The sweltering conditions of the British spring provided challenging conditions for the 350 children who arrived at Cavendish Playing Fields for the 2017 Bunting Cup Tournament.
The sun shone and temperatures rose as girls and boys from across the Derbyshire Dales arrived to do battle.
An early start was scheduled to accommodate this year’s entry of 35 teams from 17 participating schools ; All Saint’s, Ashover, Baslow, Bonsall, Castle View, Darley Churchtown, Darley Dale, Great Longstone, Lea, Matlock Bath, Rowsley, St Joseph’s, Taddington & Priestcliffe, Tansley, Winster and Wirksworth and, making their tournament debut, Ridgeway.
The tournament consisted of six separate Bunting Cup competitions based on the size of schools.
The Small Girls group’s notable result was Castle View Cobra’s 4-0 victory over the Rowsley Raiders, with Erin James nabbing all four for the Cobras who topped the section to become group 1 champions, pipping Lea Lemurs by a couple of points. Rowsley Raiders recovered to a commendable 3rd place.
The Larger Girls school group, saw eight teams competing for silverware. Key results had Darley Dale Dolphins overcoming Baslow Crocodiles by 6-0 and All Saints Scorpions also defeating the Crocodiles, this time by 5-0. The final group standings showed Darley Dale Dolphins two points ahead of The Ridgeway Rebels, with All Saints Scorpions finishing third. The Baslow Crocodiles made up for their sorrows by snapping up the tournament Fair Play award.
Defending and super saves were paramount in the Small Schools section with a total of just seven goals in six matches being scored. Three of these were in Matlock Bath Marauders’ 3-0 victory over the Winster Wombats. Three victories out of three saw the Marauders take this championship with the Rowsley Rattlesnakes slithering into second place.
Again goals were scant and great goalkeeping to the fore in the Small/Medium group. The 10 section matches produced only a meagre eight goals, both the Tansley Tigers and the Lea Lizards keeping clean sheets in all their matches. Unsurprisingly, this tightest of leagues was decided on goal difference, the Tigers overcoming the Lizards by 1 goal. Castle View Commanders secured the third place slot.
The goal drought was over in the Large/Medium group which produced goals a plenty. Notable results were the Longstone Lions victories over Longstone Leopards and Baslow Dingoes by 5-0 and 4-0 respectively. Again, this was a closely contested group, the Lions displaying ultimate pride as they triumphed over the St Joseph Jaguars by goal difference, both teams finishing on 13 points. Longstone Leopards recovered to finish third in this group.
Slim margins were the order of the day again in the Large schools section, which had three teams undefeated! Darley Dale Dragons inflicted a telling “pest control” 6-0 score line on the Wirksworth Wasps, but all other matches were close affairs. The Dragons ultimately topped the table on goal difference over Bunting Cup debutants, Ridgeway Rangers. Third place went to the Ashover Adders.
The overall Champions Trophies, played for by the winners of each group, went to The Darley Dale Dolphins and The Darley Dale Dragons. Well done Darley Dale!
Tournament organiser Jeremy Wray of Castle View Primary School said: “It was brilliant to see all the children taking part so enthusiastically. The Bunting Cup has become the major football event in the Derbyshire Dales primary school calendar and it is fantastic to have had so many children taking part again.
“I’d really like to give a massive thank you to Tash Hubbard and The Cavendish Fields Sports Association, Carl Vickers and the apprentices at Matlock Town FC Academy, Jayne Allen and the Highfields School - Sports Ambassadors and Helen Reynolds and the Castle View Primary School PTA. All these people and their organisations contribute to making this event such a success. We couldn’t do it without them.”
The Bunting Cup winners for 2017 were; Small School Girls – Castle View Cobras, Large School Girls – Darley Dale Dolphins, Small School Boys – Matlock Bath Marauders, Small/Med Boys – Tansley Tigers, Large/Med Boys – Longstone Lions and Large Boys – Darley Dale Dragons. This year’s fair play award went to The Baslow Crocodiles.
Plans will soon begin for The Bunting Cup 2018.