London’s premier primary schools football tournament – the Mayor’s Cup – saw Fulham’s Holy Cross lift the trophy after out-muscling challengers Earls Court free school in a hard-fought final.
Played with grit, but also great sportsmanship, the boys’ event came to a head on Tuesday (11 July) at Ravenscourt Park where Holy Cross, in red, beat Earls Court, in orange, by two goals to nil.
In keeping with tradition, Hammersmith & Fulham Mayor, Cllr Patricia Quigley, presented the cup and medals to the winners and admitted she’d been completely caught up in all the excitement.
“I’m not a football expert, but I found the final so entertaining,” she said. “It really was a super-duper game!”
The girls’ section of the Mayor’s Cup tournament reaches its conclusion when the finals are played next week at Hurlingham Park.
For primary school boys in H&F, the 2022-23 Mayor's Cup has been a major part of life since September last year, with a total of 136 fixtures played in two halves of the competition – north and south of the borough.
In all, 36 primary schools took part, playing matches on Friday afternoons. H&F school games organiser Calum Fairley, who managed the finals on Ravenscourt Park’s all-weather pitches, was delighted with the way the tournament had gone.
“It was all played in a great spirit, with a very exciting final between the winners from the north, Earls Court, and the winners from the south, Holy Cross,” he said.
Holy Cross came close to glory last season, eventually having to settle for a win in the third-place play-off. But this year the team from the Roman Catholic primary in Basuto Road, Parsons Green, went all the way to the top, and will now have the trophy to display in the school until next year’s final.
“It was an exciting and fast-paced match,” said Calum. “In the end it was a really excellent game of football, worthy of the final, and played in a good, sporting spirit.
“Throughout the tournament we’ve witnessed high-class football, and some extraordinary talent from players on all sides.”
Calum also praised the refereeing, and thanked Marcin Rusieski from QPR, who officiated. Parents, school mates and passers-by applauded the finalists.
Losing finalists Earls Court free school primary, of Cambridge Grove, Hammersmith, showed huge promise throughout the competition. They had been determined to emulate the success of West London free school primary, who share the same site and were victors last year.
The competition is the longest-running primary schools’ football tournament in the capital, played eight-a-side with 20-minute matches.
In recent years, staff and coaches from the QPR in the Community Trust have been the referees and match officials, continuing the work they do on a week-by-week basis, running after-school clubs and covering all sports in PE as part of the football club’s community outreach.
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