Year Six pupils from Blidworth Oaks Primary School were on the Medals Table yesterday [Monday 2nd March] as they finished as runners up in Nottingham Forest Community Trusts’ Participation Tournament, held as part of an Inaugural Premier League Primary Stars National Competition.
The Blidworth youngsters were representing Mansfield Town Football in the Community in the brand new Premier League Primary Stars Under 11s National Girls Football Tournament, Regional Final, held at Newark’s YMCA Facility – hosted by Nottingham Forest Community Trust.
Eight Year Six pupils made up the squad, facing schools representing Derby County, Gainsborough Trinity, Notts County and Sheffield United in Group B of the regional final, whilst five other schools went toe to toe in Group A.
The Stags didn’t make it through the group Stage having won one and lost three of their four group matches – but along with the five other clubs who didn’t progress, accepted the invitation to play in the Participation Tournament, designed to give all clubs and participants maximum game time.
Taking on schools representing Nottingham Forest, Lincoln City, Doncaster Rovers, Derby County and Gainsborough Trinity – the girls came into their own and despite a 1-0 defeat to eventual winners Derby in the opening game, went onto secure four back to back victories and clean-sheets, earning them second place and a runners-up medal to take home.
Community Manager Gary Shaw said “Naturally the girls were disappointed they couldn’t make it through the main tournament, but the primary aim of the day was to get them playing lots of competitive football and the combination of playing and taking something home was evident to see during the Participation Tournament.
“The Premier League Primary Stars Under 11s National Girls Tournament is brand new for the 2019/20 season and will continue in years to comes and I’m sure will help to raise the profile of girls football and give participants some fantastic opportunities along the way such as playing at Premier League grounds.
“The introduction of the tournament is a fantastic move by the Premier League and will really enhance the work the EFL do each season with the Kids Cup and Under 13s Girls Cup, In particular the addition of the ‘Power Play’ ruling, where a team can add a player when they face a three goal deficit, is brilliant and really helps the girls’ confidence and allows for a more balanced tournaments – we’ll be looking at introducing the rule in our own tournaments in the future.
“I can’t fault the attitude and desire shown by the girls from Blidworth Oaks who were a real credit to their School – we look forward to welcoming them back next season to compete for the opportunity to represent us once again, along with other schools”
Dan Brickles, Sports & Extended Services Coordinator at Blidworth Oaks Primary, added “This is a great environment for the girls to be playing in, the standard is fantastic, the facility is great – it’s everything we could ask for, with lots of competition throughout the day to really keep the girls motivated and enjoying their football.
“Our girls have taken away that the standard of football isn’t the same as a local level, there’s more steps to climb, they’ve been doing so well in football locally but they’ve realised there’s more levels to come – this will give us the inspiration to kick on now and push for the next level.
“I wasn’t a fan of ‘Power Play’ to start off with but seeing it in action first hand has really changed my opinion on it, I think it’s brilliant and should come in at all levels through football.
“There was a game where we were easily being beaten by putting the extra player on [as per the ruling] made us the better team, and that gave the girls the confidence to keep playing and made the game more competitive rather than become a one sided affair which games can often do at this level.”