St Simon Stock Catholic School claim victory in regional finals to progress in Football League Girls CupCongratulations to the team from St Simon Stock Catholic School who emerged victorious and progressed to the Area Finals of the Football League Girls Cup on Thursday.
St Simon Stock School entered the competition with an impressive track record having won this stage in 2011, and only narrowly missed out on playing at Wembley in the Area Finals having been runners up in 2008, 2009, 2010 and reaching the semi-finals in 2012.
On a very wet and cold November day 23 teams from across the county came together at a local venue in Gillingham to compete against each other in three groups of six teams and one of five, with the eventual winner and runner-up from each group progressing to the quarter-finals in the afternoon.
Our officials on the day were volunteers from Mid-Kent College who worked in pairs to referee each game to a high level.
A busy morning schedule saw each team play round-robin games in their groups. The standard was high from the off with plenty of goals being scored and a few very close encounters.
The rain continued to hammer down throughout the morning and at one point even turned into hail but everyone involved ploughed on and kept smiling as the games heated up and the competition stepped up a level.
After an intense set of fixtures we were left with four group winners and four runners-up who would move onto the quarter-finals.
These were St Simon Stock Catholic School, Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, Dover Grammar School for Girls, Highworth Grammar for Girls, Rainham Mark School, St Catherine’s Catholic School, Strood Academy and Herne Bay High School, all of whom had played some excellent football.
The quarter-finals saw four teams comfortably progress to the semis and would see Simon Stock face Herne Bay while Highworth would face Maidstone.
Both semi-finals were very close affairs and no team was able to dominate the way they had in the quarters. Highworth came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2, while it was end to end in the other match and ended 2-2, meaning a sudden death shoot-out with Simon Stock coming out on top 6-5.
The final was again very close and again end to end with both teams battling for a spot in the Area Finals.
At 2-2 and with only a few minutes to go St Simon Stock managed to get the all important goal to take it to 3-2, but both teams continued to pile on the pressure and as the final whistle blew the spectators knew they had been treated to an epic encounter that only one team could unfortunately win.
Gills players Josh Hare and Tom Derry were on hand to present the team with their winners’ pennant and in the New Year they will be invited to attend a first team game to be presented with their trophy.
The team from St Simon Stock will now go on to represent Gillingham Football Club at the area finals to be held at Southend in January, where they will be playing for the chance to play at Wembley at the end of the season in the National Final.
We would like to thank all of the schools who attended the tournament and made the day such a competitive occasion and we hope to see you all again next year.
We would also like to say a huge thank you and well done to St Simon Stock and we wish you all the best of luck for the next phase of the competition.