Over the weekend of 25 and 26 May 2002 we staged our 4th Annual Summer Football Tournament and probably, for the wrong reason, this will prove to be the most memorable yet as will become clear later.
Due to the unavailability of some key people (holidays/wedding), other functions/events at the Miners’ Welfare, our knowledge of other tournaments being staged and the World Cup, we decided to move the date of our Tournament from our usual first weekend in July to what was the nearest other available weekend. We found out later that Kimberley Town and Ruddington had tournaments on the same days but by then it was too late to change as invitation letters had already been posted.
We had made a decision during the organisation process that we’d cut down on the number of available places for teams. The main reasons for this decision were twofold. Firstly, the way we run our tournament we aim to place the last 16 into the knock-out stages which, when running two age groups concurrently, means that one age group is allocated all 8 pitches for this round whilst the other age group sits it out and then vice versa. These games are then followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and then the final. In other words we have 5 allocated rounds in which extra time and penalties are possible (and from experience we are finding that this inevitably happens in most of these rounds).
As a consequence we are prone to timing slippage and we wanted to avoid our 2001 problem where we had morning sessions overlapping with the afternoons. Secondly, our referees are like gold, but we only have a finite number and again in 2001 we found ourselves with a shortage - many referees having to officiate games back to back. For these reasons the number of competing teams was reduced from 162 in 2001 to 121 this year. This was achieved by eliminating two complete age groups, one each from both morning sessions. This seemed to be successful in that we didn’t find ourselves with an overlap situation although we will no doubt consider our options again for the future.
The weather forecast hadn’t been encouraging and as the Saturday morning session began with the Under 10’s competing for the Wrangler sponsored trophy there was drizzle about but no indication as to what was to follow later in the tournament. Also in this session we staged a mini Under 6 competition sponsored by Golden Wonder where nine teams competed in a thoroughly entertaining contest. Calverton entered five teams across these two age group with Calverton ‘C’ of the under 10’s being the most successful. They actually beat the eventual winners of the tournament 4-0 in the group stages but were unlucky to be eliminated at the quarter-final stage following a penalty shoot-out. The Under 6 competition was a joy to watch and cumulated in Awsworth Villa narrowly beating West Bridgford in an exciting final. West Bridgford lifted the Wrangler Under 10 trophy with a win against Hucknall Rolls in the final.
Winners of the under 6s Awsworth Villa
|Winners of the under 10s West Bridgford|
In the afternoon a total of 40 teams took part in the Focus Label Machinery sponsored Under 8 and the Mapperley Sports sponsored Under 9 tournaments. Although the skies were grey it was these ages groups that attracted the most spectators over the weekend and apart from the football, the bouncy castle and slides were in almost constant use. The entire afternoon session ran well and as we approached the conclusion we found an Aslockton Cranmers team doing very well in both of the age groups. So much so that the spectators of each of their teams delayed the scheduled kick off times whilst they cheered on their compatriots in the other age group. As it turned out, although Aslockton reached both finals, unfortunately for them, they won neither as Bingham (Under 8) and Hucknall Rolls (Under 9) lifted the winners’ trophy. One of the young Bingham players told me that the previous week they had played Aslockton in the final at Cotgrave and in that game the result was reversed – Aslockton beating Bingham.
Winners of the under 8s Bingham.
|Winners of the under 9s Hucknall Rolls|
Saturday was a good day all-round with the Hair Spraying and Face Painting being popular, Beat The Keeper was a success, Dennis came up trumps with his Balls, the raffle and the tombola were well supported, there was an almost constant queue at the barbeque, the tea & cake ladies were run off their feet, the Slush drinks went a bomb and Edna did a super job on the bouncy castle as did everyone involved in running all the stalls. Bob did his usual superb job in marking out the pitches. The whole place looked tidy with litter pickers regularly patrolling. Well done to the lads who help put up and took down the goals, the pitch ropes, scaffolding, tents etc., to those in the scorers room and to Gerry, Carole and their bar staff. Programmes were selling that fast that we needed a reprint. A tremendous amount of credit should be paid to all who contributed and gave up their time, many who do not even have lads playing for our teams. Our referees were, as ever, indispensable and well organised. John Arnold frequently risked electrocution on the rain drenched PA as he tried to keep the games running to time. As always, we won’t make the mistake of naming names for fear of excluding someone but everyone involved can take a great deal of satisfaction in contributing to an excellent event in difficult conditions.
And so to Sunday! The morning was wet, heavy showers indispersed with bright sunshine. During this session we had the Under 13 tournament. Without a team of our own in this age group we were extremely pleased that Bill Bennett’s boss at Troax Ltd agreed to enter a team in our name from Swindon (Wiltshire). These lads had travelled up early in torrential rain to take part under the name of Calverton Robins (Robins – nickname of Swindon Town). Unfortunately, although putting up a spirited performance, they went out at the group stage.
Black and Gold
As the morning wore on the showers became more frequent, heavier and longer.
In the semi-finals, Porchester Lions, who had entered two teams – Black and Gold – faced each other and in an extremely tight game the Gold team triumphed in a penalty shoot-out. Prior to this, one of the groups looked very strong with West Bridgford Sunday (2001 winners) and the Porchester Lions Gold teams being particularly impressive. The way the fixtures were structured, the only way they could play each other for a second time would be if they both reached the final and this proved to be the case. In a high paced final West Bridgford retained the trophy with a 3-1 win.
Winners of the under 13s
Persistent rain had set in as the Under 11 and 12 teams arrived for the afternoon tournament but nevertheless they were extremely well supported and in all there must have been in the high hundreds of people at the Top Club. As the group section of the event got underway the rain became heavier until at about 3.40 with only the third set of games in progress the heavens opened and we witnessed a 20 minute deluge of hail, stair-rods, thunder and lightening. It was difficult to see, never mind play football – the sky was a dark green colour - and all nine games in progress were abandoned with the intention of restarting them when the rain eased.
