Secondary school pupils got their chance to shine on the big stage during the Blackburn with Darwen finals day at Ewood Park. 

Three weeks of competition culminated in teams from Years 7-11 getting their chance to play on the hallowed Rovers turf. 

Schools had come through previous rounds at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School and Pleckgate High School and they didn’t disappoint on their grand day out.  

St Bede’s RC High School were the big winners, coming out on top in three of the finals played across two days under the watchful eye of teacher John Turner. 

“It was a great achievement to reach all five finals and to win three of them is great,” said head of PE Mark Ashworth.

“The lads involved were a credit to the school and loved the experience of playing at such a special venue. 

“I would like to thank Andrew Mercer and Phil Eastwood for organising the competitions and Blackburn Rovers for allowing us to use their facilities.  

“A big thank you and well done must also go to Mr Turner who managed all five teams on the day and obviously got the tactics and substitutions right!”

The first final was in Year 10 as St Bede’s took on Westholme School. 

Lancashire Telegraph:

It was St Bede’s who opened the scoring through a Kian Whalley strike but goals from Will Couch, Freddie Pickford and Leighton Wilson secured a deserved victory for a spirited Westholme side. 

It was then the turn of the Year 11s as St Bede’s faced St Wilfrid’s Academy.  

St Bede’s started strongly in what turned out to be a high-scoring match. and met some resistance before running out deserved 11-4 winners. 

Daniel Wyatt’s hat-trick was in vain for St Wilfrid’s who also had James Dempsey on target.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The following day St Bede’s again met Westholme, this time in the Year 7 decider. 

St Bede’s were quick out of the traps and were rewarded with an early goal courtesy of Alex Piper. 

Westholme stayed in the game, cheered on by a large following, however goals in the second half from Dylan Watkinson, Harvey Bancroft and Michal Grunwald made the victory comfortable for St Bede’s despite a late consolation for Westholme from Jonathan Brindle.

The Year 8 final turned out to be the game of the day as St Bede’s took on St Wilfrid’s.

The impressive Lewis Eccles gave St Wilfrid’s an early lead before Joe Carus levelled for St Bede’s only for Eccles to add his second soon after.  

Going in to the final seconds it looked like St Wilfrid’s had their name on the cup until up stepped Declan Harrison to score a dramatic equaliser from the edge of the box to force the game into extra-time.  

Eccles completed his hat-trick with a free-kick before Dylan Watson capped off a fine display with a third equaliser of the day for St Bede’s.  

Just as it looked as if the game was heading for penalties, Eccles scored his fourth goal with the last kick of the game to seal a dramatic victory for St Wilfrid’s.

The Year 9 final was again between St Bede’s and St Wilfrid’s but was a much more one-sided affair.

St Bede’s got their noses ahead early thanks to a towering header from Jayden Riley and from then on they never looked back, running out comfortable 5-0 winners with further goals from Connor McAuley and Taylor O’Kane who both scored twice. 

“I would like to congratulate all of the teams involved in the finals and in particular those who walked away with the cups,” said Andrew Mercer, School Games organiser.

“I would also like to thank the officials, many of whom were students themselves who did a great job overseeing the games.  

“A big thank you goes to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School and Pleckgate High School who allowed us to use their pitches for the early rounds and a massive thank you to Blackburn Rovers, in particular to their Community Trust for their help on the day.  

“Playing on Ewood Park made the day very special and those involved will remember and reminisce on the day for years to come.  

"We will work closely with BRFC and their staff to do everything we can to ensure many more finals are played at such a great venue for years to come.”