The boys’ football team from Harpur Hill Primary School and Nursery are the English Schools’ Football Association Midlands Regional Champions. Having won the county finals earlier in the year, on Wednesday 22nd March, the boys travelled to Castle Vale Stadium, Birmingham, to represent Derbyshire.
The first part of the competition was the group stage, with the team playing four ten minute games. In their first game, the team were victorious, winning 1-0, when Jake scored. The second game was another win – 2-1, with goals from Jake and Alfie-Jack. The team’s defensive skills impressed in the third and fourth games, with goalkeeper, Leityn (who is also the Head Boy) working in partnership with Oscar and Jayden, who made some brilliant blocks. Both games ended 0-0 and the team won the group stage, taking them through to the semi-finals.
The team said the semi-final felt like an eternity. The boys played well in both halves, but after 14 minutes, the score was 0-0, so it reverted to 6 minutes of extra time. This also ended 0-0, so this meant it went to penalties. In the shoot-out, the opponents scored 1 out of the 4, and Harpur won on ‘sudden death’, scoring 2 out of the 4.
The final was a tough game for the Harpur team, but Theo H broke through and scored twice. The Harpur team’s set pieces, great teamwork and solid defence paid off, and the boys won the final 2-0. After 80 minutes’ play in total, the boys are Midlands Area Champions. Coach, Danny Deveney said, “Words cannot describe how proud we are of these young athletes! Another unbelievable day in which they didn't lose a single game and only conceded 1 goal. Onto the National Championships now! Well done, Team Harpur!”
Chris Hill, Secretary of Buxton Football Club adds, ‘It is an incredible achievement for a school from Buxton to make it to the National Finals. A number of the players play for our Grassroots football club and we are so proud of them. We wish them all the luck in the final!’
The boys are now focussing on the next stage, hoping that it will be at Wembley. Theo G, right wing, said, ‘We are so joyous and thankful for the opportunity that football can give us’ and Archie said, ‘Playing football is a great way to express yourself.’
Since winning, the team have received congratulations from the rest of the school, the Governors, and Harpur Hill community, as well as Buxton Football Club and Derbyshire County Football. Everyone is hoping the team can bring it home for Derbyshire in the final.