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Futsal Finals

County winners
Posted by: allan

On Tuesday 27th March 2018 Durham County Schools FA staged the inaugural County Futsal Finals at Sport Central, Northumbria University.

Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey sized goals and a size 4 Futsal ball with a reduced bounce. It is played to touchlines and all players are free to enter the penalty area and play the ball over head-height. Games are 20 minutes per half with time-outs permitted. The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.

Throughout the 2017-18 season Chester-Le-Street SFA, Bishop Auckland SFA, East Durham SFA and Gateshead SFA staged intra-association futsal competitions at U12, U14 and U16 age categories to provide an association representative for the DCSFA finals.

In the U12 competition Tanfield School and Cardinal Hume School met in the final after respective semi-final wins over Durham Johnston and Shotton Hall. When Cardinal Hume met Tanfield in the quarter-finals of the Crompton and Harrison Cup (football) earlier in the season the Gateshead school ran out 9-3 winners and went into the final as favourites. However, Tanfield performed extremely well and were clinical in front of goal as they cruised to a 7-1 win to become the first ever U12 County futsal champions.

The U14 competition Whickham School and North Durham Academy reached the final with semi-final victories over Staindrop and Shotton Hall Academy. The finalists were evenly matched with very little between the two sides, but it was Whickham who managed to see out the closing minutes to win the game 5-4 and, in the process, become the U14 County winners.

The U16 games were very competitive with lots of technical ability on display and it was North Durham Academy who won the competition with an 8-4 win against Staindrop and a 7-4 win against runners-up Heworth Grange School. It is interesting to note that both North Durham Academy and Heworth Grange School have been working with FA National League Club, Durham Futsal Club over the last 12-18 months to develop futsal in the school curricular and extra-curricular programme.

Across all three age groups there were some impressive performances, some fantastic goals and a lot of outstanding goalkeeping. The games were all played at a fast pace and players displayed a lot of technical quality to deal with the ball under pressure in tight areas of the court. This all bodes well for the future of the sport in a school setting. Tanfield, Whickham and North Durham Academy will all progress to the regional round of the FA Youth Futsal Festival in May where they will represent Durham FA.

DCSFA would like to thank the competition sponsors The Education Network for generously providing the finalists with medals and to Inspiro Futsal for donating the match balls. Thanks also go to Laura Pye at Durham FA for helping to provide the match officials and to Phil Hunter and the staff at Northumbria University Sport for providing a world-class facility for the finals.

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