MPW at St George's Park - The Home of English Football
MPW Cambridge Football team have just returned from a fantastic tournament at St George’s Park, the home of English Football. The day was a great success and has fuelled the team’s appetite for more training and even more matches. Even though the journey to Staffordshire was long, the football and playing against other independent schools was a wonderful experience and as you will see from the results, the team grew into the tournament.
At MPW Cambridge, football as an extra-curricular activity is thriving. We have a small but enthusiastic core team of players, who practise one hour per week at a local five-a-side arena. This year we have played only two games against our sister college from Birmingham and have lost on both occasions. However, our spirit had not been dampened and our expectations for this tournament were more about enjoyment and experience rather than mounting a serious challenge for the trophy!
The tournament, now in its fifth year, saw teams travel from around the country to take part in an energetic day of short, intense games. The format of the event involved twelve seven-a-side teams competing in a round-robin stage, with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals before the final. All taking place at St George’s Park ,the English Football Association’s national football centre built on a 330-acre site at Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, this was an ‘in at the deep end’ moment for our group of seven players. The team comprised Tom (goalkeeper), Luke, Kameron, Alex (Captain), Olli, Seb and Riad, a mixture of GCSE and LVI students.
The first match was against MPW Birmingham and the team started brightly scoring and excellent early goal. Unfortunately, the team allowed Birmingham back into the game and they eventually lost 3-1. This game was a steep learning curve and the team needed to learn from this defeat. The team were by no means outclassed and if they could cut out the minor errors, they would have a chance of progressing. In their second game, they came up against the local rivals of CATS Cambridge who went on to win the whole tournament. This was the team’s best collective performance and were very unlucky to lose 1-0 to a set piece goal. This result was put into context as MPW Birmingham lost to CATS 3-0.
Despite a second loss, the team’s heads did not drop and their next challenge was Oxford International College. All of the team worked tirelessly in this game and went 1-0 up midway through the game and with some great defending and a bit of luck the final whistle went and they had their first victory!
In the final group match the team were up against Oxford Sixth Form College who went on to reach the final. The team again had chances, but couldn’t take them and eventually succumbed, to a 2-0 loss.
The team can and should be very proud of their efforts and will learn from their experiences. Next year the majority of the team will be returning and should be looking at improving on their mid table finish - and look at reaching the knock-out stages.
"Well played, team!"