On Tuesday 17th November the Raynes Park Cluster Girls Year 5/6 Football Tournament took place at Raynes Park High School. With girls from 10 cluster schools competing in the tournament it was evident that all schools were eager to win the competition and progress to the Borough Finals.

The tournament was structured with two groups of teams with the top two teams from each group going through to represent the Raynes Park Cluster at the Borough Finals on November 24th 2016. In both groups the first few rounds of matches were very cagey affairs with all teams taking a couple of matches to fine tune their shooting skills as well as finalising their attacking and defensive patterns.

Some standout performances in Group 1 came from Merton Park who put an impressive four well worked team goals past a dogged Aragon side. In addition to this, St Matthew’s just got the better of West Wimbledon in an extremely tense match by scoring the decisive goal deep into the final quarter of the match to win the game 1-0. In Group 2 Poplar demonstrated some impressive form throughout the group stages. Their best performance came in a commanding four goal victory against a Sacred Heart side that were unlucky to net a few goals of their own due to the pressure they put the Polar keeper under in the last few minutes of the match. Sacred Heart did however recover extremely well to finish second in the group over all winning two games and drawing the other against an equally committed St John Fisher side. Furthermore, Hatfield found the net three times against a resolute Joseph Hood, with two sublime goals that were the by-product of some relentless attacking pressure.

Although score lines throughout the group stages were not gigantic this did not detract from some of the quality of football on display from all teams in regards to both attacking play and unwavering defensive performances. The final standings and top two Borough qualifications for both groups were as follows.

 Group 1

1st Merton Park

2nd Hillcross

3rd St Matthew’s

4th West Wimbledon

5th Aragon


Group 2

1st Poplar

2nd Sacred Heart

3rd Hatfeild

4th St John Fisher

5th Joseph Hood

Congratulations must go to Merton Park, Hillcross, Poplar and Sacred Heart who all qualified for the Borough Final being staged at Tooting and Mitcham F.C on the 24th of November. To conclude this tournament and finalise each teams overall finishing positions a final round of fixtures were played. Joseph Hood managed to secure 9th place with two fantastic team goals against Aragon with West Wimbledon putting in a battling performance to finish with a respectable 7th place finish overall. St Matthew’s C of E finished in 5th place over an unlucky Hatfeild side, who defended admirably throughout the match but were unable to withstand the constant pressure around the goal that the girls of St Matthew’s put them under and therefore conceded a crucial late goal.

Hillcross saved their best performance till last and scored an impressive two goals to down an equally committed Sacred Heart team. Hillcross second goal came from a sensational strike from outside the area, smashing high into the top corner of the net – fantastic technique.

The final was contested between the two top finishing sides in each of the two groups and had arguably demonstrated some of the most clinical football throughout the tournament. At the end of normal time both Merton Park and Polar wear deadlocked on 0-0. Therefore, penalties were required to decide the winners. Both teams showed superb technique and composure during the early stages but it was Poplar who managed to score all three penalties and therefore won the match. Commiserations to Merton Park as they were fantastic throughout the tournament. There unfortunately can only be one winner and it was the turn of the girls from Poplar to be crowned Cluster Champions of 2016- superb effort, well done!

In summary the competition was a great success with all players performing to the best of their abilities and with a fantastic attitude and sportsmanship. In light of this year’s REFSPECT campaign, when the nominations had been counted from all of the competing schools, St Matthews were judged by all teams to have displayed admirable sportsmanship and respect throughout the tournament and were therefore this competitions REFSPECT winners – well done girls!

One final thankyou needs to be given to Raynes Park High School for the use of their facilities and the use of their Sports Leadership Team who were outstanding and officiated very well to enable the tournament to run smoothly.

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