ISFA U11 SEVEN-A-SIDE TOURNAMENT - NATIONAL FINALS

SENSATIONAL ST. GEORGE'S!

A large crowd enjoyed a wonderful day of football on a glorious sunny day at The FA National Football Centre at St. George’s Park on 10th May.  It proved a very exciting and dramatic tournament with a large number of schools of similar standard and the winners in doubt until the very end.  Any one of 8 or 9 schools looking like possible contenders and the likes of Westbrook Hay,  Dulwich Prep and St. Joseph’s in the Park all impressed before, surprisingly, failing to reach the quarter-finals.

Surprise quarter-finalists were Perse Prep, coming from the East of the country where there is little football in independent schools, and Claremont Fan Court who looked like strong contenders until running out of luck in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out.  Cumnor House succumbed in a Croydon “derby” against Whitgift.  Whitgift, reigning champions for the last two years, yet again showed their ability to get the job done, recovering from a poor start, just a draw from their first two games, to qualify from Group B.  Everybody knew they were the team to beat if the title was to be won.

In the semi-finals, Whitgift were soon 2-0 up against Altrincham Prep but the northerners fought  back impressively, pulled a goal back and then pressed strongly before going down to a narrow defeat.  How they must have regretted that bad start.  Meanwhile, in the other semi-final, Foremarke Hall went ahead against St. George’s, Windsor, and looked to be heading for victory before a late equaliser led to penalties and St. George’s won through.

St. George’s provide the choristers for Windsor Castle so their priorities are often there rather than on the football field and therefore they had perhaps been overlooked as potential winners.   However, they played fine football throughout the day and the Final turned out to be an absolute cracker – certainly the best game of the day.  Whitgift pressed from the start, hitting the post and looking in dominant form but, with almost their first serious attack, Elliot Dudko opened the scoring for St. George’s with a wonderful individual goal, fit to grace any Cup Final. 

In a thrilling second half, Whitgift threw everything at the St. George’s goal but St. George’s were always dangerous, hitting the woodwork three times.  In the closing moments, Whitgift looked set for a certain equaliser but somehow Nicholas Pierce produced a miraculous goal-line clearance and, moments later, the ball was played through to Dudko who lobbed the goalkeeper to score a second goal for St. George’s, clinch the victory and cue delirious scenes of celebration.

Her Majesty would surely have been amused!

Photographs courtesy of RWT Photography. These and other photographs of the tournament can be ordered from www.rwt-photography.co.uk or by ringing 01733 204445.

Full List of Results

The following schools qualified for the Finals

ALTRINCHAM PREP, Manchester 
BEDALES SCHOOL, Petersfield, Hampshire
BERKHAMSTED PREP SCHOOL, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
BISHOPSGATE SCHOOL, Englefield Green, Surrey
CLAREMONT FAN COURT SCHOOL, Surrey
CUMNOR HOUSE SCHOOL, Croydon, Surrey
DULWICH PREP, London
FOREMARKE HALL SCHOOL, Derbyshire
LAMBROOK SCHOOL, Ascot, Berkshire 
PERSE PREPARATORY SCHOOL, Cambridge
QUEEN ELIZABETH HOSPITAL, Bristol
ST. BEDE'S COLLEGE, Manchester
ST. GEORGE'S SCHOOL, Windsor Castle
ST. JOSEPH'S IN THE PARK, Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire
THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL AT LEEDS
THE NEW BEACON SCHOOL, Sevenoaks, Kent
WESTBROOK HAY SCHOOL, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
WHITGIFT SCHOOL, Croydon, Surrey



PREVIOUS WINNERS

2012-13 RGS The Grange, Worcester
2013-14 Bury Grammar School
2014-15 Whitgift
2015-16 Whitgift
2016-17 St. George's School, Windsor

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