As the quarter and semi-finals of the borough’s eight-a-side primary schools’ football tournament loom, many teams are still in with a shout.
At stake for the winners of the girls’ and boys’ sections of the competition is the chance to represent Hammersmith & Fulham at the London Youth Games.
This weekend’s fixtures will give a clearer idea about which teams will contest the quarters and semis next Friday (3 March) at Ravenscourt Park and Hurlingham Park.
Current front-runners among the boys’ teams are St Stephen’s, St John XXIII, St Peter’s, Brackenbury, holders Greenside, Flora Gardens, Sir John Lillie (last year’s losing finalists), Melcombe, Queen’s Manor and Larmenier & Sacred Heart.
The girls’ competition is being led by Good Shepherd, St Stephen’s, Old Oak, St John XXIII, Brackenbury, Wormholt, Larmenier, Sir John Lillie, St Thomas, St John’s and Melcombe.
Boys – John Betts on a roll
In the past couple of weeks, the boys’ competition has seen a 2-0 and 3-0 wins for John Betts over Addison and Lena Gardens respectively, providing a late challenge to St Stephen’s in the northern half of the tournament.
Meanwhile, holders Greenside thrashed St Mary’s 5-0, and beat Flora Gardens 4-0 to produce a late surge of form.
In the boys’ southern section, All Saints and Sir John Lillie each achieved 7-0 results, in each case against Fulham Primary.
Girls – Finals approach
The stand-out results in February in the girls’ section include a 5-0 whitewash of John Betts by the players of Good Shepherd, the orange-shirted reigning champions, and a brace of 4-0 wins by Langford and Larmenier, once again at the expense of Fulham Primary.
The nail-biting conclusion – the grand finals afternoon – will be staged at 3pm on 10 March in Hurlingham Park, when the mayor will present trophies to the victors.
It is possible that the format of the competition, which has been running since 1989 and is one of the best supported in the capital, will change next season.
Organiser Calum Fairley is canvassing views of team coaches about the possibility of switching from weekly matches to a series of one-day tournaments, to make organisation smoother, iron out the backlogs that can arise from bad weather, and reduce the regular travel burden that some schools find challenging.
Coaches at Fulham and QPR have, once again, refereed the matches in this year’s competition, adding professionalism and a gloss of glamour to the tournament.