Shenfield High School

Shenfield on a High after National Cup Triumph!

Shenfield High School’s U14 boys were the third Shenfield School side to reach this year’s National Schools finals after a remarkable season in the English Schools FA competitions.

The U18 boys and U15 girls teams both lost their respective finals by the odd goal in games where they dominated the chances. The U15 girls were only denied by a controversial late penalty decision against them. Shenfield’s goalscorer in their 2-1 defeat,  Sophie Nyiro, did have the consolation of being awarded the Player of the Match award and a PS4 from tournament sponsors Playstation. She collected this from England Captain Steph Houghton who also presented her boots to the excellent Shenfield captain Maizi Garwood.

These narrow defeats just added further motivation to the coaching staff and the U14 boys for their final the very next day at Reading’s Madejski Stadium. Indeed the team, led by the inspired Ben Purbrick, came out of the traps with plenty of energy and dominating the first 15 minutes, including opportunities for Sam Defries and Teddy Cutmore. Stretford Grammar School came into the game as the half progressed by defences from both teams were strong and denied any clear cut chances.. Back out for the second half all of the play went through Captain Ben Purbrick who continued to pull the strings throughout the match and was unlucky not to receive the Player of the Match award. After a nail-biting final 5 minutes, in which Stretford looked dangerous, the game went straight to the lottery of penalties.

A number of players stepped up and volunteered to take penalties, with Ben Purbrick scoring the first to the keepers right side and Kingdom Dawson saving the first Stretford penalty. Successful penalties from Teddy Cutmore and Sam Blackholly were followed by a good save from the Stretford goalkeeper against an unlucky Caleb Adeboyega. Kieran Huddart showed great composure to find the top corner with his penalty leaving the pressure on goalkeeper Kingdom Dawson to first smash his penalty into the roof of the net and then force the final Stretford penalty wide of the goal. This signalled jubilant scenes including the whole Shenfield team running to embrace the penalty hero Kingdom. It was good to see the players immediately acknowledge their opposition who were a strong and disciplined team who coped well with the threat of leading goal scorer Deniro Pinto who had scored in every one of the previous 7 rounds to get Shenfield to help get Shenfield to the final.

Team manager Paul Chapman remarked, “After a lot of hard work and strong performances throughout the year, the relief and joy at the end was clear for all to see. A great occasion and a superb triumph for the boys. There were a lot of travelling supporters who we are very grateful to. There encouragement helped motivate the players and contributed to the success. This is the school’s 12th National sports title and 4th National football title in the last 12 years and with continued hard work and commitment form the players, parents and staff we hope there will be more to come for Shenfield.”