By Joe Perkins

Short Heath erase memories of league heartache with Y4/5 victory; Bernie's so close but yet so far in terrific tournament.

The first of this year’s Summer Tournaments took place on Tuesday afternoon and in the sparkling sunshine it was Short Heath who were beaming widest as they successfully held on to the trophy they won back in 2019. It was a glorious afternoon’s football and the players who represented their schools served up a feast of goals, near misses, great saves and swashbuckling action in a fiercely competitive tournament.
The groups were all won relatively comfortably by Short Heath, Mapledene and from the group of five teams (Group C), St Bernadette’s – each one going unbeaten in doing so. The runners-up places and the elusive best third spot from the two groups of four, were much, much closer. Paget, Hillstone and Timberley were the three runners-up and they were joined in the last eight by Rosary (third in Group C) and by virtue of conceding just two less goals, St Barnabas found themselves in the knockout stages.
The Quarter-finals.
The last eight pitted Short Heath with Paget, Mapledene with Rosary, St Bernadette’s with Hillstone and Timberley, St Barnabas. As was expected, Short Heath and Paget served up a thriller with the Heathens coming out the best in the five goals shared. Mapledene were given an easier ride through to the semi-finals as they beat a lack-lustre Rosary, 3-0. The other two games were tight affairs and both required penalties to settle matters and it was St Bernadette’s and St Barnabas who won through to complete the last four.
The Semi-finals
It was quite a game between Mapledene and St Bernadette’s and both sides gave their absolute all in a terrific encounter. Bernie’s took the lead midway through the game, but a last gasp free-kick was diverted into the net and penalties were again needed to produce a winner – and once again it was St Bernadette’s. Bernie’s opponents in the final were Short Heath who made light work of their tie with St Barnabas – the Heathens scoring four without reply.
The Final
This was another belter of a game between two very talented sides. Short Heath were quickest out of the blocks though and their pressure was rewarded when they were awarded a penalty - a ‘dene defender kicked the ball away in his own penalty area. The spot kick, however, was spurned and the two sides continued their battle with tackles flying in and the ball fizzing around like a can of pop that had been rigorously shaken by a pesky kid. With two tricky and speedy attackers, Short Heath looked most likely though and they duly opened the scoring with three minutes to go. The Heathens sensed blood and added a second shortly after, and though Bernie’s kept battling away, Heath kept them at arm’s length to secure a second, consecutive Year 4/5 tournament win.
Heartiest congratulations to Short Heath on the retention of the trophy and commiserations to gallant runners-up, St Bernadette’s – and thanks too, to all twelve schools who made it such a memorable and pleasurable afternoon.

Where next?

HEATH'S GIRLS SAVOUR VICTORY! Short Heath 'double-up' in summer tournaments as the girls follow the Y5 boys to glory; Forest agony as they fall at final hurdle.
YOUTHS TITLE GLORY! Yardley prevail in epic final as Heath just fall short.

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