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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 1992

Houghall College (Durham College of Agricultural and Horticulture) was used as the residential base with the matches being played on the first class pitches within the college grounds.

The first round of matches on Monday afternoon saw Reading and South Tyneside immediately emerge as possibly the two strongest teams at the Festival. Reading defeated Newcastle 5-0 and South Tyneside were 6-2 winners over Chester-le-Street. The most entertaining game was Blackheath versus Hartlepool some excellent goals from both sides resulting in a 5-3 win for Blackheath.

In the evening the Opening Ceremony was held in the Conference Hall at Houghall College. After a welcome from Mr R lan Swan, Chairman of Durham County Mr David Lailey addressed the assembled Festival residents and said how pleased he was that the ESFA had returned to Houghall having previously held international selection and coaching courses here some years ago. Mr Jim Morrow, ex England Schools Under 15 Team Manager and now Youth Development Officer for Sunderland AFC was the guest speaker. He recounted some of his experiences in his time as England Manager and gave the boys some sound advice on what to during the next season they might be approached to sign Schoolboy forms for a League Club. He urged the boys to seek the advice of their school teachers, association team managers and to think about the benefits of joining a local team. These two points are also made in the advice given in the ESFA Handbook. Mr Morrow also presented the captain of each team with certificates for each boy to commemorate their participation in the Festival. Finally Mr Phil Dodd of Houghall College welcomed everyone to Houghall and invited anyone who was interested to the gardens of the Horticultural College.

The second days matches saw Peterborough earn a creditable 3 - 3 draw with South Tyneside having drawn 2-2 with Sunderland on the first day. Blackheath were involved in a high scoring game this time losing to North Tyneside 4 - 3. The best game was a keenly contested 1 - 1 draw between Derwentside and Bishop Auckland. Mr George Courtney delighted an audience of boys when he sat and chatted to them during his lunch.

Tuesday evening saw a sports quiz run by some of the parents in residence. A group of boys from Reading were victorious. The staff (both residential and non-residential) were the guests of the Chairman of Durham County Council, Councillor Terrence. This grand gentleman of eighty-two made a marvellous impression on the assembled party. He had made a parachute jump for charity the previous week. Mr David Lailey replied and thanked the County Council generous support of the Festival and presented Councillor Terrence with a gift from the ESFA.

It rained very heavily during the night but the pitches used on Wednesday were in excellent condition. The highlight of Wednesday's matches was Allerdale breaking their duck by scoring twice against North Tyneside. Allerdale eventually lost all their four matches but they were a delight to have at the Festival and thoroughly enjoyed the event. During the evening all the residents visited the home of Durham Wasps for an ice-skating session.

On the final morning there were some tired legs around. Reading lost their hundred percent record by losing 3 - 2 to Bishop Auckland. Newcastle broke three defeats with a 3 - 0 win in the local derbv against Sunderland.  Former FIFA referee George Courtney delighted Blackheath and South Tyneside when he took charge of their game.

DCSFA got tremendous support from our local referees. Some referees were due to take charge of two matches in a day. A special thank you to Dave Lowes and Ray Vasey who between them took charge of eleven of the twenty-six matches, referees clearly enjoyed the event. We thank them for their participation.

The coaching sessions were well-organised and enjoyable and were an important part of the festival. Many thanks go to Dave Pamaby and Arthur Philliskirk for providing them.

The visits to Beamish Museum, the swimming baths and the Metro Centre proved be very popular with the resident groups. Many groups also enjoyed the delights of Durham City especially their visit to the Cathedral.

The atmosphere of the festival was splendid. For this we must thank all staff who came with their parties for their keenness and enthusiasm for the game of schoolboy football and their willingness to give up their holidays for the benefit of the boys from their association. It was also good to see many parents supporting the boys and giving them the right sort of encouragement from the touchline. All the boys also deserve much credit for the way they conducted themselves during the festival.

Thanks go to Geoff Wainwright and his colleagues from Durham County Schools’ Football Association for their invaluable contributions to the Festival.

DCSFA look forward to the second festival next year and hope to renew the friendship made during this first ESFA Durham Under 13 Festival of Football.