On Friday 10th May, the St Edmund’s Prep Under 11A boys football team set off excitedly for Butlins in Bognor Regis to participate in the ESF Festival of Football weekend.  After arriving at the resort on Friday afternoon, the boys unpacked their belongings in their apartments and then set off for the swimming pool. After crashing around in the rapids and on the flumes, the team got ready and went out for dinner together as a team at Papa John’s pizza restaurant. They rounded off the evening with a visit to the arcades in the Butlin’s Big Top, a firm favourite activity on every football tour.

Saturday morning began with our first three matches at Arena Sports Centre in Bognor Regis.  Our first game ended in a resounding 10-0 victory against Tondu United FC. Our second game ended in a 1–0 win against Hayden Wolves and this turned out to be a very important result.  The match was goalless until mid way through the second half when we scored from a corner routine. Our final match ended in a thrilling 4 – 0 victory against Bognor Regis Whites. It was great to finish the day with a maximum of 9 points and in joint 1st place in the group, having scored 15 goals and conceded 0. On arrival back at Butlins, the boys got ready for a special evening meal at The Diner.  We were joined by a large  number of the parents and on a table for thirty we all celebrated the 11th birthdays of two of our players.

Waking up on Sunday morning, we knew that to progress into the semi finals we probably needed at least one point from our final two games. Our first game was against MB Coaching which ended in a 0-4 defeat as the boys came up against a formidable opponent. The boys did not let their heads drop however, and showed amazing resilience to earn a battling 1–0 win against Met Police Reds to secure their place in the semi finals.  St Edmund’s Prep were then paired with the Met Police Blues who had won the other group and had claimed some impressive results along the way.  However, St Edmund’s Prep dominate this match and their pressure was rewarded with a last minute winner, progressing to the final with a last minute winner.  The final was against MB Coaching, our opponent from the groups stages.  This time we had a plan and the boys were executing it to perfection.  Just as the game looked as though it would go to penalties, their team scored with a last-minute free kick.

Overall the boys finished as runners-up.  Second place was the best finish that a St Edmund’s Prep team have ever achieved in a competition that is filled with club sides.  Our boys also attained one of the best ever placings for a school team at an ESF event which was also quite a feat, losing to a team that won the Grand ESF Champion Of Champions Final last year at St George’s Park.