The 12th annual 7-a-side Matthew Clarke Football Tournament; a partnership project between Trust Thamesmead, Thamesmead Town Football Club and Thamesmead primary schools, held in memory of former St John Fisher pupil and under 10s team member of Thamesmead Town Football Club, who sadly died of cancer 11 years ago, took place at Woolwich Polytechnic yesterday, Thursday 10 June.
The event saw 12 Thamesmead primary schools; that's 120 pupils including subs-the most to ever take part in the event-competing against each other to win the prestigious cup prize.
It was a tournament with a twist taking on a FIFA 2010 World Cup theme to co-inside with today's World Cup kick-off. You may remember back in December the Trust held a World Cup draw which the primary schools attended-each leaving with the name of the World Cup country they would be representing, together with a flag and a book on the country they went on to study as part of their curriculum.
Trust Thamesmead's Community Development Manager David Stone said: “Despite the rain there was a fantastic turnout and great atmosphere. There were more parents/supporters than in previous years and the World Cup theme appeared to galvanise the young people, whose passion and enthusiasm was clearly evident.”
Thirty x6 minute group matches took place on two 7-a-side astro turf pitches. Although group two ended with a clear winner, the group's runners up were undecided with two teams drawing one goal each, leading to penalties. “It was nail biting stuff,” said Trust Thamesmead's Marketing and Communications Officer Julia Hickson. “Every child, every teacher and every parent and sibling who attended yesterday wanted their team to win. The passion and drive in the children especially was amazing.”
The four teams who went on to play 10 minutes worth of football in the semi finals were:
• Winners of Group A Jubilee (Brazil) v
Runners up of Group B Hawksmoor (Mexico)
• Winners of Group B St Margaret Clitherow (Germany) v
Runners up of Group A Parkway (France)
With Parkway and Jubilee making the final.
Before the finals took place pupils from Discovery, Thamesmead's newest primary school which opened in 2008, took place. Julia said: “Children at Discovery school are still too young to take part in the Matthew Clarke Tournament which sees 9-11 year olds taking part, but we didn't want them to feel left out, so we came up with the idea of an exhibition match. There were lots of ‘Ooohs' and ‘Aaahs' as the 5-8 year olds kicked the ball and run their little hearts out.” They, along with each of the other 120 pupils who took part yesterday were awarded a cup for taking part, with the semi finalists and finalists going on to take home other awards.
There was also a jaw-dropping performance by ex-Arsenal youth team player, three-times Guinness World Record holder and star of 2008's Britain's Got Talent Jeremy Lynch, who performed his free-styling skills to the crowd. Julia said: “The kids loved him; I wouldn't be surprised if they tried out some of his skills in the playground today.”
We can announce the winners of the Matthew Clarke Football Tournament 2010 is…Jubilee (Brazil), who raised the winning cup, which was awarded by Charlton and Liverpool goalkeeper legend Bob Bolder, who is now a Community Officer at Charlton Athletic Community Trust. Each pupil on the winning team also received a copy of Green Umbrella's Destination South Africa deluxe 4 disc DVD box set which features the best goals and star players including the likes of Messi, Kaka, Torres, Gerrard and Rooney in action from all the qualifying teams of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
So Brazil won Thamesmead's World Cup-could it be a prediction?