After six months of planning and six weeks of extra training after school, forty students across Years 8 and 9 set off for Disneyland Paris during the Easter holidays on the 2018 School Football Tour. The squad comprising of three 11 aside teams set off to challenge English and French school sides as well as a couple of specialist football academies from both sides of the channel as well. The football was played out in the evenings at Meaux FC across two days of group matches with a third morning of knockout football as teams competed for the International Cup. Before and after the football sessions each day, students were able to spend their time in the Disneyland parks whilst staying at the specialist Disney Lodge, the Davy Crockett Ranch.
After two evenings of group matches all three sides were ideally placed to mount serious challenges for the trophies. The U13 boys had demonstrated their superiority on route to topping their group with a huge positive goal difference. The U14 A and B sides had come through difficult matches, both dropping points but also picking up vital wins on their way to finishing runners up in their respective groups. With temperatures rising, the final day of football brought about some weary legs but all three teams geared up for their respective semi-finals. The U14A team twice came from behind to produce a brilliant 4-2 victory over English school St Crispins whilst the U13 team continued to demonstrate their ability with two comfortable victories over Meaux FC and Henri Dumant College. The U14B team produced a brilliant battling display to take strong favourites Meaux FC all the way but could not find an equaliser and bowed out with a 1-0 defeat.
The U14A team picked up the baton from their peers in taking on Meaux FC but suffered a difficult start giving away a penalty in the first minute of the final. After falling behind they battled all the way and had a shot cleared off the line in the final minute with all players bar the goalkeeper camped in the opposite penalty box. It was not to be as they too went down 1-0 to the French academy side and finished as runners up. The tournament did end with silverware though as the U13 team continued their brilliance with a 4-0 victory over English side Proformance academy, finishing with seven straight victories, 40+ goals and only conceding once.
The boys were a credit to the school on and off the pitch and rounded off the biggest football tour that the school has run to date.
This stage of the football season is reserved for county cup finals and the school were presented with the opportunity to take home two titles in one night as the U14 girls and U15 boys took on Notre Dame and Wymondham High respectively at the football development centre.
The girls were reigning county champions but faced a Notre Dame side containing two players currently training with the England U14 girls’ squad. Notre Dame took the lead but a well worked goal ensured we went into half time all square. The game remained close throughout the second half with Thorpe St Andrew working hard to win a free kick, 25 yards out, inside the final few minutes. Sophie Rawlinson stepped up and produced an amazing goal before turning provider in injury time by crossing the ball for Lucy Wetherell to volley home and put the game to bed. A 3-1 win was a fair reflection and crowned the girls double county champions.
An hour later the U15 boys stepped up under the floodlights and immediately took the lead through Emmanuel Akpan from close range. Even though Wymondham High fought back to equalise in the second half, Emmanuel immediately restored our lead with a well taken goal. On a large pitch the boys began to tire and several players went down with cramp or injury before Wymondham snatched an equaliser in the final minutes. Extra time was unable to settle the match leaving it to the lottery of penalties to decide the winner. Thorpe St Andrew were never behind in the shoot-out but it took until sudden death and the seventy penalty each for the decisive miss from Wymondham High to settle the match and ensure that Thorpe took home their second county title of the night.
Thorpe St Andrew still has the chance to bring home two more trophies as the U16 boys and girls teams await their finals in the middle of May.
Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, Laundry Lane, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0XS
Main Office - 01603 497711 | Student Absence Line - 01603 497722
The Yare Education Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales with company number 10301555. The registered office is at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, Laundry Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, Norfolk, NR7 0XS