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ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 2007

The College of St Hild and St Bede was used as the residential base for the visiting associations with all matches being played at the University's Graham Sports Centre.

For the 16th ESFA/Durham Festival of Football, six residential Associations: Allerdale, Bradford, Derby, Leeds, Luton and York were joined by ten non-residential Associations: Bishop Auckland, Carlisle, Darlington, Derwentside, East Durham, Hartlepool, Newcastle, South Northumberland and West Tyne.

The Durham University College of St Hild and St Bede was once again used as the residential base with the pitches at near by Maiden Castle Sports Complex being used for matches.

The Festival Opening Ceremony took place in the Joachim Room at the College of St Hild and St Bede with Mr Geoff Wainwright (DCSFA & Festival Secretary) welcoming and introducing Mr Andrew Scothern (DCSFA Chairman) and Mr Alan Johnston representing ESFA. Certificates were presented to all boys. Following the Opening Ceremony, Mr Philip Cunningham (DCSFA Treasurer) chaired an informative and entertaining Football Forum during which Martin Buchan (PFA) and Tommy Miller (Sunderland AFC) spoke freely and answered many searching questions posed by an inquisitive audience.

First day football saw 16 matches played in good spirit. Gary Bennett (PFA) conducted coaching sessions for Luton and Derby.

Day two saw a further 16 games played on pitches which had received a welcome softening by overnight rain. Gary Bennett concluded his coaching sessions and the day was ended for residential boys with a 5-a-side competition at the Graham Sports Centre. It was pleasing to have two young, up and coming referees - Tom Cooper and Andrew McNally - involved. The 5-a-side was won by Luton. At the same time, Officials, staff and referees were guests of Durham County Council at a Civic Reception hosted by County Councillor Mrs Edna Hunter. Guests at the reception included the Chairman of ESFA, Mr Nigel Brown, who had also earlier watched several games.

The football activities concluded on days three and four in the same sportsman like fashion as they had begun. Players were once again keen to show spectators that the spirit of Schools' football is still present, whilst the Festival provided a safe and free environment for boys to demonstrate their skills and talents.

Many referees, who had been involved since the first ESFA/Durham Festival, were delighted once again to return often refereeing two matches in one day. The 'Fair Play Award' was won by Allerdale Schools' FA who once again gave their 'legendary' Vote of Thanks to the Organising Committee.

Off the field activities included visits to South Shields and the Metro Centre with all residents taking part in ten-pin bowling at Washington and Sunderland.

In conclusion, a huge 'thank you' is due to the following for their assistance and support: staff accompanying teams; Parents/Carers; referees; staff at the College of St Hild and St Bede, Maiden Castle and the Graham Sports Centre (University of Durham); Durham County Council; the PFA; PUMA and the Durham County Schools' FA Festival Organising Committee so ably led by Secretary, Geoff Wainwright.

Another successful Festival. The Organising Committee look forward to continued support from Colleagues mentioned above and to the 17th ESFA/Durham CSFA Festival in 2008.