Support through Sport UK's Claire Allen went along to the recent British Blind Sport football tournament ...
Saturday 10th May 2014 saw the British Blind Sport Youth VI Football Tournament take place at the Futsal Arena in Birmingham. Five teams from across the country competed in the junior and teenage competitions for a place in the finals, which were held at the end of the day. Teams were fielded from Arsenal Football Club, Newcastle Football Club, Moorend, North West Scorpions and New College Worcester.
A fantastic atmosphere brought excitement to the competition, with all the sides playing competitive football to a very high standard (exceptional skills being displayed by some of the competitors).
The day began with the heats for the two age groups - the juniors (ranging from 7 to 12) and the teens (13 to 17). There was some great play, coupled with some fantastic sportsmanship. The determination from all of the teams' players to win made for some highly enjoyable viewing. The tournament favourites, the Scorpions, quickly established themselves as the teams to beat, with Arsenal and Newcastle following closely behind.
In the junior competition, the Moorend and Arsenal teams competed for third place, and the Scorpions and Newcastle competed for first place. For the teens, the first place match was between the Scorpions and Arsenal. The finals were hugely exciting, the crowds of friends and families really getting into the spirit and cheering and encouraging their teams on. In the junior competition, Arsenal beat Moorend 2-1 to secure third place and the Scorpions beat Newcastle 3-1 and so continue their reign as junior champions. In the teen competition, the Scorpions beat Arsenal 8-1 to secure the title.
All the teams played so fantastically well, and special mentions should go to John Scott, Jimmy Foster and Callum Corkin from Newcastle; Haroon from Moorend; Glediano Ndreu and Jay Start from Arsenal; Finn and Felix from New College Worchester, and Adam Briscoe, Jack Pearce, Shannon Pack, Daniel Bundred and Bailey Pack for their skillful gameplay and excellent sportsmanship.
The medals were awarded by British Blind Sport, aided by special guests Tony Larkin (ex-Team Manager of the England and GB Paralympic Blind Football Squad and the England Partially Sighted Squad), Darren Harris (former England and GB player), John McDougal (Vice Captain of the England Partially Sighted Football Squad) and Phil Bown (of TNT Express UK).
There was great support for all the players and a special mention should go to Janet Ford from Wooden Spoon.
It was an absolutely fantastic, electric day, which I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. It was wonderful to see such talent on display and it was great to witness the palpable excitement from the young players. I look forward to hearing more about these skillful players in the future.