St Veronica’s football team have picked up their third piece of silverware this season (adding to the Rossendale Trust tournament and the regional cup final, at Accrington Stanley) after overcoming a hard working Helmshore team in the final of the Rossendale School League competition at St Mary’s school, Rawtenstall.
Their route to the final did not begin well, with a thrashing away at Balladen in the opening fixture. Since that early hiccup, the team has gone from strength to strength, winning every game in a comfortable and stylish manner that teachers, spectators and opposition players have become accustomed to.
The blue and whites once again drew Balladen away in the semi-final, where they nicked victory with a late goal in a thrilling 2-3 win. This set up a repeat of the 2015/16 league final against Helmshore.
On a tricky pitch, St Veronica’s raced into an early lead with Jacob Hanson grabbing a first half hat-trick with amazing skill and speed beyond his year four frame. This complemented by the stern back three of Finlay McNally, Theo Braithwaite and Declan Reeder, gave the Helmshore attackers no reason to be optimistic and placed one hand on the trophy. Tireless running to create and exploit space from Zane Asfaha and Leon Grimshaw allowed for the introduction of Brodie Flynn and debutant Jay Hackett.
The second half began with Helmshore pushing forward to get back into the game, which left space in behind for the speedy Flynn who netted to make it 4-0. Soon after the score increased to five as captain Jamie McDonough picked the ball up on halfway and drove at the opposition defence before finishing with a powerful drive from outside the box. The final St Veronica’s goal was scored by Grimshaw, who showed great hunger to poach from close range after the keeper had spilled a blistering drive from Flynn. Credit to the spirit and fight of Helmshore School. They continued to press and were rewarded with a late consolation to round the scoring off at 6-1.St Veronica’s will hope to add to their trio of trophies when they face Balladen once again in the Rossendale Schools Cup final.