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Neil Eckersley, Former Pupil and Theatre Producer

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Bolton School are the U12 Football 8s Cup Champions

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

After a superb season of winning all but three games, the Bolton School U12s began the final week of football by winning the annual MGS 8s championships.

The boys began the tournament by beating Our Lady's School 2-0 in the first game of the group stages. Goals from Philip Robinson and Josh Bowers secured the initial 3 points followed by an immediate change over to play against a very tough and well organised Lymm High School. It was extremely even for most of the game, until the final minutes when Bolton pushed and pushed, and started to put on real pressure. Constant attacks from Bolton forced the Lymm line back and eventually with the literal last kick of the game, Josh Bowers put a close range left foot shot away to win 1-0.

The next group game was against the MGS 'B' team, partially entered to help numbers for the tournament. It was a simple 2-0 win for Bolton with a penalty from Josh Bowers and a second from Harry Stead. The final match in the group stages was against Cheadle Hulme, the only other unbeaten team in the group. Being the only team to play 4 games on the bounce without a break in between, the boys were struggling and went 1-0 down at half time, only to change the whole system for the second half to an ultra attacking style, thankfully bringing the score to 1-1 at full time. With this, Bolton finished as group winners and qualified for the semi-final.

The boys were then given their break in the tournament and had a good hour to rest the legs and work out the game plan for the next match - facing MGS 'A' team in the semi-finals, which proved to be the toughest game yet. Slightly scrappy with chances for both teams throughout the match, the game finished 0-0. This meant going directly to penalties. Josh Bowers and David Leigh converted the first two for Bolton whilst Connor Davies made a fantastic save to keep the score at 2-1. Philip Robinson then stepped up and missed to bring the scores level to 2-2. Kurtis Watson converted a cool strike and it was looking like going to sudden death until Connor Davies, once again, made a strong save to give Bolton the chance to win the match. Harry Stead stepped up and with a stroke of luck after a deflection from the MGS keeper, the ball ended up in the back of net - qualifying Bolton for the final at the expense of Manchester Grammar School.

Then came the final, against Cheadle Hulme for the second time, after the 1-1 group game. Evidentially, the adrenaline from the MGS shootout proved to give the Bolton players an extra level of energy and an all around brilliant team performance ended up with Josh Bowers and Philip Robinson converting chances to finish the game Bolton School 2-0 Cheadle Hulme - crowning Bolton School the 2013 U12 MGS 8s Cup Champions! An excellent day and performance from everyone in involved.

Coach, Mr Chris Windsor, said: ''It was an excellent all around effort from the entire team. They battled hard and worked tirelessly to progress through the championship. However besides a few nervy times, especially the penalty shootout, we looked second to none throughout the whole tournament. Well done boys!''

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Bolton School MGS 8s championships

Bolton School are the U12 Football 8s Cup Champions

Bolton School MGS 8s championships

Harry steps up for the penalty to take Bolton to the final