Greeted by a rather dull and drizzly June morning, the annual Cottingham Rangers tournament got underway with boys and girls descending from all over the East Riding and even further afield, including teams from Sheffield, York and North Lincolnshire. The morning session proved to be most entertaining with boys age groups from Under 7 to Under 10 and more than 30 teams across the age groups. This year there was so much interest for girl’s teams that Under 12 and Under 14 girls only leagues were included; both evenly contested and an absolute pleasure to watch. A number of mixed teams were also on display through the day. By the time the afternoon sessions were underway the weather had improved and the large crowds were treated to even more excellent football with boys age groups Under 12, 13 and 14 alongside the girls Under 14. It was not a surprise to learn that many professional clubs are eyeing up a number of the U14 girls that played and news filtered through toward the end of the day that at least 2 of the Cottingham Rangers U14 girls had been picked up by local clubs with many girls from other clubs also being considered. A credit to the local girls leagues and to the East Riding County FA and Hull & District Youth Football League for supporting the development of girl’s football in the region.
As the competition progressed the crowds increased and the standard of football on display followed suit. With local professional club scouts in attendance, it became apparent that tournaments play a big part in local recruitment and a number of the clubs on show had produced players that have gone on to represent professional clubs at some level; local grassroots is the breeding ground for future professional players and this should never be forgotten. Special praise should go to the U7 and U8 teams that took part; no winners or losers but teams that came to just enjoy playing and being part of something. All teams received medals for taking part; some players having never even played football in a team before. So to the results:
Under 9 – Winners = Hull United Reds, Runners-up = Tickton Buccaneers
Under 10 – Winners = Hull United Reds, Runners-up = Pelican United
Under 11 – Winners = Discovery Flyers, Runners-up = Hessle Sporting Lions
Under 12 – Winners = Pelican United, Runners-up = Hessle Sporting Barracudas Whites
Under 12 (Girls) – Winners = Hull United, Runners-up = Hessle Rangers
Under 13 – Winners = Sproatley Juniors, Runners-up = North Ferriby United Greens B
Under 14 – Winners = Hessle Sporting Harriers Whites, Runners-up = Bridlington Rangers Lions
Under 14 (Girls) – Winners = Hull United Blacks, Runners-up = Pinefleet Wolfreton
Praise should also go to the referees, a number only just older than players they were looking after. They were a credit to themselves, the county FA and the referee’s association in the region. Many players and coaches passed on positive comments which is very nice given that a referee’s job can certainly be tough. A special award was made to Geoff Golliker, outgoing Chairman of Cottingham Rangers, for his many years of dedication to the club and also for his input, in conjunction with the ERCFA, in establishing Walking Football in the region. Geoff and team mates were special guests of Roy Hodgson at St George’s Park for personal coaching where Roy passed on a few tips and maybe a couple of Euro 16 secrets! Overall a great day and thanks go to all players, coaches, supporters, sponsors and, of course, volunteers, who made the day memorable.
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