On Friday 1st December sixteen schools from across Merton competed in the Year 5/6 Best Team Football Competition held at Tooting and Mitcham FC. The schools had all qualified from their cluster round by finishing in the top four. Therefore, it was already a fantastic achievement for all those involved to reach this stage.

After a short briefing regarding rules, format of the day and most importantly our REFSPECT campaign all teams were ready and eager to go.

Pool A

Dundoanld, Hillcross, Bond and SS Peter and Paul were all drawn in this pool. The first game saw Dundonald play Hillcross. This game highlighted how close the tournament was going to be as both sides attacked and defended well but it was Hillcross who managed to come away with the points winning 1-0. The second game between Bond and SS Peter and Paul also finished in a close victory with Bond taking all three points with a 1-0 victory, which opened the group up for the remaining games. Dundonald and Bond could only draw against each other, which meant a win for Hillcross against Bond would secure a place in the top half of the draw. This match was end to end once again with Hillcross going 2-0 up in the match. A spirited fightback from Bond could not break down a resolute Hillcross defence and they claimed top spot in the group.

  1. Hillcross

  2. Bond

  3. Dundonald

  4. SS Peter & Paul

Pool B

This group consisted of Gorringe Park, Abbotsbury, Bishop Gilpin and Aragon. This was the tightest group of the morning session. Abbotsbury started the group strongly by winning 3-0 against Gorringe Park. Aragon showed they would be no pushovers by then winning convincingly against Abbotsbury to make sure there was everything still to play for. Bishop Gilpin were equally resolute and were hard to break down, not conceding a goal in the 3 games played, winning two and drawing one. The game of the Pool was between Bishop Gilpin and Gorringe Park. There were plenty of chances, with both teams breaking through on several occasions, only to come up against some excellent goalkeeping and the woodwork. The teams could not be separated and an incredibly entertaining goalless draw was played out be4 tween the top two teams in the group.

  1. Bishop Gilpin

  2. Gorringe Park

  3. Aragon

  4. Abbotsbury

Pool C

The group consisted of Hatfeild, St Mary’s, Cranmer and Beecholme. Hatfeild and St Mary’s played the opening game of the group, with St Mary’s finishing off a wonderful move to take the points 1-0. Cranmer were looking good in the group after their opening 3-0 win against Beecholme. This was all before coming up against a resilient St Mary’s. This game was already looking like the group decider after impressive opening fixtures but there was nothing between the teams as they drew 0-0. Despite an early set back, Beecholme did not let their first game defeat phase them as they recorded a creditable draw with Hatfeild to finish the group stage.

  1. St Mary’s

  2. Cranmer

  3. Hatfeild

  4. Beecholme

Pool D

The group consisted of Liberty, Sherwood, Sacred Heart and Wimbledon Park. Unlike the other groups there was a clear winner here with Wimbledon park proving too strong for all their opponents, winning all three matches. Sacred Heart and Liberty were both strong in defence and Libertys goalkeeper made some excellent saves to keep the game goalless. Liberty found their shooting boots and went on to win their remaining game 2-0 to win the battle for second place. Sherwood played well as a team and continued to improve each game which gave them confidence going into the afternoon fixtures.

  1. Wimbledon Park

  2. Liberty

  3. Sacred Heart

  4. Sherwood

After a recap on REFSPECT and how well all the children had played during the morning sessions it was time for the afternoon event where teams either played for 9th-16th place of 1st to 8th depending on where they finished in their group.


All four pitches started quickly with teams eager to get the opening games to push for the higher seeding. All schools put everything into these games to get a result in normal time in order to avoid the dreaded penalty shootout. Fortunately, all pitches had a result with all the games being won by a single goal.

The next stage of fixtures saw even closer games. Abbotsbury played well as a team to overcome a strong Sacred Heart side and take 10th seed into their final game. Sherwood and Aragon was decided on a penalty shootout, which saw nearly every player take two penalties each! Both teams kept finding the net before one heroic save meant Sherwood took 13th seed into the final game.

Beecholme and Dundonald recorded 2-0 victories in their final games to take the higher of the two seeds. After a close and nail biting game Abbotsbury and Hatfeild went to penalties. Again, Abbotsbury were victorious to take 9th seed.


1st – 8th

Convincing wins for Bishop Gilpin and St Mary’s put them both in strong contention for the favourites crown, although Hillcross and Cranmer were still pushing them as they managed to edge through in tight games, winning their games 1-0. The semi-finals saw two close victories for Cranmer and Bishop Gilpin who won 1-0 against Hilcross and St Mary’s respectively. Meanwhile, Gorringe Park and Bond won their fixtures to ensure they would meet in the 5th/6th playoff.

Wimbledon Park came back after some disappointing results to finish on a high, winning 1-0 to claim 7th spot from Liberty. Bond, who played well throughout, took 5th spot after an enthralling game with a fine finish securing them a 1-0 win. St Mary’s and Hillcross battled for 3rd spot, Hillcross taking an early lead with a fine team goal. St Mary’s were not done there though and showed their quality to get an equaliser. Golden goal could not produce a winner so we went to penalties. After both teams has scored all their penalties, at the end of the second rotation it was decide to call the game a draw and have a joint 3rd finish overall. The final was played in a magnificent spirit, Bishop Gilpin scoring twice early on before Cranmer pulled a goal back to make it a nervous and edgy closing to the match. Bishop Gilpin managed to hang on and were crowned Best Team Football winners for the 2nd year in a row. Final Standings:

  1. Bishop Gilpin

  2. Cranmer

  3. = St Mary’s/Hillcross

  4. Bond

  5. Gorringe Park

  6. Wimbledon Park

  7. Liberty

  8. Abbotsbury

  9. Hatfeild

  10. SS Peter & Paul

  11. Sacred Heart

  12. Dundonald

  13. Sherwood

  14. Beecholme

  15. Aragon

Huge congratulations to Bishop Gilpin for becoming Merton Champions for 2017 again. Also well done to Sherwood REFSPECT winners, a fine example of positive sporting behaviours and spirit. The games were all played in a great spirit and everyone was onboard with the REFSPECT campaign which made it more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Thank you to Tooting and Mitcham for hosting the event and also AFC Wimbledon Foundation staff for supporting the event. Finally, a massive thank you to the exceptional sport leaders from Rutlish High School.

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