When this eventually happened, and although the rain was still heavy, an attempt was made to go out and restart. It was only then that the effects of this latest downpour could be seem as 5 or 6 of the nine pitches lay about an inch under water. Not only were the pitches not conducive to playing football the consensus of all the team managers was that they were also unsafe for the players and extremely unpleasant for the spectators. Certainly, nobody there will forget the Calverton 2002 Summer Tournament in a hurry!
After all the hard work that had gone in towards staging this event and the time and effort of all the teams in actually coming to our tournament, it was a major disappointment that there was no option but to abandon the whole thing. However, under the circumstances we are sure that the decision was not only the right one, but the only one open to us. Even at 7 o’clock when dismantling the goalposts some of the pitches were still under water.
Shortly after this abandonment the Tournament Management Committee, the Senior Football Club Committee and key personnel of the Miners’ Welfare met to discuss what course of action we should take and the unanimous consensus was very quickly reached
that we should re-stage the event for these age groups.
Invitation letters were sent to all the Under 11 and Under 12 teams asking them to return on 4 August to re-run the May tournament which was aborted. A number of factors were taken into consideration when arriving at this date such as prior events taking place at the Miners Welfare, holidays of key people (such as Bob our groundsman!) and dates of other tournaments which we knew were being staged at other clubs. Unfortunately, we realised too that as this was to be staged during school holiday times the likelihood was that some players would be away and that all teams may not be able to come back.
We were extremely pleased that the uptake was good and preparations were put in place to go ahead.
Queen’s Golden Jubilee
During the early summer months, we as a club put the wheels in motion to establish a brand new girls section. An application was made for an ‘Awards for All’ grant to assist us in this project and this application was successful. As this year is the Queens Golden Jubilee we aimed to stage a mini tournament for the girls which helped with our grant application as we were able to kite mark it as a Jubilee event. With brand new team managers (Bill Bennett & Leon Murdy) we were delighted to find ourselves with sufficient numbers of girls to form Under 10 and Under 12 teams for next season and we saw this tournament as an ideal vehicle to give the girls their first taste of competitive football as a team. A decision was made to dovetail the girls ‘Golden Jubilee Tournament’ into that of the re-run for the lads. As we have no previous experience of girls football we had absolutely no contacts with other clubs. Letters were distributed at the inaugural ‘Nottinghamshire Ladies and Girls Football League’ meeting, e-mails sent to anyone who had an e-mail address in numerous Girls Football web sites, adverts placed in the Evening Post and phone calls made to all newly registered clubs with the co-operation of the league and FA.
Eventually we ended up with 22 girls teams together with 26 boys teams willing to take part. All our usual attractions, not usually associated with football tournaments, were in place, raffles, tombolas, barbecue, face painters, beat the ‘keeper, ice creams, tea ladies, bouncy castle, giant slide etc and this together with the football generated a good atmosphere.
The morning saw the re-run of the Under 12 lads with each team enjoying six games of football in the group stages. The semi-finals were contested between Bulwell Rangers and Hucknall Rolls A on pitch 3 and Calverton and Hucknall Rolls B on pitch 4. After closely contested game both Hucknall Rolls teams emerged as winners and played each other in the final. Both sets of medals and the Golden Wonder trophy were all taken back to Hucknall.
At the same time the Under 12 girls competed in a very enjoyable tournament. Our girls played their hearts out and every one of them turned out excellent performances. Experience was the deciding factor in the end though, as the trophy was won by an extremely impressive Nottingham Forest team. Perhaps the star of this tournament was one young West Bridgford player who scored 5 goals in one game and six in another.
Under 12 boys winners Hucknall Rolls
|Under 12 girls winners Nottingham Forest|
Six under 10 girls teams competed in the afternoon session, all playing 5 games with the top 4 going into the knock-out. This competition generated a great deal of interest as teams from Arnold, Ilkeston Town, Linby, Beeston Town and ourselves with 2 teams challenged for the brand new trophy. Every team demonstrated a fair degree of skill and determination and every game finished with very tight scores. Again, our girls did Calverton proud with some excellent performances. Leon, their manager, has certainly instilled a bit of ‘togetherness’ as they displayed a tremendous team spirit. One of our teams finished a highly commendable third in the group before being eliminated by a well organised Arnold team in the semi-finals. Ilkeston Town saw off the group winners Beeston in the other semi before going on to beat Arnold in a penalty shoot-out in the final. It should be noted that the girls of both Arnold and Ilkeston not only played seven games of football but that neither side had a substitute which meant that each girl played every game in its entirety.
The lads tournament was equally entertaining and the standard of this competition was very high. Again, plenty of group football (5 matches for each team) leading to quarter-final, semi-final and the final itself. Both Calverton teams gave good accounts of themselves but unfortunately didn’t progress beyond the group stage. The final was contested between the ‘Red Devils’ of Pheasant Colts and Vernon and again, just like the girls earlier went to a penalty shoot-out. Vernon emerging as eventual winners after something like 20 penalties had hit the net.
|Under 11 boys winners Vernon Colts||Under 10 Girls winners Ilkeston|
The number of positive and encouraging comments we received throughout the day from a number of different clubs were very nice to hear. Apart from a few fixture difficulties earlier in the day caused in the main by a couple of teams not arriving the day itself ran very smoothly and everyone seemed to understand our difficulties. The whole day was incident free and every team, spectators and players alike were impeccable.
Everyone at Calverton extends our thanks to all the clubs who attended a successful and enjoyable event and sincerely wish you the best of luck for the forthcoming season.
Special thanks to the lads of the Under 12 lads All Stars team who stepped in at the last minute.