Sports Captain Cameron wrote about his experience at the Independent Schools Association’s National Football Finals.

On Thursday 16th March, we travelled to St. George’s Park on the minibus. We practised all of our team chants on the way down, Mr. Nicholson’s and Mark’s ears must have hurt!

Before going to the hotel, we went for a tour around St George’s Park. The pitches were amazing. It must be one of the best facilities in the world. We saw a statue of the first black goalkeeper for England, a big water fountain and there were lots of signed England strips and trophies.

We then drove to our hotel and met our parents. We had a nice meal in beefeater and even bumped into some of our rivals who we beat the next day!

During the meal, Mr Nicholson gave our parents nice Ghyll Royd hats and scarves to make them look like proper supporters. He then made a speech and gave us a present each. We were so crazily excited to see what was inside. When we opened the packages, there was a full brand new Ghyll Royd football strip just for us. We were all in awe! We wanted to put them on straight away. The strip was so cool and made us feel so happy and excited to play the next day.

We were going to look like a top team.

In the morning, we all met up to have breakfast. We were all so nervous and excited. We had a full breakfast so that we had lots of energy for the rest of the day. After breakfast, we got changed into our strips. We then said goodbye to our supporters and went in the mini-bus to St George’s Park, we chanted “When Ghyll Royd go marching in” the whole way there.

When we arrived, we went into the indoor astroturf pitch where the tournament was being played. It had 4 pitches in it, a viewing platform for the parents and lots of windows looking out to the countryside. It was mesmerising! Mr Nicholson got us to warm up by doing football drills then the organisers spoke to us about all of the rules. It was now time to start the tournament! We were so nervous but our competitive instincts kicked in.

In the National Group Stage we had 6 matches.

The first game was against Little Garth and we drew 0 – 0. It was a close match and there were lots of opportunities for us to score but we didn’t take them.
In our second game against Trinity Devon, we won 5-0. We passed the ball gracefully and made sure we got our shots on target.

Our third match was against St Dom’s Priory Staffordshire. We won 6-1, we put full effort in and had great teamwork.

Our fourth match was against Sacred Heart. We had another good win at 4-2.

Our fifth match was against St John’s. It was tough and was a 0-0 draw.

Our sixth match was against Sherborne . We wanted to make sure we got through to the cup final so made sure we won. We won 3-0.

We were all very sad about the group stages because we thought that we wouldn’t be in the cup finals. It felt like a really long wait to hear the announcement. When Mr. Nicholson told us we made it to the National Cup Finals stage we all started shouting “WE ARE IN THE CUP FINALS!” and jumped around with joy.

Our first match in the Cup Finals was against King’s Chester. It was a 1-1 draw. We were so upset after the match because the referee didn’t give a clear goal that went past the line. Even the other referee said it was a goal and our parents had it on camera. Mr Nicholson said don’t worry about it.

Our second match was against Claire’s Court. It was another tough game but we won 2-1.

Our third match, to get through to the final was against Lady Barn. We were so fuelled up to get the finals that we won 7-2.

We were then through to the National Finals! We were so nervous and pumped up for our final game.

The final against St John’s was tough but we persevered and fought hard to make sure we won. We were so relieved and happy when we heard the final whistle blow. We won 3-2! We couldn’t believe it.


The Ghyll Royd Football Team want to say a huge thank you to Mr Martin and Mr Nicholson for giving us such an unforgettable experience in our last year of primary school. And thank you to Mark for helping to look after us.

It’s a memory that will last a lifetime.

Cameron Mackie, Form 6

Excellent writing, Cameron. We can really feel what it must have been like to be there!

You can read our own report on our news page.