On Tuesday 12th October 2021 The Raynes Park Cluster Y5/6 Girls Football Competition took place at Old Ruts Sports Ground. With it not being possible to host the girls football competition for over a year, the atmosphere was full of excitement, and the players were greeted with fantastic sunny and dry conditions, perfect for some free flowing football.

With each of the 11 Raynes Park Cluster Schools being represented, the teams were placed into a round robin format in two separate groups, with the winners of each group playing each other in a final game to decide the overall victors.

The quality of football on display across all of the 4 pitches was absolutely fantastic throughout the tournament, and it was brilliant to see all the girls play with such passion and with a smile on their face. In addition to this all schools demonstrated a real essence of sportsmanship and respect for their opponents and were gracious in both victory and defeat.

In group 1, West Wimbledon although unable to claim a victory, played with real heart and determination, with a few of the girls coming extremely close to scoring some well worked goals, if it wasn’t for the watertight defence created by the opposition. Their best result came in a hard fought draw with an impressive Sacred Heart team. Sacred Heart, proved to be extremely consistent drawing 4 of their 5 matches, and the girls really improved their performances as the matches went on, culminating In a hard fought draw with eventual 2nd place finishers of the group Hatfeild. Joseph Hood, were equally impressive, with their best result coming in a 3-0 victory over West Wimbledon. Two of the girls came from some superb interplay and passing by the girls in the midfield to get the ball up to the strikers to score. Aragon played with real grit and determination and did not lose a game in the group stages by drawing 3 games and winning 1. 2nd place Hatfeild managed to score a hugely impressive 3 goals in two of their matches, with a few of these coming from a thunderous strike into the top corner on the edge of the box. Group 1 winners Hollymount were hugely impressive, netting an unbelievable 12 goals in 4 matches, with many of these coming from their star striker. Credit must also be given to the girls in defence, who worked tirelessly to ensure no goals were scored against them in the group stages. Hugely impressive!

In group 2, Poplar B played with real determination with the girls gaining in confidence in each of their games. Their best result came in a tough 0-0 draw with the girls of St John Fisher, with both teams nearly managing to score the all important winner. St John Fisher’s stand out performance came in a fantastic 3-0 victory over Poplar A team. Poplar A did not lose a game in the group stages, drawing 2 and winning 3 matches. In both of their victories over arch rivals Poplar B and Merton Park, they scored an impressive 3 goals in each match. Merton Park, began the tournament extremely well with the girls winning one of their opening matches 5-0. The goals were extremely well worked with the girls really moving the ball well into the space for the strikers to attack. St Matthew’s who finished 2nd in the group proved to be a real threat by winning three of their matches 3-0 and drawing the remaining games. Group 2 winners Hillcross, started slowly but consistently, winning their opening matches 1-0, but quickly gained in confidence and put in a hugely impressive display against Poplar B to win the match 6-0.

After the group stages had taken place, a round of remaining matches took place between the two groups to find top 3 schools. The battle for 3rd Place went down to the wire between Hatfeild and St Matthew’s Primary with it being 0-0 at normal time. Therefore penalties were required to separate the teams, with St Matthew’s just coming out on top to clinch the winner to send them into 3rd place. Huge commiserations to the girls of Hatfeild who played extremely well all tournament. The battle for 1st place was between arguably the most consistent teams of the tournament, Hollymount and Hillcross. Unfortunately for Hollymount their star striker who had proved so effective in the group stages was unable to play due to picking up an injury, and this proved decisive as the girls from Hillcross were able to create their best performance of the tournament to win this game and take the crown of Raynes Park Cluster Y5/6 Girls Football Champions for 2021. Huge commiserations to the girls from Hollymount who again played with real class throughout the competition.

A huge congratulations to the top 4 teams (1. Hillcross, 2. Hollymount, 3. St Matthew’s, 4. Hatfeild) that will go on to represent the Raynes Park Cluster in the girls Football Borough Finals later in the year. A huge well done must also go to Aragon Primary who were awarded the Refspect award for their outstanding sportsmanship throughout the competition. Well done girls! A final big thank you must also go to the Y10 boys from Rutlish School who gave up their time to officiate the matches. Thank you boys.

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