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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 2002

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 4 resident associations, Allerdale, Bradford, Leeds and the Vale of White Horse complimented Carlisle and seven local Associations, including newcomers, East Durham, as participants in the 11th ESFA/Durham Under 13 Festival of Football. Once again, Durham University's newest College, Collingwood, was the base for residents and the historic castle and cathedral in the City provided an excellent backdrop. Pitches at the University's Maiden Castle and Racecourse sites were venues for games. Despite being the smallest Festival in the ESFA Easter calendar, the success of the Durham Festival continues and it is firmly recognised for the friendly welcome and atmosphere it creates for all participants.

The Opening Ceremony took place in the Refectory of Collingwood College and culminated in a Sports Forum. Mr Philip Cunningham (DCSFA Treasurer) welcomed guests and introduced the evening to assembled boys, staff and parents. Guests included: Mr John Shippen (DCSFA Chairman), Mr Alan Johnston (ESFA), Mr Simon Barker (PFA & Forum Guest), Mr George Courtney (FIFA/Barclaycard Premiership Delegate, Middlesbrough AFC & Forum Guest) and Mr David Bellion (PFA Representative & Forum Guest - a current player with Sunderland AFC). The Sports Forum was informative and entertaining, being ably hosted by Mr Simon Barker with Mr George Courtney and Mr David Bellion adding to an enjoyable evening.

On the field, first day highlights included a six-goal victory for Bishop Auckland and wins for Vale of White Horse, Sunderland, Derwentside and Darlington; with goalkeepers returning 4 clean sheets.

Day two saw 20 goals, including 7 from Hartlepool and 4 from Bishop Auckland. A win for Allerdale against Darlington at 3-2 proved another highlight. Mr Laurie Pearson, from the PFA, staged coaching sessions for resident squads. In the evening Mr John Shippen and Mr Alan Johnston organised a five-a-side competition for residents at the near-by Graham Sports Centre, which was won by Vale of White Horse A, with Allerdale A runners-up. Staff, referees and guests attended a Durham County Council, Civic Reception, hosted by Mr Charles McGee (Chairman, Durham County Council). Mr Dennis Fulton (Vice Chairman, ESFA) was also in attendance.

By the end of day three, during which 27 goals were scored, Allerdale had recorded their second victory - as had Sunderland and the Vale of White Horse, with Bishop Auckland retaining their 100% record. After their morning games, resident Associations visited the Metro Centre, Gateshead and South Shields and later in the evening, complimented their day, with a visit to Tyneside's Wet 'n' Wild waterpark.

On the final day, Vale of White Horse ended Bishop Auckland's run with a narrow 1-0 win, whilst Hartlepool, Derwentside, Allerdale, Darlington and Sunderland concluded their Festival matches with victories.

Many very experienced referees, once again, were delighted to assist. This year, as well as welcoming back Mrs Lynn Briggs, the Organising Committee was pleased to involve Mr Adam Boyd and Mr David Comforth - two young, aspiring referees and Mr Guillian Ferreira from Cunha in Brazil.

Throughout the Festival statistics showed that during the 22 games played there were 86 goals scored with goalkeepers maintaining 10 clean sheets. 209 boys had taken part in friendly, yet competitive, Festival Football. Bishop Auckland won the referees' Fair Play Award, with Derwentside, for the 6th consecutive year, runners-up. Residents were presented with a squad photograph and a Certificate of Attendance. Non-residents also received a Certificate of Attendance to add to their Record of Achievement.

No doubt the sunshine and warm Durham weather were the 'icing on the cake' and added to the success of the Festival. However, in recognising yet another successful ESFA/Durham Festival, mention must also be made of the diligent work done by the Durham County Schools' Festival Organising Committee particularly DCSFA Secretary, Mr Geoff Wainwright. Thanks should also be extended to the following for their significant input, tolerance, continued support and encouragement of Schools' Football: teachers and helpers who accompany teams; parents and family supporters; referees; Durham University staff at the Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle Complex, the Racecourse and Collingwood College; Durham County Council and the PFA. As a result of this partnership, everyone involved in the Festival will have taken home with them a little memory. One hope is that it will stay with them always.