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National Semi Final PR - West Cornwall SFA U13

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This Saturday Gala Parc, Porthleven (2:30KO), will play host to one of the biggest games of football Cornwall has ever hosted. It may not attract the biggest ever crowd, or boost a team sheet of familiar names, but it features two teams who are battling it out for a place in the U13 District Schools National Final. And if you don’t recognise the names yet, you probably will be hearing a lot about them soon.

West Cornwall Schools U13 side will host Aston, Erdington & Saltley in the Semi Final on Saturday, a Birmingham based district side boasting a long CV of former and current international players who have all passed through their ranks. The likes of Ron Atkinson, Julian Dicks, Lee Hendrie, Darius Vassell, Barry Bannan and Gabby Agbonlahor would have all been unheard of, fresh faced youngsters in their time playing District football, but have all blossomed into household names up. Indeed, District sides like Aston often feature the pick of the best players across numerous Premiership and Championship sides from their areas.

While West Cornwall might not be able to boast as an impressive list of alumni, this year’s U13 side have proved they are capable of competing with best players in the Country. Having now beaten East Cornwall, Poole & East Dorset, North Somerset, Portsmouth and Waltham Forest, the talented bunch are just one win from a National Final, in what is likely to be one of the Country’s most prestigious Premiership or Championship grounds.

The District setup in West Cornwall, which covers the 15 secondary schools west of and including Truro, was re-launched by Jake Ash and Dan Inch just 4 years ago. The pair, who are employed as Football Development Officers at Penryn College and Cornwall College respectively, recognised the need to offer the County’s best footballers the chance to challenge themselves against similarly talented players beyond the County’s borders. The setup now has three teams at Under 13, Under 14 and Under 15, with Cornwall FA’s Long Term Player Development Centre’s supporting the pathway from Under 7 to Under 12 level. Kevin Lawrence was employed as Football Development Officer at Mounts Bay Academy in September 2012, and has supported this work, including taking charge of the Under 13’s this year.

“It has been my pleasure to work with these boys this year.” Lawrence, who also plays for South West Pensinsula West side Hayle, said. “Jake said to me at the trials that he felt this year’s group were a special one, and myself and Frazer (Cadman, assistant manager) have enjoyed this amazing journey with these boys immensely. They are a smashing group, who play the right way and with a great attitude. I am sure whatever happens on Saturday, you will hear a lot more about these boys in the coming years and it is great we are able to give them a chance to challenge themselves against top players.”

Indeed, the challenge is one that the Under 14 manager Jake Ash is confident they will rise to. Indeed, Ash - who played for Truro City in their 2007 FA Vase triumph at Wembley - reckons that should the team reach the final, it would even eclipse that famous day. “What Kevin and Frazer have achieved with the squad is something quite special. I genuinely believe that if they reach the final it would be the biggest achievement in Cornish football history. That might sound over the top, but in what other competition do teams from Cornwall play against the very, very best players from around the Country? The FA Vase was amazing, but that was only against players of a certain ability – it was capped.”

However, Saturday brings mixed emotions for Ash who is set to miss the game as he has been assisting with Truro City’s plight from the touchline as he recovers from his groin injury. “I am absolutely gutted I can’t be there to watch it on Saturday. If anyone see’s me checking my phone on Saturday during the game, they should know I definitely won’t be looking at the Premiership scores! I’ve already organised someone to give me minute by minute updates. But I am confident the boys will do themselves justice and enjoy the occasion. It is no fluke that they have got this far, there is some real genuine talent in there. Indeed, to reach this stage, alongside the other semi finalists who are essentially Liverpool, Birmingham and Newcastle, shows you their capability.”

There is no doubt that Saturday’s game will be a showcase of real talent. And should West Cornwall prevail, some very young players will have etched their names not only in to the minds of those watching, but surely into Cornish football history.

West Cornwall U13 Squad: Louis Graham (St Ives); Joshua Otto (St Ives); Tobi Horsell (St Ives); Jack Webber (Hayle); Ryan Barnes (Camborne); Oliver Pritchard (Richard Lander); Oliver Walker (Richard Lander); Adam Dower (Richard Lander); Jacob Trudgeon (Mounts Bay); Max Armstrong (Mounts Bay); Theo Simpson (Mounts Bay); Joel Allen (Penryn); Luke Jephcott (Penryn); Finn Robinson (Penryn); Finn Cross (Penryn); William Trew (Truro School).

Saturday 2nd March
West Cornwall v Aston, Edrington & Saltley
ESFA U13 District Cup Semi Final
2:30 KO @ Gala Parc, Porthleven.
£2 admission. 50p programme.

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Good luck to yourself, Frazer and the lads Kev, fantastic achievement already but would be great to go all the way!! It's been a pleasure watching yours and Jake's teams play over the last couple of seasons first hand and I know Jack loves Jake's training sessions and coaching. Brilliant experience for the boys and something that they will never forget and whatever standard they eventually aspire to what you are all doing for them now is making them better players and it will stand them in good stead for their future football careers.

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Good luck to the boys on saturday.Brings back happy memories from my schooldays when we( Poltair school)reached the u16 semi-finals before losing to Banbury school who were the biggest comprehensive school in the country.

Great fun and great games,i remember beating Bristol and Walsall in particular on the way,all their players were signed on back then with top football league sides like spurs,arsenal wba and villa and we only had 1 signed on for argyle.but we still beat them even though their players went on to become pros.

