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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 2001

Collingwood College (University of Durham) was used as the residential base with the matches being played at either the University's Graham Sports Centre or Racecourse Ground.

This year four resident associations, Allerdale, Gravesham, Leeds and the Vale of White Horse (taking part in the Festival for their first time) complimented Carlisle and nine local Associations, as participants in the 10th Durham Festival. Our Festival is now a firmly established, very successful and meaningful part of the Schools' holiday Football Festival calendar, with the City of Durham and its historic University, Cathedral and Castle providing a picturesque backdrop.

The Opening Ceremony took place in the Penthouse Suite of Collingwood College, University of Durham, with Mr Phil Cunningham (DCSFA Treasurer), welcoming Mr Dave Woollaston (ESFA Vice Chair); Mr Martin Buchan (Manchester United & Scotland - PFA Representative); Mr George Courtney (FIFA Referee & FIFA Observer- Forum Guest); Mr Warren Barton (Newcastle United FC - PFA/Forum Guest); residential staff, parents and boys. Mr John Shippen (DCSFA Vice Chair) presented certificates to the assembled boys, commemorating attendance and the evening culminated in a football forum during which all present were both informed and entertained.

The highlights of the first day centred round a victory for Darlington, settling old scores against Allerdale who, despite the foot and mouth crisis in Cumbria, were able to attend the Festival; an exciting 3-2 victory for the Vale of White Horse, against a strong and capable Carlisle side and, a 5-4 thriller between West Tyne and Bishop Auckland, with Bishops the eventual victors. In all, 32 goals were scored on the first day!

Although day two saw 3 fewer goals, there were 5 goal victories for Bishop Auckland, North Tyneside, Hartlepool and Vale of White Horse. That evening, officials, referees and visitors were guests of Durham County Council, who provided a Civic Welcome. Thanks must be expressed to the Members of Durham County Council, who were present, for this most memorable evening. John Shippen and Alan Johnston, accompanied by parents of boys from the resident associations, organised a 5-a-side competition at the Graham Sports Centre. The competition was most friendly and sportsman-like with Vale of White Horse A eventual winners. Visits to the Metro Centre and Wet 'n' Wild, for all residential teams, complimented the football activity.

During day three, skill and free play, coupled with a willingness to attack, saw Gateshead, Sunderland and Hartlepool record success; whilst Vale of White Horse notched their third successive win, ably supported by their dominant, powerful strike force. Joe Joyce from the PFA, once again provided exciting, meaningful and challenging coaching at Maiden Castle for resident association squads. No doubt all boys benefited and were able to put into practice their recently acquired knowledge in subsequent games. The organising committee values the input the PFA has in the Festival and are most grateful for their assistance.

On the final day, Vale of White Horse once again showed their dominance, beating Bishop Auckland by six goals. There were also wins for Gravesham, Chester-le-Street & Washington, Sunderland and Leeds, with Allerdale holding on to a draw with North Tyneside.

Many referees again, having had the Festival pencilled-in their diary since last year, were more than happy to assist - some refereeing two matches in one day! Sincere thanks must go to these men and one lady this year, for their invaluable support, their time and effort - free of charge!

Although there were no trophies presented at the end of the Festival, it would be true to say that Schoolboy Association Football was the overall winner. Football played in the true meaning of the Game. Throughout the Festival over 250 boys were given an opportunity to express themselves in a free and friendly environment, demonstrating their skills and talents against others of like-mind, taking from their experience a taste of true Festival spirit.

Throughout the Festival there were 110 goals scored with goalkeepers maintaining 13 'clean sheets'! Allerdale, with their impeccable attitude to fairness and sportsmanship, won the Referees' Fair Play Award with Derwentside a very close second.

Finally, a formal vote-of-thanks is extended to: school staff who give freely of their time to Festival football; parents for their support and encouragement; Festival referees; staff at the Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle and University Racecourse complex; Durham County Council for their continued support; the PFA for their presence and coaching; Collingwood College staff for their tolerance and provision of excellent hospitality and to the diligence and hard work of the DCSFA/ESFA Festival Organising Committee. A heart felt and sincere thank you!