On Friday 6th December 2019, 16 schools from across Merton competed in the Year 5/6 Best Team Football Competition held at Tooting and Mitcham FC. The schools had all qualified from their cluster round by finishing in the top four. Therefore, it was already a fantastic achievement for all those involved to reach this stage.
After a short briefing regarding rules, format of the day and most importantly our REFSPECT campaign all teams were ready and eager to go.
Sacred Heart, SS Peter and Paul, Garfield and William Morris made up the first group on the red pitch and this was by far the closest group out of all four. Matches were very closely contested with Sacred Heart unfortunately missing out on a place in the top two with three tight games each finishing 1 – 0, however with just one in their favour v William Morris. It came down to the final group game between Garfield and SS Peter and Paul with the winner securing top spot and joining William Morris into the last 8. SS Peter and Paul managed a 2 – 0 victory settling the group as follows:
- SS Peter and Paul 6Pts 0GD
- William Morris 4 2
- Garfield 4 -1
- Sacred Heart 3 -1
This group consisted of Bond, Bishop Gilpin, St. Matthew’s and Malmesbury. Another extremely tough group with only one match between Malmesbury and St Matthew’s ending with more than a 1 goal score-line; St Matthew’s winning 3-1. Bond showed some solid defensive displays but just couldn’t find the goal scoring opportunities; all their group games ending with 0-0 results. Leaving Bishop Gilpin to emerge as group winners, though only just with a tense 1-0 victory over St. Matthew’s who had already secured 2nd spot. This group finished as follows:
- Bishop Gilpin 7Pts 2GD
- St. Matthew’s 4 1
- Bond 3 0
- Malmesbury 1 -3
This group was the highest scoring group of the day with 12 goals over the 6 games. Dundonald lead the way in 1st place with 8 goals scored without conceding yet being held to a 0-0 draw against a resilient Hillcross. Hillcross, themselves only missed out on top spot on goal difference with another 2 wins v Singlegate and Gorringe Park leaving them level on points with Dundonald. However the top two proved just too strong for Gorringe Park and Singlegate who themselves showed great determination when they faced each other; this game ending 0-0. The final standings for group C were as follows:
- Dundonald 7Pts 8GD
- Hillcross 7 2
- Gorringe Park 1 -4
- Singlegate 1 -6
The last group consisted of last years Champions Cranmer and REFSPECT winners Wimbledon Chase along with Hatfeild and Lonesome Primary School. Cranmer continued their impressive form from the Morden cluster rounds where they won 7 straight games without conceding with another 3 wins and, yet again, without conceding! Wimbledon Chase followed in 2nd place, only loosing by 0-1 to Cranmer yet picking up victories over Lonesome and Hatfeild by the same scoreline of 1-0. Hatfeild pinched the win over Lonesome to finish 3rd, leaving the group standings as follows:
- Cranmer 9pts 5GD
- W. Chase 6 1
- Hatfeild 3 -2
- Lonesome 0 -4
After a recap on REFSPECT and how well all the children had played during the morning sessions it was time for the afternoon event where teams either played for 9th-16th place of 1st to 8th depending on where they finished in their group.
All four pitches started quickly with teams eager to get the opening games to push for the higher seeding. All schools put everything into these games to get a result in normal time in order to avoid the dreaded penalty shootout. Unfortunately, all four games could not be separated and the best-of-three shootout scenario had to be applied.
The next stage of fixtures saw Bond win their first game of the day convincingly by 3 goals to nil as well as Garfield with a 4-0 win over Singlegate. Sacred Heart won their second successive penalty shootout and Hatfield scraped a 1-0 win over Malmesbury.
In the finals, Sacred Heart finished the highest they could with another win, this time by 2 goals over Hatfeild. Gorringe picked up their first win by 1-0 to leave them in 15th overall and Bond continued their afternoon form winning by a goal to nil over Garfield.
1st – 8th
Another 3 penalty shootouts had to decide the next round of quarter-finals with only Cranmer advancing in normal time with a looping shot the only difference in their match versus Hillcross. Wimbledon Chase, St. Matthew’s and Bishop Gilpin squeezing through on the tense and dreaded spot kicks.
In the Semi Finals, all four games were extremely close. SS Peter and Paul claiming a marginal 1-0 win over Hillcross, Dundonald beating the impressive William Morris and Cranmer keeping their form on track with another win without conceding, this time over St. Matthew’s. But it was down to a shootout, yet again, to decide who progressed to the Gold medal Final. Bishop Gilpin and Wimbledon Chase had both been wonderful all day and neither deserved to lose on penalties, however it was Wimbledon Chase who held their nerve for the second time and tucked away the decisive kick.
Anyone could have predicted that spot kicks may play a part in the last four finals of the day, but not may would have guessed that both medal matches would have to rely on them. Well done to Dundonald and Hillcross for winning their games and finishing an honourable 5th and 7th respectively. But then all attention turned to the other side of Tooting and Mitcham FC where Bishop Gilpin and St. Matthew’s lined up from 8 yards for Bronze whilst Cranmer and Wimbledon Chase did the same for Gold!
All four teams had played almost faultless tournaments with mutual respect for their oppositions and some exceptional team displays, yet the places had to be decided and this year it was the turn of Wimbledon Chase to claim Gold over the reigning champions Cranmer with a 3-1 penalty win and Chase’s 3rd spot kick win of the day! Commiserations to St. Matthew’s also who miss out on a Bronze medal after Bishop Gilpin narrowly claimed the victory.
- Wimbledon Chase
- Bishop Gilpin
- St. Matthew’s
- SS Peter and Paul
- William Morris
- Sacred Heart
- Gorringe Park
A huge congratulations to Wimbledon Chase for becoming Merton Champions for 2019. Also well done to our REFSPECT winners, Lonesome, a fine example of positive sporting behaviours and spirit by offering to shake hands both before and after each of their matches. The games were all played in a great spirit and everyone conducted themselves in line with the REFSPECT campaign which made it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Thank you to Tooting and Mitcham for hosting the event. Finally, a massive thank you to the exceptional sport leaders from Rutlish High School.