As current holders of the trophy this was always going to be a tough assignment for the inexperienced team, who fielded no less than five Year 5 players. The team qualified as champions from their group, which included two teams from Balladen and Thorn, with an impressive +7 goal difference to send them through to Wednesday’s final.
Upon arrival at Fearns it was obvious that the competition was going to be tough. Every team had won their qualifying groups to get to this stage so there would be no easy games. St Veronica’s were drawn in a group alongside St Peter’s, St Michael’s & St John’s and Tonnacliffe.
In the opening fixture the blues took to the field to face St Michael’s & St John’s who we already knew had some quality in their ranks. Early nerves were nowhere to be seen as they were put to the sword 3-0 with goals from Zane and Jacob. This score line was repeated in the second game thanks to a hat trick from Noah. The third game ended in a 1-1 draw. A lucky own goal saved our blushes late in the game to set up a mouth-watering final against the much fancied Helmshore.
There was a lot at stake in the final as the eventual winners would go on to represent Rossendale in a final to be held at Ewood Park, the home of Blackburn Rovers. St Veronica’s started the game in the same way they had through the whole of the tournament with two very dangerous attacks that should have seen them take an early lead. Unfortunately this wasn’t meant to be and Helmshore pounced on a rare defensive slip and slid the ball into the net to score the only goal of the game and leave St Veronica’s as proud runners up.
The industry and endeavour shown by all the players selected was second to none and this was shown by a huge round of applause from parents, teachers and opposition players alike as they strode forward to accept their medals and certificates to round of a successful day for the school.