Ahead of the upcoming 2019/20 National Finals, our photographer takes a look back at some of the U12 Schools’ Cup action he’s encoutered over the last season
ESFA Under 12 Football – The Start of a School Football Journey
For many youngsters, the journey into national cup action representing their schools begins with our Under 12 competitions and this year we captured a number of memorable moments on route to the later stages.
Beginning in mid October we ventured to Harris CofE Academy in Rugby as they hosted Moulton School & Science College from Northampton on a damp Friday afternoon.
Despite winning away to a Northampton based school in the opening round, the hosts would exit the competition at round two as a goal in each half settled the tie in Moulton’s favour, the second goal coming from the penalty spot.
Just a few days later we made our shortest journey of the season with a walk to Ormiston Forge Academy in Cradley Heath as the welcomed Kenilworth School, again in the 2nd round of the U12 Boys Cup.
Having been delayed on route with motorway issues, the lads from Warwickshire saw no ill effect from their mini-bus adventure and won the game 4-0 with all the goals coming in a blistering display of attacking football.
The home side came close to reducing the arrears in the second half on a couple of occasions but were unable to mount a comeback.
Perhaps our most unfortunate U12 side were Bishop Ullathorne from Coventry who we first ventured out to see in the first week of December when they hosted Idsall School.
We took the train and bus although we would regret that decision after torrential rain meant a soggy journey home.
The game was played throughout the downpour and credit to both sets of players who seemed unhindered by the ever growing damp areas on the pitch – although the parents faced with muddy and wet kit may have had a different feeling on their return home!
Ullathorne were impressive 6-1 winners, although Idsall battled to the end and were happy to smile for the cameras at the end of the game – the kind of photo the kids will look back on when they are as old as me and try to remember who is who!
Just a fortnight later, and our last game before the Christmas break, saw us cover Bishop Ullathorne again as they faced a daunting trip to Thomas Telford.
Again the rain accompanied me on the Bishop Ullathorne boys journey although this would be its final destination, a narrow 2-1 defeat in an excellent cup tie with plenty of excitement and drama to take our minds off the weather.
All players embarking on their schools football journey at this age group probably don’t realise they are at the start of a number of years of fond memories from playing with their mates and representing their school and we look forward to seeing these players in the coming years!
Report and photographs courtesy of 353 Photography
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.