OVER 110 teams from across nine age groups enjoyed an action-packed festival of football at Wootton Bassett Town’s youth six-a-side tournament at Ballards Ash this weekend, writes STUART SMEDLEY.
Fighting through heavy rain and hail Greenmeadow Youth City were the first winners of the weekend, triumphing in the under nines competition.
A 1-0 group stage loss against Croft Juniors Red meant they progressed as runners-up in Group B. Despite the less favourable route to the final that gave them, Greenmeadow beat Trowbridge Wanderers by a solitary goal in the last eight before gaining revenge over Croft with a 1-0 win against them in the semi-finals.
Purton Youth, who overcame FC Calne on penalties in the last four, ended up going down 2-0 to Greenmeadow in the final.
Wootton Bassett Town Blue secured a ‘home’ victory in the under 11s age group. They started the day badly, suffering a 3-0 loss in their opening group game.
But three straight wins wrapped up runners-up spot in Group A. They then beat Malmesbury Eagles and Derry Hill Vulcans 2-0 to set up a clash with Croft Juniors in the final.
Croft kept up their record of not conceding a goal in the competition, but fell on penalties as Bassett prevailed.
Ferndale advanced after finishing second in Group A and defeating Faringdon Town B 2-0 and then FC Chippenham Youth on penalties.
In the Sunday sunshine Robins were penalty kings, winning shootouts in the quarter and semi-finals before beating FC Abbey Meads A on spot-kicks to lift the trophy.
They had stormed through Group B, dropping just two points in a draw with their eventual final opponents. Robins then failed to find a way past Shaw Eagles and Group A runners-up Devizes Town Youth, but held their nerve against both to advance on penalties before repeating that trick in the showpiece.
The under 14s final was an all-Bassett affair, with Blue defeating Yellow on penalties after a 0-0 stalemate.
The Blues struggled somewhat in the group stages, finishing third. But they then were able to defeat Chiseldon A 1-0 before gaining revenge for a group stage loss against North Bristol FDC in the last four.
The hosts finished the weekend with a second triumph as Bassett Under 10 Blue downed Pewsey Vale 1-0 in the final thanks to a stunning long-range goal. That match pitted the best two sides in Group A who had then survived shootouts to set up a rematch, with the final score a reverse of their earlier meeting.
Non-competitive festivals of football were also run at the under six, seven and eight groups with a trophy presented to the team deemed most sporting by the referees.
Thirty-five teams competed across these age groups with Melksham Town A (under sixes) Melksham United A (under sevens), Stratton Juniors (under eights) taking the overall prizes.
Commenting on the weekend’s football, Pete Yeardley, Woootton Bassett Town’s Head of Youth Section, said: “It was another successful tournament thanks to a fantastic team effort from all sections of the club.”
“Thanks also must be expressed to Royal Wootton Bassett Rugby Football Club for allowing us to host the event in our traditional venue. Final thanks go to the participating teams, players and parents for supporting the event in a friendly, enjoyable atmosphere that exemplified everything positive about grass roots youth football.”