WHAT started with preliminary rounds on the playing fields of Woodroffe School in September recently culminated in West Dorset-based Charmouth Primary School coming joint third in the national finals for small schools.
The school represented Dorset at the south west finals in Bristol four weeks ago and, after having beaten Wiltshire 2-0 with goals from Mattie Loader and Alex Campion, then went on to play Oxfordshire who were defeated 1-0 with Spike Tilley-Wyatt showing great energy in midfield.
The team has two very strong goalkeepers in Adam Rowe and Fred Morel who are rotated in every match and each were called on to make good saves in a 1-1 draw against Devon in a closely fought contest. This meant that Dorset and Hampshire were the two chosen representatives for the South West.
And so, last week the team had the privilege of playing at the 34,000 capacity Ricoh Stadium in Coventry.
There were eight teams, split into two leagues of four. Charmouth won the first match 2-0 against the south east including a goal from George Chapman and a strong performance from our vice-captain, Ollie Wren.
The next match finished in a 1-1 draw against the Midlands which meant a draw in the final group match against the North, would be enough to see them progress. With two minutes to go The North were winning 1-0 but Charmouth were rescued with a well-taken goal from Theo Whitely.
The semi final saw opponents Hampshire take an early lead which they held on top with the aid of the woodwork and some fine goalkeeping. This was Charmouth’s first defeat in 37 matches!
Manager Ian Mouland said: “This was a mixed tournament and yet, we only came against one girl across all of the other teams. But both Lemoni Gouldstone and Holly Perryment played every match for us and both were brilliant. The referee took them aside after the South Wests and told them that he wanted to see them playing for England one day!
“And finally, I want to mention my son Mattie Loader. He told me that I had never given him a man of the match in five years of me helping to run the football club. I want to thank him for being captain and I want him to know that I will be forever proud of him.
“Many thanks to my joint managers, Ross Travill and Rich Tilley and to Joe Stewart for helping us on the day.”