Matlock Town Girls U14s’ dramatic extra-time victory on Sunday ensured there was a home success to cap a fantastic two days of football at Cavendish Fields last weekend.
Matlock Town Juniors’ annual Festival of Football was blessed by wonderfully sunny, if windy, weather and some exhilarating matches.
With 119 teams and around 1,000 players from as far afield as Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire taking part, the logistics could have been challenging. Instead, the whole weekend went like clockwork.
Each age group was won by a different club, often in thrilling finals packed with quality and passion.
Dunkirk U7s played with flair and confidence that wouldn’t even have been expected of teams many years older than themselves and were worthy winners of the youngest age group, which included an U6s team made up of youngsters from Matlock Town Juniors soccer school, who proved a match for teams with a whole season of league football behind them.
The U9s and U11s trophies also crossed the border into Nottinghamshire, with Blidworth Welfare and Toton Reds respectively claiming those honours.
Mayfield FC’s success in the U13s category meant there was a Derbyshire triumph on day one, but Nottingham Forest took the Girls U11/12 title to complete a near clean sweep for our neighbouring county.
Day two had much to live up to, and did not disappoint, with Derbyshire teams prevailing in all but one age group.
The quality and drama of the U8s final between Dronfield Woodhouse Colts and Duffield saw Colts eventually have the edge, sealing the 2-0 win with a late breakaway goal as Duffield valiantly pushed for an equaliser.
A single goal took Brampton U10s past an unlucky Matlock side in their semi-final to meet Hucknall Sports, who had ended the hopes of Darley Dale at the same stage.
A penalty shoot-out was needed for the Chesterfield side to lift the trophy.
North Sheffield club Crosspool saw both their sides contest the U12 final, with the B side getting the better of the A team.
And Normanton All Stars from Derby saw off Mansfield team Sherwood Colliery in the U14s final with a late strike.
But the icing on the cake was when Matlock’s girls claimed the silverware in their gripping U13/14 final against Rolls Royce.
Holly Buchanan’s super strike in the semi-final had helped get them there, before two goals from Romy Wilson secured glory in the final and prompted noisy celebrations from the Junior Gladiators’ players, coaches and parents who had been eagerly cheering them on from the sidelines.