On a wonderfully bright and sunny afternoon at Bolton Wanderers Training Ground, 11 schools contested the North-West Regional Championship, divided into two groups. It proved an extremely competitive competition with several schools proving themselves to be genuine contenders for the title.
In Group A Bury Grammar School and Manchester Grammar School soon emerged as the dominant forces and they could be separated only by goal difference at the top after the two sides had drawn. However, most of the excitement occurred in the final match when Cheadle Hulme, apparently down and out having gained only 1 point from their first four matches, clinched a dramatic 1-0 victory to sneak into fourth place, qualify for the quarter-finals and eventually reach the semi-finals.
In Group B, four schools all appeared to be of a very even standard with all four taking points off each other. Indeed, going into the final match, St. Bede’s College led the way but defeat meant that they slipped from first to fourth. King’s, Chester, the only unbeated team, finished on top, closely followed by Bolton and an impressive Altrincham Prep School team.
King’s Chester had not conceded a single goal in the group stages and they maintained their record in the quarter-finals, drawing 0-0 and going out on penalties against Cheadle Hulme. King’s were thus eliminated without having conceded a goal, having drawn three of their matches 0-0. Meanwhile Altrincham Prep increased the growing impression that they were a dangerous surprise team when they defeated Manchester Grammar School 1-0. Bury Grammar School and Bolton both enjoyed more convincing passages into the semi-finals.
Bury v. Bolton is one of the traditional fixtures of northern independent schools football and this proved a very tight affair, Bury taking a first half lead but Bolton equalising almost immediately. It was Bolton who triumphed in the penalty shoot-out but there was sympathy who were unquestionable one of the most impressive teams on view during the day.
Cheadle Hulme, after their indifferent start, were gaining confidence all the time and they pushed Altrincham Prep all the way but a single goal was enough to see Altrincham through.
The Final was decided by two excellent first half goals, worthy of any Cup Final. Jameson Goloba put Bolton ahead when he brushed past a defender and then glided around the advancing goalkeeper before scoring. Then a superb volley by Luca Williams-Denton made it 2-0 and, although Altrincham Prep gave their all in the second half, the recover never materialised and Bolton clinched a place at the National Finals.
ISFA is extremely grateful to Bolton Wanderers Football Club for the use of their excellent faciltities.
Pictures are courtesy of RWT Photography. For further pictures of this tournament, go to www.rwt-photography.co.uk
Stockport GS 0 Bury GS 1; Westholme 0 Manchester GS 1; Cheadle Hulme 0 Oldham Hulme GS 1; Stockport GS 1 Westholme 1; Cheadle Hulme 0 Bury GS 4; Oldham Hulme GS 0 Manchester GS 4; Stockport GS 0 Cheadle Hulme 0; Oldham Hulme GS 2 Westholme 0; Manchester GS 0 Bury GS 0; Stockport GS 1 Oldham Hulme GS 1; Manchester GS 2 Cheadle Hulme 1; Bury GS 4 Westholme 1; Stockport GS 1 Manchester GS 2; Bury GS 2 Oldham Hulme GS 0; Westholme 0 Cheadle Hulme 1.
1 Bury GS; 2 Manchester GS; 3 Oldham Hulme GS; 4 Cheadle Hulme; 5 Stockport GS; 6 Westholme.
King’s, Chester 0 Bolton 0: Altrincham Prep 2 St. Mary’s College 0; King’s, Chester 0 Altrincham Prep 0; St. Bede’s College 2 Bolton 0; King’s Chester 1 St. Bede’s College 0; St. Mary’s College 0 Bolton 2; Bolton 2 Altrincham Prep 0; St. Mary’s College 0 St. Bede’s College 2; King’s, Chester 5 St. Mary’s College 0; St. Bede’s College 0 Altrincham Prep 1.
1 King’s, Chester; 2 Bolton; 3 Altrincham Prep; 4 St. Bede’s College; 5 St. Mary’s College.
Bury GS 2 St. Bede’s College 0; Manchester GS 0 Altrincham Prep 1; Oldham Hulme GS 0 Bolton 3; Cheadle Hulme 0 King’s, Chester 0 (King’s won 2-1 on pens)
Bury GS 1 Bolton 1 (Bolton won 2-0 on pens); Altrincham Prep 1 Cheadle Hulme 0.
Bolton 2 Altrincham Prep 0