ST BEDE’S underlined its ability to unearth football talent after producing its second national girls football champions in three years.
After the Blackburn school were crowned Under 13s winners in 2011, the super Saints are celebrating national success again after winning the English Schools’ Football Association PlayStation Under 15 Schools’ Cup for Girls.
Held at Reading Football Club’s Madejski Stadium, St Bede’s got their hands on the trophy after coming out on top in a 10-gaol thriller against Fullbrook School, from Woking.
St Bede’s, captained by England ace Brenna McPartlan, took the game to their opponents from the kick-off and after their early pressure paid off when Gabrielle Taylor opened the scoring after just three minutes.
However, the Saints were stunned by a three goal salvo from their Surrey opponents who raced to a 3-1 lead.
Although the Blackburn team were reeling by Fullbrook’s fightback they refused to panic and, crucially, got a foothold in the final when Katie Dudgeon pulled a goal back right on the stroke of half time.
It proved to be a turning point for St Bede’s who didn’t look back in the second half – scoring five fantastic goals without reply.
They picked up exactly where they left off in the second half as within a minute, Katie Samuels raced through to level the scores.
The turnaround was then complete as Rachel Wood fired home following a corner to spark wild celebrations among the team.
Now it was Fullbrook’s turn to chase the game and as they tried to find a route back into the game, St Bede’s took advantage of the gaps that began to appear.
Alicia Johnson made it 4-2 then a brace from Gabrielle Taylor to complete her hat-trick gave the scoreline an emphatic look.
The final was part of the PlayStation Schools’ Cup Festival, which was the culmination of this season’s exciting partnership between PlayStation and the ESFA.
A total of 15 finals from under 12s to under 15s secondary school age groups, featuring both boys’ and girls’ teams, took place across three days at the home of the Championship side.
Representatives from both PlayStation and the ESFA were on hand to present the trophy and medals to St Bede’s, who celebrated their success in front of friends, family and fellow pupils.
As well as getting their hands on the trophy, the team had a day to remember as they not only had the opportunity to play on the pitch at a professional stadium, but also have their pre-match team talk in the dressing room.
During the game, the team were cheered on by their travelling contingent who were treated to PlayStation®4 gaming experiences, a half-time crossbar challenges and prize giveaways provided by PlayStation.
n The partnership between PlayStation and the English Schools’ FA (ESFA) has been set up to provide a boost to grassroots football and help increase the engagement in competitive football for secondary school age categories. A host of PlayStation Schools’ Cup competitions have been staged in the 2013/14 season and have involved nearly 2,000 schools and 100,000 participants.