With over 15 schools attending the inaugural MCFC Football Tournament on Friday, it was going to take an epic performance from one of the Bridgewater teams to challenge for honours. The B team were always going to be playing for the experience, but the undefeated Prep 3/4 boys were going to be there or there about’a at the business end of the tournament.
The B team had a tough draw in their group, with teams from Terra Nova, Manchester Grammar School and Wilmslow Prep to tackle. In the opening game against MGS, the defence battled hard and keeper Thomas made a string of good saves. Luca B was full of energy in midfield and put in a man of the match performance. Indeed the same players stood out in the second game against Terra Nova, but eventually the team lost 3-0 and 4-0 respectively.
In the final game of the group, Bridgewater found some form and ran out 3-1 winners over Wilmslow Prep. Toby A tapped into an empty net following good work from Joel, and Toby D added two more goals, that the team and Toby in particular deserved. The win put the boys into the QF of the plate competition against Rydel Prep. Both teams went close to winning the game, but at full time the game ended goalless and extra-time was needed to settle the match. A controversial goal from a corner was to give opposition a 1-0 win. It looked as though the ball had gone out first and keeper Luca C had clawed the ball back from crossing the line. Unfortunately, the referee saw it differently and the B team unluckily crashed out at this stage of their competition.
In the main draw the A team cruised through the group stage, finishing top of their mini league. An early tactical switch saw Matteo move to the back alongside Harper and Alfie to move into midfield. This was to prove crucial as the tournament developed, as the team looked defensively solid but threatening going forward. Goals from Craig, Alfie and a delightful chip from Joshua gave the boys a 3-0 win over Rydel Prep.
Kings of Chester were no match for the royalty from Worsley in the next game. Alfie scored the first of what was to be a serious of his long range “screamers”, whilst Jaydon, Craig, Josh and another from Alfie completed a 5-0 rout.
In the next game, Kings Macc shocked Bridgewater with a step up in the level of pressure applied against the team. Goalkeeper George made a string of important saves and Harper and Matteo were resolute in securing a 0-0 draw.
Bolton School were up next and a fine 3-0 win was the outcome. However, the game will be remembered by all who witnessed a thunder bolt free kick, from inside his own half(!),from Alfie. Craig added a second and Alfie capped a brilliant individual performance with a header from a Josh corner.
Topping the group stage, the quarter- finals beckoned, where St Ambrose Prep lay in wait. Bridgewater conceded what was to be the only goal of the tournament against them in the final minute of the game. However, at that point the match was over, with goals from Harper, Jaydon, Alfie and Craig putting the game beyond reach at 4-0.
Into the semi-finals and a confident Hale Prep were the expectant opponents. The game was hard fought and both teams went for the win. Matteo made a terrific last gasp tackle to prevent the team going 1-0 down. Hale we’re finally broken down by two long range shots from Alfie and a beautiful curler from Josh.
In the final, the favourites Kings Macc were the opponents, the only team Bridgewater had not scored against. This time, the team knew what to expect and were determined to show this. Once again, as finals should be, both teams had chances to win the game. However, another terrific strike from distance from captain and player of the tournament. Alfie midway through the game settled the game.
An outstanding team ethic, determined and commitment, mixed with spectacular individual performances and collective passing and movement on and off the ball. Both Bridgewater teams can be proud of how they played the game and not just the results today. Bridgewater deservedly won the MCFC tournament, but they also won a lot of support from those at the event with the manner and in which they played the game. Well done boys, it was pleasure to see you play today!