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School Football Festival Attracts 120 Teams

Thursday, 01 May 2014

Taking place over two days, Bolton School’s Football Festival for Primary Schools, run in conjunction with Bolton Wanderers’ Community Trust, gets bigger and bigger with, this year, over 120 teams taking part!

Match Day One saw 40 teams comprising Year 3 and 4 pupils take part in a football festival aimed at building youngsters’ skills and enjoyment of the game. Judging by the vigour, passion and enjoyment shown on the day, the event was a resounding success. Six-a-side teams played a series of fixtures in their “World Cup” groups where scores were not recorded and the emphasis was on fun as much as competitiveness. Each girl and boy that took part in the day received a certificate for playing.

Match Day Two was an even bigger event and involved over 80 teams of girls and boys from Years 5 and 6 from over 40 local primary schools, who took part in an A Team Knockout, B Team Knockout and a Girls’ Competition; all matches running simultaneously on 16 pitches.

The annual celebration of football at Bolton School provides a real boost for grassroots football, encouraging youngsters to get involved in the sport who may not already be signed up to a local club.  The event, known as the Crusader Cup, has been running for several years and is organised by the School’s Football Coach, former Wanderers’ goalkeeper Keith Branagan and staff and Bolton Wanderers’ Community Trust. The games were refereed by Senior School football players and Wanderers’ ISS students.

This year's A competition winner was Eagley who overcame SS Osmund & Andrew’s RCPS 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw in the final.  Eagley girls were not to be outdone by the boys and completed a double for the school by winning the Girls’ Competition, beating St Thomas Chequerbent 2-1. The B Competition was another tightly fought final which went to a penalty shoot out.  After a 0-0 draw, Lostock triumphed 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out over St Thomas Canterbury.  All finalists received a medal, and each category winner took away an impressive cup.

Keith Branagan, delighted at how well the festival had gone, said: “This has been the busiest year yet so it is pleasing to know that children still love playing football; I was particularly delighted to see 200 girls taking part in 20 teams this year in the Years 5 and 6 tournaments.  Altogether, there were 800 players and probably twice this amount of parents on site, offering encouragement to their children.  A really great sight to see!”

There was an added surprise benefit for the winners of the A Competition and the Girls' Competition, who will go on to represent Bolton in the Greater Manchester Schools’ Football Competition on 11 June at Whalley Range.

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Eagley Primary School, the A Team Competition winner

Eagley Primary School, the A Team Competition winner

200 girls in 20 teams took part in the Year 5 and 6 Competition, Eagley came out on top

200 girls in 20 teams took part in the Year 5 and 6 Competition; pictured here are finalists Eagley and St Thomas Chequerbent

In the early stages 16 matches took place simultaneously in order to get through all the games