Brackenbury primary school’s footballers swept the board at this year’s Mayor’s Cup football tournament, triumphing in both boys’ and girls’ competitions.
As always, the eight-a-side event lived up to its billing as London’s most exciting – and longest-running – primary schools football competition.
It was a particularly impressive result for the girls, with Brackenbury retaining the trophy they had worked so hard to win last year.
The all-weather pitches at Ravenscourt Park were the venue for the grand finals, echoing to the chant and cheers from raucous supporters.
The boys’ final was fought out between Brackenbury in Hammersmith and St John’s in Fulham.
Wormholt Park had eased past Kenmont in the quarters, winning 5-3 on penalties after a goalless stalemate in normal and extra time.
Meanwhile, Brackenbury had easily overcome the challenge by their Hammersmith neighbours Flora Gardens, with a 4-0 win in the other north-of-the-borough quarter-final, before defeating Wormholt 3-1 to reach the final.
In the south of the borough draw, All Saints beat Larmenier & Sacred Heart of Brook Green on penalties in the quarters, with St John’s beating Hammersmith’s Melcombe 1-0.
St John’s pipped All Saints 2-0 in the semis to set up the final with Brackenbury. Surprisingly this year there was no sign of last year’s boys’ winners, St Stephen’s from Shepherds Bush – who had scraped a win in the 2017 final against Sir John Lillie by a single goal.
Playing 10 minutes each way in the final, Brackenbury beat St John’s by a single goal.
In the girls’ quarter finals, there were wins for St John XXlll against St Peter’s, Brackenbury against St Stephen’s, St John’s A against Queen’s Manor and Melcombe against All Saints.
The semis pitted Brackenbury against St John’s XXlll – a game Brackenbury won by a single goal – and St John’s against Melcombe, with St John’s reaching the final thanks to an identical scoreline.
Brackenbury girls retained their 2017 trophy, eventually beating St John’s on penalties after the final itself had finished goalless.
Calum Fairley, the school sports and games organiser for the borough, presented gold medals to the winners and silver to the runners-up, praising the admirable sportsmanship shown by all the young competitors.
“It was all played in a terrific spirit, sticking to the FA’s Respect code of conduct,” said Calum, who also thanked the coaches from QPR and Fulham football clubs for their commitment and professionalism, refereeing matches in an under 11s competition which has been running each year since 1989.
Proudly he reported: “There were no arguments, everyone shook hands respectfully and success and failure were applauded equally.”
The finals capped a huge tournament which saw the girls and the boys each playing 150 matches. The weather was good for the final, in contrast to the snow which forced a week’s delay for the quarters and semis.
The reward for Brackenbury’s teams – apart from a gleaming array of cups in their already cluttered trophy cabinet in Dalling Road – is the honour of representing Hammersmith & Fulham in the London Youth Games at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Place.