Southern Counties Girls' Football Champions

St Mary’s School has enjoyed a very successful sporting season, with teams playing in county finals in tag rugby and girls’ football as well as reaching the William de Ferrers School Sports Partnership finals in tag rugby, cross country, netball, football and various other multi-sports events.

This outstanding season was rounded off by the St Mary’s Girls’ 7-a-side football team winning the Southern Counties Final of the Danone Cup which was hosted by Chelsea FC at their training facilities in Surrey on Monday 30th September.

The team had progressed through several stages to reach the final, only conceding three goals in all of their games. Maintenance work at the Chelsea Training Ground meant the final was delayed until this term and, as many of the girls had moved on to Ormiston Rivers Academy, it was fantastic that the Academy were very supportive of the team. Not only did they give permission for the girls to attend, but they also sent a member of the P.E. staff and provided a school minibus and driver. 

The players were very excited about playing in the Southern Counties Final at such a special venue and the long wait for the day of the final was soon forgotten as the team started the two hour journey to Chelsea.  St Mary’s opponents, however, had a much shorter journey as they were from nearby Crawley in Surrey.

The final consisted of four 15 minute games with a three minute break between each game and the team scoring the most goals by the end becoming the Southern Counties Champions.

Both teams started the first game cautiously, but once the nerves began to settle St Mary’s began creating the better chances and had the greater share of the possession.  The solid defence limited the opposition to few chances and confidence grew. Finally some good interplay between several players led to a goal to St. Marys. At the end of the first game the score was 1-0 with St Marys looking the far stronger team. 

The second game followed a similar pattern with St Mary’s hitting the post and a lob over the keeper bouncing off the crossbar. The Crawley team tried to fight their way back into the game, but once again good defensive play and hard work in midfield kept them at bay. Finally, the breakthrough came with St Mary’s winning the ball in defence, passing quickly to the midfield which provided an excellent ball into the box, where sharp finishing insured a goal. A few minutes later the whistle blew to end the second game with St Mary’s leading 2-0 on aggregate. Both goals had come from excellent team play, but the score was still very close.

St Mary’s opponents made a strong start in the third game, but once again were thwarted by great defensive play and excellent goalkeeping skills. By this stage every member of the squad had played their part and the excellent spirit of the team weathered the storm. A good third goal meant that St Mary’s went into the final game with a well-deserved 3-0 lead.

Forty five minutes of fast play and hard work was beginning to take its toll on both teams. The St Mary’s girls really pushed through their fatigue and the fourth game finally broke the opposition. A fourth goal shook the Crawley team, St Marys pushed on and two quick goals followed. The final whistle blew after one hour of play with the score at 6-0 to St Mary’s. An amazing score for a final!

Coach, Peter Denham said, “We are extremely proud of the team’s achievements. As well as the skill and determination of all the players, it was also their excellent team spirit which carried them to the final and led to them being crowned Southern Counties Primary School Girls’ Champions 2019.”

St Mary’s would like to thank Ormiston Rivers Academy for their support in helping to ensure the team could take part in the final and also for their encouragement of the girls. Credit also goes to William de Ferrers School Sports Partnership, for their excellent programme of events for primary schools, which gave pupils at St Marys and across the Dengie the opportunity to be successful in so many sports.