A girls football team at a Morpeth school has enjoyed a tremendous season – with county success and reaching the final four of a national competition.
The group of Year 7 pupils at Newminster Middle School and Technology College was among more than 170 teams in the English Schools Football Association Under 12 Girls National Cup.
After beating schools in Alnwick, North Tyneside, Bishop Auckland and Hartlepool to reach the quarter-finals, they travelled to St Mary’s College in Hull in May and beat their opponents 6-3.
As the semi-final fixture against Thomas Telford School in Telford and Wrekin was scheduled for last Wednesday, June 7, the team travelled down the afternoon before for an overnight stay.
On the day, the girls performed really well only to ultimately lose to a strong side that has a host of club academy players. The Telford school has dedicated coaching staff and a director of football.
The Year 7 girls and a couple of players from Year 8 made up the Newminster U13s girls football squad that competed in the Northumberland Schools Football Association U13 Girls Malcolm Berry County Cup. Both teams received sponsorship from UNISON.
After qualifying from their group, they beat a team from St Thomas More Roman Catholic Academy in the quarter-finals and Ponteland Middle School in the semi-finals.
Newminster then beat a team from Valley Gardens Middle School, Whitley Bay, in the final on penalties.
Lisa Culling – higher level teaching assistant, UNISON steward and coach of the team – said “The girls are a fantastic group and it has been a pleasure to coach them this season.
“I am extremely proud of them and what they have achieved and it has been amazing to see how much confidence they have gained from their results.”
She added: “It was fantastic to win the county competition and what a dramatic way to win the final after it finished 1-1 at full-time and the end of extra time.
“Valley Gardens also had a strong team and the game could have gone either way.
“We’ve used a vehicle from WATBus (based in Ashington) for our away trips and we’ve had the same driver, Ken, who has been great as he has shown a real interest in their achievements.
“The girls enjoyed going to Hull and Telford. I organised a quiz, bingo and other games to keep them entertained on the bus and it was a great experience for them to play at the Thomas Telford School, which has state-of-the-art facilities.