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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 1995

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 Durham Festival has grown steadily each year. The total of 17 associations was an increase of one on the 1994 Festival and four more than the first Festival in 1992. The seven associations who had attended all the previous Festivals, Allerdale, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Peterborough and Sunderland were again among the participants for the fourth Festival. Six of this year’s participants have now attended three Festivals. Coventry and Leeds attended for the first time this year.

The dry spell in Durham during March left the grounds very hard. This year the weather conditions were very good indeed with the final day just like summer. The first match on Monday morning ended in a 5-4 win for Gravesham against Derwentside. The organising committee was delighted that Derwentside offered to play in the afternoon as well as the morning replacing North Tyneside who had withdrawn from the Festival at short notice. They earned a creditable draw against South Tyneside who subsequently proved to be one of the strongest associations at the Festival. Leeds also looked a very good side with a 5-0 win over East Northumberland.

In the evening the opening ceremony was held in the Conference Hall at Houghall College. Mr Geoff Wainwright and Mr Fred Fullerton, secretary and Chairman of Durham County Schools' FA, welcomed our visitors to Durham for the Festival. Phil Dodd of Houghall College welcomed everyone to Houghall and invited anyone who was interested to look round the gardens of the Horticultural College. This ceremony was followed by a sports quiz for the boys which was won by one of the Luton teams with another Luton team as runners-up.

DCSFA were pleased that adidas supported the Festival again this year providing prizes for the Sports Quiz, 5-a-side finalists and, a new venture this year, a "Fair Play Award" for the association judged by the referees to have best shown the true spirit of schoolboy and Festival football. Shay Boyd from adidas gave all the resident players a session testing the adidas Predator boots. They also received adidas Predator Caps.

The second day's matches saw good wins for Chester-le-Street and Darlington. Leeds went three goals down to Bishop Auckland but finished very strongly and won the match 8-4. Allerdale, Coventry and Peterborough all visited Beamish Museum for the afternoon.

In the evening many thanks are due to Durham officials Alan Johnston, John Shippen and Tony Carter who assisted by Anthony Patterson, one of our young referees, organised 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 Macintosh, at County Hall. Councillor Macintosh in his second and final year as Chairman welcomed the assembled Festival staff to Durham. A magnificent carvery was provided. ESFA Chairman, Mr David Willacy thanked Durham County Council for the kind patronage that they have given to the Festival. The 5-a-side was won by one of the Coventry teams with the other Coventry team as runners up.

On the third day there were good victories for Darlington, Coventry and Derwentside. South Tyneside and Leeds, the two strongest teams, played out a 2-2 draw. It was Leeds, Luton and Gravesham’s turn to spend the afternoon off campus this time with a visit to the Metro Centre.

Again this year we transported all resident to Crowtree Leisure Centre for the Wednesday evening. The boys went ice skating and/or swimming. This again proved a popular evening and a good venue for the boys.

On the final morning, the hot weather tempted the spectators into short sleeves. Peterborough recorded a first victory against Gateshead and Leeds defeated a strong Darlington side 5-0. Bishop Auckland, having suffered heavy defeats on Tuesday and Wednesday proved far too strong for Allerdale. In all 163 goals were scored during the 33 fixtures.

Allerdale won the adidas Fair play Award with 159 points out of 160. They were closely followed by Luton and Bishop Auckland with 158 and 157 points respectively. We would like to thank adidas and Shay Boyd for their input into this year’s Festival.

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 and for their help in scoring the Fair Play Awards.

The coaching sessions were well organised and enjoyable and were an important part of the Festival. Many grateful thanks go to Dave Parnaby, who took most of the sessions, and Arthur Philliskirk for providing them. The associations that benefited from these sessions again spoke of their appreciation for them.

Finally thanks go to everyone from Durham County Schools Football Association for their invaluable contributions to the Festival and making the it a success.

DCSFA look forward to the fifth festival next year which will be from Monday 1 April to Thursday 4 April 1996 and hope to renew many friendships made during the first four ESFA Durham Under 13 Festivals of Football.