Skills on display as Thanet junior football tournament returns

Trophy for the Upton team

A high level of skill, enthusiasm and competitiveness was in abundance when 25 teams from across Thanet travelled to Upton Juniors in Broadstairs for one of the area’s top football tournaments.

The tenth annual showpiece competition made a welcome return this year after the restrictions of the Covid19 pandemic caused its temporary postponement.

Organised jointly by Upton and the Thanet PasSport (the Thanet Primary Association for School Sports) initiative, there were six trophies to play for.

Teams played in random groups in the first stage and then moved into ability matched groups based on their results for the second stage.

This year’s Super-Saturday Champions Trophy winners were Upton, who topped their initial group following games against St Saviour’s, St Gregory’s, St Ethelbert’s and Birchington.

This meant the team moved into the highest group for the second stage of matches along with Haddon Dene, Chilton, St Peter’s and Palm Bay. With the quality of matches high and the games close, Upton emerged as winners.

The Champions Cup was shared by St George’s and Minster, who had identical results and drew with each other in their group game. Bromstone carried off the Challenge Cup, whilst Garlinge 1 prevailed in the TPSFA Cup and St Ethelbert’s took home the TPSFA Bowl. The prestigious Fair Play Award was also shared by Garlinge 3 and Cliftonville.

All 250 young players received medals after an event that was notable for the excellent sportsmanship that went hand-in-hand with high quality football over a four-hour tournament.

Thanet PasSport Chairman Gary Rees, said: “‘Thanks to the hard work of the Upton Sports Team, aided by the TPSFA committee and the Thanet Primary Association for School Sport, this event was both enjoyable for both players and spectators.

“It was good to see so many children back playing football after such a difficult time for inter-school sport.

“All of the children who played today are winners, in terms of improving their skills and their health and fitness, not to mention the pride of representing their schools.”

Upton’s Deputy Head Dave Walker runs the team with the school’s Sports Coach Callum Noble. He said: “It’s great to win the competition but much more pleasing to have everyone back together again after so long.

“Two years ago big events like this were the norm, but last year particularly a huge number of children across Thanet missed out on the many opportunities available for our schools due to the pandemic.

“Let’s hope we can build on this now and continue to get these events up and running again.”

It is the second major local school football success for Upton so far this school year. They have already won the St Lawrence College trophy following an invitation tournament that also featured a strong field.