Above l to r: Priory School v Prestfelde in the U13s Final; Hallfield v The Ryleys; Beech Hall v Packwood
The weather forecast for Sunday was "changeable", but the first games of the Prep Schools Football Tournament began in bright sunshine and the footballers shone in their clean bright shirts, casting a rainbow of colour across the pristine School pitches. The Tournament has been running for over 20 years now and is a well established part of the football calendar. I noticed that the BBC 5 Live had sent their popular football pundit Robbie Savage to give them updates throughout the day… or maybe he was here to watch the Ryleys team that included his son!
The crowd was behaving itself and being treated to some high quality football. This came as no surprise, as there were players on Aston Villa, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion’s books. It was fantastic to witness the enthusiasm of youth playing with passion, pace and power. The willingness to take players on and go for goal is something that the England manager could take note of after his side’s drab display against the Ukraine.
The rain came and tried to dampen spirits but failed, as sanctuary was sought in Quod for the best cakes this side of Battenberg. The players continued despite the conditions and the ball was now zipping around on the greasy surface, increasing the precision passing game played by so many of the teams. A complete and uplifting rainbow was a dramatic back cloth to the final few matches.
For two teams the pot of gold was growing ever closer. In the under-13 tournament the Priory School Edgbaston had just too much for Foremarke School in an exciting and well contested final. The under-11 tournament was won by Hallfield in a dramatic sudden death penalty shoot-out after a tense and scoreless final against Prestfelde. Typically the missed penalty hit the post, amply exemplifying the tight margin between the two teams.
I hope that those who witnessed the events of the day returned to their homes and schools exhilarated after such a feast of football. I very much hope that some of the players on show will be back at some time in the future with a Salopian shirt on. If they do, I sense the future of Shrewsbury School football will be assured.
Results of all the matches can be found on the Shrewsbury School Prep Schools Six-a-side Football Tournament website.