Over the last decade, football teams at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form have won several county cups and have annually had a team or two competing in the latter stages of their respective competitions. It has certainly been common place to reach at least one final in recent years through the success of the Sixth Form boys’ and the girls’ football teams. This year however, the Norfolk FA Schools County Cups became the focus of almost every year group for both male and female teams as the school closed in on success from all angles.
It started with disappointment back in early November as the Year 10 boys suffered defeat to Sprowston High School in the first round and an all too familiar feeling of early cup defeats set in. Little did we know, that defeat would be the last one for a Thorpe St Andrew side in county cup action until after February half term as the remaining eight sides negotiated their first, second and third rounds to reach their respective semi-finals. Some sides had easier draws than others but several big challenges had been overcome and thoughts started to switch to how many teams could realistically go all the way.
The Year 11 boys, hoping to reach their first final in their last year with the school, came so close but fell to a strong Wymondham College side who would go on to win the final. Encouragingly, the Year 7 boys in their first year at the school also reached the semi-finals, but again fell short to eventual winners Lynn Grove Academy. One by one the remaining six sides, three male, three female all came through their semi-finals to earn their spot in a county final on the ‘field of dreams’ at the Football Development Centre (FDC).
The Year 8 boys went first and set the standard for everyone else with a 7-0 win against Wymondham College to complete their domestic treble. Emmanuel Akpan took home the man of the match award with his hat trick but Sam Jackson was also in impressive form. Two weeks later the PE department descended on the FDC again for four finals in four days. The Year 9 boys, like their younger peers, also completed their domestic treble, although their 2-0 win over Old Buckenham was a lot more competitive. It took a wonder goal from Thomas Musson-Pipe and a late volley from Mal Staff to complete the victory after a goalless first half.
The following day the Year 9 girls successfully defended their title with a hard fought 1-0 win over Taverham High School. With more injuries and patched up players than chances in the match the deadlock was eventually broken late on through a Bronwyn Lingley goal. After ten minutes of goal line scrambling in injury time the girls had completed the first part of a female Thorpe double header. An hour later, the Year 11 girls won their first county cup in their final match together, having come so close on several occasions over the previous five years. Playing against the England U16 captain the girls were taken all the way to penalties after a 2-2 draw but Bryony Knights stepped up to slot home the winning penalty and seal a fairy-tale ending, as well as a fantastic day for girls football.
Two days later the Year 8 girls arrived at the FDC hoping to complete an unprecedented clean sweep of county cup trophies for the female teams. However, this was not meant to be as they suffered the heart break of losing on penalties. The young side raced into a 2-0 lead early on, only to be pegged back and eventually go 3-2 down. They did not give up though and a late Grace Jermy strike took the match into extra time before the young midfielder’s penalty came back off the cross bar to give Flegg High School the chance to win in the shoot-out.
The following week, the Sixth Form boys looked to retain the county cup and in the process become the third male team to complete the domestic treble. Unfortunately it was not their day and very little went right for them as Wymondham College ran away with the match. It was a disappointing end to lose the last two finals but four county cups, six finals, eight semi-finals out of nine competitions is a hugely impressive haul and a difficult feat to match next season.
In total the teams won thirty four games of their thirty nine matches, scoring 186 goals and conceding 47 in the process.
Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form can certainly lay claim to be the best footballing school in Norfolk at this moment in time.
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