Super saints go marching in again

The team celebrates

The team celebrates

First published in Grass Roots news

ST FRANCIS Primary School waited 36 years to win the coveted Jubilee Shield but it only took them 12 months to defend it.

And the Cherry Tree school did it in some style as they became the first school to win every match without conceding a goal.

“It is a wonderful achievement and we are extremely proud,” said delighted headteacher Sharon Thomas.

“To win it back to back is something rarely done but to do it without conceding a single goal was superb.

“As far as I am aware, no school has done that.”

The super Saints, who lifted the trophy last year having not one it since 1974/75, beat Salesbury 1-0 in the final held at St Bede’s High School.

They become only a select few who have won the trophy – regarded as one of the oldest in the country – in consecutive years The Saints success was build on the foundation of a superb defence.

Keeper Mattie Holden did not concede a single goal in open play – and was beaten just once in a penalty shoot-out victory over Blackburn the Redeemer in the semi finals.

St Francis kept clean sheets throughout the preliminary rounds to book their place in the final with seven other schools.

And they did likewise on finals day to top their group with three wins out of three – beating Salesbury, St Peter’s and St Gabriels all by the same 1-0 scoreline.

The holders were given the sternest test in the semi finals when they were held to a 0-0 draw in normal time by Redeemer but then held their nerve to win 2-1 in the shoot-out.

The Saints ability to shut-out the opposition proved vital and when they got their noses ahead in the final against Salesbury, there was only going to be one outcome.

The winning St Francis team included Charlie and Owen Elwood, Mattie Holden, Levi Walker, Callum Wyatt, Frazer Brough, Cameron Austin, Raees Patel, Liam Toole and Harry Bennett-Courland.

Next up for the all-conquering Saints will be attempting to go one better in the Lancashire Cup where they were beaten finalists last year and possibly a special visit from Blackburn Rovers players.

Mrs Thomas added: “We have been working closely with Duncan Kinlock at Blackburn Rovers and we are hoping we can celebrated this fantastic achievement by either visiting the club or getting them to come to the school.

“Either way it would be a fantastic reward for the boys. I would also like to express how grateful I am to all the parents because they have played their part as well, helping out with transport and generally leading their support.”

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