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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 2004

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

This year seven residential Associations, Allerdale, Bradford, Dacorum (taking part in the Festival for the first time), Gravesham, Leeds, Luton and the Vale of White Horse, complimented seven local Associations as participants in the thirteenth ESFA/Durham Festival of Football. Collingwood College of the University of Durham once again provided the residential base.

The Opening Ceremony took place in the Penthouse Suite of Collingwood College, with Mr Ken Peddieson (DCSFA Chairman) introducing and welcoming: Mr Geoff Wainwright (Festival Secretary), Mr Richard Jobson (PFA); Mr Alan Wilkie; Mr Michael Barron and Mr Mark Tinkler (Hartlepool Utd); Mr Stephen Taylor (Newcastle Utd); Mr Alan Johnston (ESFA). Certificates were presented to all boys, commemorating their attendance. The evening culminated in a most enjoyable forum during which all present were both informed and entertained.

On the field, first day football highlights centred round wins for Derwentside, Hartlepool, Luton, Allerdale, Bradford and Leeds, with draws for Darorum and Carlisle. In all 31 goals were scored, with the Bradford and Luton keepers maintaining a 'clean sheet' apiece.

A further 42 goals were scored during the second day. Leeds and Hartlepool recorded sound victories in their matches, whilst thrilling 4-3 wins for Vale of White Horse against Carlisle and Dacorum against Bishop Auckland enthused spectators. Allerdale beat Derwentside and Gravesham defeated Gateshead. Bradford drew with Sunderland with each side scoring 3 goals. Ex-Sunderland player, Gary Bennett conducted coaching sessions, on behalf of the PFA, for Luton, Gravesham and Vale of White Horse.

Later that evening, Officials, staff, referees and visitors were guests of Durham County Council who provided a Civic Reception and Welcome. Thanks must be expressed to all Members present- especially Durham County Council Chairman, Councillor Fenwick (father of ex-pro and Manager, Terry Fenwick) for a memorable evening. In the absence of the ESFA Chair and Vice Chair, due to teaching commitments, John Robson replied on behalf of the ESFA and presented Councillor Fenwick with a copy of the History of The English Schools' Football Association to commemorate the Centenary Year. At the same time, at the nearby Graham Sports Centre, John Shippen, Alan Johnston and John Thrash, accompanied by young referee Lee Dines, staged a 5-a-side tournament. This was competitive yet friendly and played in a sportsman-like fashion, with Dacorum 'A' the eventual winners. Earlier in the day Bradford, Leeds and Dacorum had visited South Shields whilst Allerdale visited the Metro Centre. Residents took the opportunity, during the day, to view the PFA's video outlining the temptations and highs and lows facing young footballers, as they set out towards a career in the professional game.

The day three goal tally increased to 64 thanks to wins for Hartlepool, Allerdale, Leeds, Dacorum and Carlisle. Luton drew with Sunderland. Gary Bennett concluded his coaching sessions with Bradford, Dacorum, Leeds and Allerdale. Gravesham, Luton and the Vale of White Horse visited the Metro Centre. A visit to Wet 'n' Wild Waterpark complimented the football activity for everyone later in the evening.

On the final day, Vale of White Home, Leeds, Hartlepool, Luton and Bishop Auckland concluded their Festival programme, each scoring 3 goals. Dacorum drew with Allerdale, as did Bradford and East Durham and Derwentside narrowly beat Gravesham, scoring in the final minute of play.

Many referees were once again delighted to assist - some refereeing two matches in a day! Sincere thanks must go to these men and woman - Ms Lynn Briggs - for their invaluable support, not only during the Festival but for their help throughout the season as well. Match referees were presented with EFSA Centenary whistles.

Statistics showed that during the 27 games played, 114 goals were scored with goalkeepers maintaining 11 clean sheets. 230 boys were given the opportunity to express themselves in a safe, free and friendly environment, demonstrating their skills and talents against others of like-mind, taking from their experience a taste of true 'Festival Spirit',

Boys were fully appreciative of the time and effort spent by everyone in making the Festival a success – the Allerdale captains once again, presented a formal 'Vote of Thanks' after lunch on the final day. Gravesham and Derwentside were joint winners of the 'Fair Play' Award.

A Festival like this needs an enormous amount of planning. In conclusion, I would wish to thank the following for their assistance and support: staff accompanying teams; parents; referees; staff at Collingwood College, the Racecourse, Maiden Castle and the Graham Sports Centre; Durham County Council; the PFA and the Durham County Schools' FA Festival Committee - many of whom have been involved in all previous Festivals!

We look forward to the fourteenth ESFA/Durham Festival in 2005 with eager anticipation.