THE Forbes Solicitors Football Festival has long cemented its place as the curtain raiser competition for the football season.

Now in its 11th year, the two-day event at Pleasington Playing Fields - which was again organised by Blackburn with Darwen Council - saw teams from across the North West and even as far as Felixstowe in Suffolk head for the Blackburn venue.

And the numbers certainly added up for the competition that was first held at Blacksnape Playing Fields in Darwen more than a decade ago.

Over the two days, a total of 92 teams, 1200 players played more than 200 matches on 20 pitches officiated by a team of 50 referees - including Football League official Simeon Lucas from Darwen who took charge of the senir final.

Then there was the small matter of the 184 footballs that were kicked about in the 48 hour footy festival.

“A lot of planning went in to the event,” said Graham Harris, leisure manager at Blackburn with Darwen Council. “Not only did we create extra pitches to fit in all the games we had to make sure we had enough changing rooms, parking spaces and match officials to keep up with the relentless pace.”

Boys and girls teams from under sevens to under 16s and senior sides battled it out for honours.

While the under sevens and under eights competitions were non competitive, there was plenty at stake in the other age groups.

“The support from Forbes Solicitors helps make it all happen,” added Harris.

“They’re great supporters of grass roots sports and this is a great grass roots football event.

“So together we’re a great team!”

Results - Under Nines: Huncoat Utd 0 Morecambe Youth 6.

Under 10s: Wilpshire Wanderers 2 Clitheroe Wolves 1.

Under 11s: Westhoughton 5 Mill Hill 4 (Westhoughton won on pens).

Under 12s: Rossendale Valley 1 Barrowford Celtic Warriors 2.

Under 14s: Northfield Juniors 2 Northfield AP 1.

Under 15s: Oswald Road 0 Mill Hill FC 2.

Under 16s: Moston Jnrs 0 AFC Darwen 1.

Senior men: Toll Bar beat Briercliff on penalties.