St Bede’s current Year 8 have always been a talented bunch of footballers. They have won the District Championship every year that they have been in school and also won the County Championship last year. In last year’s National Cup, they reached the last 32 where they were harshly eliminated by Wigston Academy from Leicester.
This year has been a different story with the team going on a 22 match winning streak. This run is even more remarkable when you know that St Bede’s has had no pitch to use following the completion of a multi-million pounds sports hall, which included the pitches being levelled and drained. The boys have had limited practices but are grateful to Woodfield Academy, St Augustine’s High and Redditch United for allowing them to play and train at the various pitches.
In the District Cup, they dominated all in front of them, winning their group comfortably and beat Birchensale to reach the final.
In the National Cup they started with an away win against Nunnery Wood. Victories continued to be enjoyed against Park hall, Finham Park, Summerhill and St Augustine’s.
The last 16 saw Redditch United offer to host St Bede’s for the first time since the District Final and a tough St Thomas More team Nuneaton gave St Bede’s their toughest win of the season. The Quarter Final game against Samworth Academy from Mansfield will go down as undoubtedly the most entertaining game ever to be hosted by Redditch United. 2 – 0 down at half time, the boys knew they had the quality to win the game but the long throw-ins from Samworth were always a threat. Defenders Cian Amphlett, Tom Sanders, Regan Salisbury and Matt Barrattt dealt with this threat comfortably and St Bede’s dominated possession but could not score. With ten minutes to go, Cian Hodson finally grabbed the goal their pressure deserved. Charlie Williams equalised with five minutes to go with a free kick. Unfortunately, in the last minute St Bede’s conceded a free kick and conceded what looked like a winner. However, Jake Staunton again came to the rescue with an equalizer deep in to injury time to send the game to extra time. Charlie Williams and Jake Staunton scored to give the boys a deserved victory and put St Bede’s in to the semi-finals for the first time in the school’s history.
The semi-final was again held at Redditch United and saw Ashington High School make the long trip from Newcastle. St Bede’s started strongly and took a deserved lead and went on to secure victory.
Assistant Principal Matt Russell said, ‘This group of boys have secured legendary status by making the school and community so proud by reaching an ESFA National final at 11 a side. They are a pleasure to coach as they listen so well to instructions and this was shown in the semi-final where they executed all the plans we had put in place. Looking forward to the final now.’
By Julie Bush,
St Bede’s Catholic Middle School, Redditch