Lancashire TelegraphSt Leonard’s are crowned schools ‘world’ champions (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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St Leonard’s are crowned schools ‘world’ champions

Lancashire Telegraph: St Leonard’s Langho (representing Uruguay) celebrated their ‘World Cup’ success St Leonard’s Langho (representing Uruguay) celebrated their ‘World Cup’ success

URUGUAY have been crowned World Cup winners and there wasn’t a bite mark in sight!

Pupils from schools across Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley got in to the World Cup spirit – making flags, banners and even wearing T-shirts of their adopted country.

One person flying the flag for their own country was England international goallkeeper Rachel Brown.

The Burnley-born Everton star was on hand to pose for pictures, sign autographs and hand out the winning trophies.

And it was St Leonard’s Langho – playing as Uruguay – who emerged triumphant at a tournament hosted by Accrington Academy.

Just like the real thing in Brazil, the tournament certaiinly had its moments of high drama and St Leonard’s only booked their place in semi finals following a penalty shoot-out victory over Huncoat Primary, playing as Japan.

The Saints then beat St St Mary’s Oswaldtwistle (Netherlands) in the semi finals to set up a final showdown with France - more commonly known as St Huberts.

Netherlands had earlier beaten St Marys Clayton (Switzerland) in the quarter finals and St Anne’s and St Joseph’s (Portugal) in the semi finals.

A total of 32 teams took part in the competition and, just like the World Cup, teams were split in to eight groups of four.

Accrington Academy pupils refereed the matches which were played on eight pitches marked on the field at the school.

In the final, St Leonard’s Langho (Uruguay) beat St Huberts (France), while in the third and fourth place play-off St Anne’s & St Joseph’s (Portugal) beat St Marys Oswaldtwistle (Netherlands) in t Gareth Martindale, assistant school games organiser for Hyndburn and Ribble Valley it was a day of memorable football - made all the more special with the presence of Rachel Brown who once played for Accrington Ladies.

“All the teams really enjoyed the day and it was a fantastic tournament with exciting football being played from everybody,” said Martindale.

“All those who took part should be very proud. A massive thank you must go to all the schools who kindly donated the use of their football goals for the day, the year 13s from Accrington Academy who helped officiate the event and also Accrington Academy themselves who arranged for the 8 pitches to be marked out and used on the day.”

He added: “A fantastic day was made even better with the presence of local girl Everton and England goalkeeper Rachel Brown who was signing autographs, posing for pictures with the teams and also held a Question and Answer session with the children. She also presented the medals to all the winners and even gave two sets of signed goalkeeper gloves to the two final goalkeepers.”

It was a day enjoyed by the teachers also.

Sally Smith from Simonstone said: “It was a good day which all the children enjoyed and the organisation of the matches was good.

“The children also enjoyed the opportunity to meet Rachel Brown and loved getting her autograph.”

And Sharon Ogden from Peel Park added: “The World Cup Event was fantastic, capturing the passion of the World Cup teams played as a chosen country.

“Wearing those colours with pride they showed skill, determination and respect to each other throughout the matches played. It was a pleasure to be part of such a well organised event with 32 schools taking part.”

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