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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 1993

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.

Seven of the associations who took part in the first Festival were joined by eight new associations this year. The total of 15 associations was an increase of two on the inaugural festival. Conditions were near perfect when the first matches kicked off on Monday afternoon. As with last year one association emerged from the first day looking very strong. This year it was Chester-le-Street & Washington SFA who defeated Luton 5-1.

In the evening the Opening Ceremony was held in the Conference Hall at Houghall College. We were pleased to have five ESFA Council members present for this ceremony. Mr Arthur Philliskirk. Chairman of Durham County Schools' FA, who has vast experience of ESFA Festivals welcomed our visitors to Durham for the Festival. ESFA Chairman Mr David Lailey then addressed the assembled festival participants and emphasized his warning that he had also given in the Festival programme with regard to overplav of young plavers. In particular he urged all boys to give themselves a break from football during the summer months and not to take part in summer tournaments often organised for club sides. Phil Dodd of Houghall College welcomed everyone to Houghall and invited anyone who was interested to look round the gardens of the Horticultural College. The guest speaker was Mr Colin Suggett, Youth Team Coach of Newcastle United FC. In 1964 Colin was an England Schoolboy international and also a member of the Chester-le-St team who were runners up in the ESFA Trophy. He spoke of the benefits for young players of Festivals such as the Durham Festival in terms of individual character building and the growth of team spirit that occurs from squads being together for four days. Mr Suggett also presented the captain of each team with certificates for each boy to commemorate their participation in the Festival.

Very heavy rain during the night was fortunately countered by gale force winds. The weather had becalmed by kick-off time and the pitches were again in ideal condition for football. The second days matches saw good wins for Blackheath, Middlesbrough and Sunderland. Carlisle and Chester-le-St won their matches for the second day in a row. Blackheath visited Beamish Museum and Peterborough went to the Metro Centre for the afternoon. During the evening all the residents visited the home of Durham Wasps for an ice-skating session.

On the third day it was nice to see Luton and Bishop Auckland register wins. Newcastle completed their fixtures undefeated with two wins and a draw. It was Allerdale and Luton's turn to spend the afternoon at the Beamish and the Metro Centre.

In the evening great thanks are due to two of the Durham Committee who assisted by parents of some of the boys held a 5-a-side session to keep the boys busy whilst the staff (both residential and non-residential) were the guests of the Chairman of Durham County Council, Councillor Terrence. Mr Arthur Philliskirk thanked Durham County Council for their continued patronage of the Festival and informed Councillor Terrence of our pride of our Durham County teams and the success enjoyed this season by these teams. Mr Denis Fulton gave a presentation to Councillor Terrence as a mark of the gratitude for the Council’s support and thanked all members of staff present for their enthusiasm for schools' football and their willingness to give up four days holiday to the benefit of their boys. As the party was about to depart our host, 'a grand gentleman of eighty-three’, sat down at the piano and entertained us to two songs to close an enjoyable evening.

On the final morning Allerdale achieved a creditable draw against Sunderland and Bradford managed to break their duck with a 2-0 win against Gateshead. Chester-le-Street with four wins from four fixtures and East Northumberland with three wins from their three fixtures proved to be the strongest association teams. It was nice to complete the matches with all teams achieving some success in their matches.

DCSFA again got tremendous support from our local referees. Some referees were delighted to take charge of two matches in a day. All of the referees clearly enjoyed the event I thank them for their participation. DCSFA are also pleased in Durham to have encouraged young schoolboy referees this season. Two such referees officiated in ESFA Division B's McDonalds Under 12 5-a-side finals, one of these then took charge for our Under 14 County trials and 15 year old Anthony Vasey took charge of two and a half matches in the Festival. This is an area of schools' football that Durham County SFA will continue to nurture in the future.

The coaching sessions were well organised and enjoyable and were an important part of the festival. Many thanks to Dave Parnaby for providing them. The associations that benefited from these sessions all spoke of their appreciation for them.

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 third festival next year and hope to renew the friendships made during the first two ESFA Durham Under 13 Festivals of Football.