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Pinky Blinders!
Chesterton CE Primary SchooAfter maintaining their 100% record throughout the season against other school teams, Chesterton’s Year 5/6 girls' team took up the challenge of playing against some of Oxfordshire's best club sides at the Launton Ladies 5-a-side tournament.

Fresh from a 6-0 victory against Langford Village three days before and looking resplendent in their new bright pink kit, the team (minus Georgia, who was at an athletics competition) arrived on a warm Sunday morning not knowing quite what to expect...

With ten pitches in action, from Under 9s to adult teams, there were certainly a few nerves at what we had let ourselves in for, given that we were the only school side in attendance. After setting up camp next to our pitch and a good warm up, the girls took to the field to play Kidlington Youth. With a couple of particularly talented forwards in their ranks, Kidlington took an early lead. However, there was no need to panic as quick-fire strikes from Jasmine Kirby and Lucy Hayes sent Chesterton ahead. The play was end to end and, although we still looked dangerous going forward, Kidlington equalised to make it 2-2. We were definitely not downhearted, given that our aim at the start of the day was just to score a goal! With two goals and a point already achieved, the team looked forward to the rest of the competition with increased confidence.

Chesterton CE Primary SchooNext up were the 'giants' of our group – Oxford City. With a physically strong side and strikers willing to shoot from distance, they were always going to be a tough proposition. However, the girls acquitted themselves really well and challenged their opponents bravely throughout, but eventually went behind to a powerful strike. Only losing narrowly 1-0 to such a strong side was another admirable result.

After Oxford City won their other two matches to top the group, and Kidlington and our final opponents, Launton, playing out a 0-0 draw, the Chesterton team knew that a win would see them through to the knockout stages, something that had seemed unthinkable at the beginning of the day. With a very nervous manager on the touchline and their enthusiastic supporters cheering them on, the team started strongly with tenacious tackling and pace on the break. Before long, Jasmine Kirby had notched her second of the day to send Chesterton into a 1-0 lead. Soon after, one became two as Jasmine again finished expertly with her weaker foot to double the lead. We were then in dreamland as Jasmine completed her hat-trick with an emphatic finish to make it 3-0! Jasmine's 4 goals in the competition took her to an incredible 17 for the season. In support of their star striker, Lucy Hayes put in a magnificent all-round midfield performance and Jessica Rotherham showed how much she has improved this season with a tireless running, tackling, passing and heading. Committed defending and ferocious tackling from Charlotte Kavanagh, Inés Piaget-Thompson and Millie Mansley, along with great goal keeping from Gemma Blake ensured that the talented Launton attack couldn't break us down. The standard of the football was outstanding against strong opposition and we maintained our clean sheet until the final whistle to seal the runners-up spot in the group and qualify for the semi-finals. If I have overseen a better performance by a school football team, I can't remember when!

Unfortunately, we weren't at our best in the semi-final and Headington Youth, including a number of players who have played for Oxford United's academy, were just too strong and deservedly progressed to the final to meet Oxford City. Rather than dwelling on that defeat, we can look back with immense pride at a competition where we had proved that we were able to compete with club teams, only losing to the two eventual finalists. Throughout the day, our play drew many compliments from our opponents; some asking what league we usually played in and some asking our players to join them! If we had started the day with nervous optimism, we finished it with huge pride and a great sense of achievement. I hope that, one way or another, this won't be the last time that our footballing girls take to the field with club players. Massive congratulations to all of our team and many thanks to our wonderful supporters.
Mr Horne
Chesterton CE Primary School
Chesterton CE Primary School              Alchester Road, Chesterton, Bicester              Oxon OX26 1UN
Tel: 01869 252498              Fax: 01869 244012