A TEAM of young farmers did themselves proud against fellow competitors from across the country, writes Kate Foley.
The seven representing Cambo Young Farmers Club (YFC) – Craig Steel, Ben Ballatine, James Walby, Adam and Ian Grieve, Sam Walton and Dan Thompson – were playing in the national federation’s football five-a-side finals in Stafford.
They flew the flag for Northumberland’s YFCs after winning the county competition and finishing runners-up in the northern area tournament.
Accompanied by nine other dedicated young farmers from Northumberland, they travelled down on the Saturday as it enabled the group to attend Staffordshire YFC’s ‘Big Bash Summer Ball’.
A sharp start on the Sunday saw the group arrive at the ground shortly after nine in shorts, wearing sun cream, and not suffering too much from the excesses of the night before. Northumberland began their league matches with a stylish 3-0 win over Shropshire, with Walton scoring two and Adam Grieve the other.
Penbrooke were the next challengers to be seen off. Two goals from Adam, an excellent save from Steel and a near miss from Walby making for a more exciting game than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.
The final league opponents were Wix YFC, and this match saw Adam Northumberland’s only scorer once again, but this time the other side sneaked an equaliser.
The 1-1 result left Northumberland equal on points with Wix but ahead on goal difference so they progressed to the next round at the top of their league.
By the semi-final against Carmarthenshire took place, the temperature was heading for 30 degrees. Walton hit the woodwork twice but neither team managed a goal and the match went to penalties after extra time.
At this point perhaps Northumberland’s luck ran out as their opponents won the spot kick contest and went on to beat Wix for the national title.
The third-fourth play off match was against Cumbria’s Rafton Head.
They took an early lead but Northumberland fought back and a goal from Walton made it 1-1. However, a goal in the final minute gave Rafton Head victory and Northumberland finished in fourth place overall.