, Persephone Holloway and Imogen Laxon started off by winning their hotly-contested regional competition at St Nicholas prep school in Essex on 24 May, against schools that had come from as far away as Devon and Somerset. The team remained unbeaten through the group stages, thanks in particular to some strong goalkeeping from Katherine McVicar-Tsang, before winning the final match, having not conceded a single goal through the entire competition.
This strong victory secured The Gower School’s place in the national final, held at St George’s Park in Staffordshire on 24 June. Through the group stage of five matches against schools from Lancashire, Cheshire, Surrey, London and Hampshire, the team won a place in the semi-finals. A tight match here, ending in a draw, led to a penalty shoot-out, won by The Gower School.
The final pitched The Gower School against Royal Russell School from Surrey in a match the Independent Schools Football Association called “an excellent advert for under 11 girls football”. A strong start and an early goal from Siena DeHart put The Gower School in a 1-0 lead, before a very late equaliser from Royal Russell led to a draw at full time. Unfortunately this time the penalty shootout went against the team, making The Gower School the runner-up in the first under 11 national girls independent schools football competition.
Jonathon Barradell, Head of Sport at The Gower School, said “Coming runner-up in a national football competition is proof that The Gower School’s teams are now competition for the best. I am immensely proud of our girls: this success is a tribute to the hard work they have put in over many years to develop their sporting skills and work together as a team, and their support from the whole school. And coming on top of one of our pupils winning the gold medal in the national ISA athletics championships in Birmingham last week, and our own very successful schools sports day recently, it shows how much our students’ determination and skill can achieve”.
For more information about the competition and the Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) see http://www.isfa.org.uk/girls/124-girls/isfa-girls-u11-cup/824-national-finals