Enjoy the qccasion boys it is very rare to reach this far and can be a good shopwindow for premier scouts

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What a fantastic achievement from Kevin, the players, and all involved. Best of luck from us all at Wendron Fc. Just sorry we are in action ourselves today or else a number of us would have loved to be there cheering you on.

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well done to west cornwall u13 team for their excellent 2-0 semi final win over aston edrington and saltley this afternoon setting up a final with either bishop auckland or liverpool. i chose to go to see this game and was not disappointed .the cornish lads worked hard all afternoon backing each other up when needed and constantly caused the opposing defence problems with their slick pace. i cannot remember the name of the cornish lad playing at what i call centre back but he had one heck of a good game with free kicks etc, have seen senior players not getting free kicks past the half way line from just outside their own goal area, but he was landing them half way inside the opposition half for fun.

we could all see goals were going to come and for me the second and clinching goal was outstanding one on one with the keeper the cornish forward did,nt panic simply composed himself picked his spot and powered it past the visitors keeper.

a good afternoon all round played in a good sporting manner.

once again well done to kevin and frazer and the west cornwall u13 team for this achievment hope to be able to make the final.

if you were not able to go today i would urge you to go to the final and cheer the cornish lads on.

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As a parent would just like to say well done to the boys today on a fully deserved victory today. The West Cornwall goalie didn't have a save to make all game and we scored to well taken goals. Also would like to say thanks to kevin and fraser for managing and coaching this team and also Porthleven for there hospitality. Roll on the final as this team is a really talented team.

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A massive massive congratulations from all at East Cornwall SFA and Cornwall SFA. I had the pleasure and honour to watch the game yesterday and I was so impressed with the professionalism, attitude and effort put in by the West Cornwall lads. Although we have a bit of a friendly rivalry between the West and the East lads, it's always pleasing to see school boy footballers doing so well, and this is by far the greatest achievement in district and county schools football within the county. A massive amount of credit needs to go to the small group of individuals that work so hard in providing the amazing opportunities within the schools football structure, it's days like yesterday that make all the extra hours that people put in well worth it.

I must say I was a bit disappointed by the standard of West Cornwall opponents, I thought they would provide the boys a much harder test. Apart from the first 5 and last 5 minutes of the game, I thought West Cornwall dominated in all areas of the game throughout. They created more goalscoring opportunities, looked to play football the right way, worked harder than there opponents and kept there shape better. Both goals were fantastic, especially the first one, as the lads played through the phases, which resulted with some great 1on 1 play by the number 10, it all started from some great play from the number 8. The second goal was a wonderful composed finish.

It was s pleasing to see the West Cornwall boys represent their district with such pride and professionalism, this is surely down to the excellent values, standards and expectations the coaches have set. The players and Kevin should be so proud of themselves in the way they have conducted themselves all season, and how well they have represented themselves, their schools and their parents.

The Cornwall SFA look forward to supporting the boys and Kevin at the final (I am sure Jake will be after some money for something!!!!!), and once again congratulations to you, we are really proud of you all. What a wonderful few weeks for these boys, a trip to the ESFA Isle of Wight Festival and a national cup final. Well done.

Alan Yendell & all at East Cornwall and Cornwall SFA

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Cornish lads were far superier all over the pitch.They worked hard for one another and their control and passing was excellent.A good unit with no weak links they deserve their cup final. Got to agree with ayendell though i thought the opposition were poor but you can only beat whats put in front of you and hopefully we can go on and win the cup. Well done and congratulations to everyone involved :c:

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Thanks very much for all your support, it will be a great experience for the boys and anyone at the final and I urge as many to attend as possible, there will be travel provision made available for the final which will be at a professional ground (details TBC).

I can only echo Alan Yendall's kind and true words about the game and also re-mention the hard work and support network involved to make opportunities for school boys available to represent their District/County. I played for County at Senior and Youth level and I have some special memories from such experiences but not a National Final! Working with these boys and in all my Coaching work that i do, it is such an honour to see these boys playing and conducting themselves in such a professional and passionate manner and its special moments like this that make it all worth it.

Standing back and watching the support at the game was amazing, when the goals went in and when any player did something positive in the game it was fantastic to see such encouragement from the supporters. I remember when the second goal went in looking over at the crowd on the far bank...it was like a mexican wave, i remember thinking "this is what its about". Ammensly proud as a fellow Cornishman to see these young boys performing like Young men on and off the pitch. They have been competing and consistently beating the best school boys in the Country and hopefully they can go one step further, however, what ever the result they have done fantastic.

I would like to mention and thank Cornwall Schools FA, Cornwall FA, School Teachers, Parents, Local Football Club Coaches and Development Centre Coaches and of course my colleague Frazer, for all your support and great work we are all doing with the young boys in the County. Also, a special mention to Hayle FC and Porthleven FC for hosting the quarter final and semi final games. One last mention, thanks to the players who listen to everything we do and then use their very own creative instincts on the pitch for us all to sit back and enjoy some true footballing talent.

Will update you all soon with details of the final!

Kevin Lawrence (West Cornwall SFA U13 Manager)

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i was under the impression that the final was on either a premiership or championship ground so given the distance between the 2 sides possibly a midlands location , still no word on the official site just the fixture with date and venue shown as tbc.

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