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Football fever comes to college

Posted: 16 June 2017

Students and staff at West Nottinghamshire College swapped the classroom for the beautiful game to compete for glory in its end-of-year football tournament.

Men’s, women’s and ‘ability counts’ teams battled it out in a five-a-side extravaganza on the sports field at the Derby Road campus, Mansfield, earlier this week (Wednesday 14 June).

It saw them compete in a series of group games, with the winners and runners-up progressing to the final in their respective categories – and the chance to be crowned category champions.

As well as being the main sporting finalé to the academic year, the competition was also held to celebrate and raise awareness of the protected characteristics of race, gender, sexual orientation and disability through football.

Organised by the sport development and student experience teams with help from student volunteers, the West Notts United Equality and Diversity Football Tournament kicked-off with a 90-second applause while Oasis hit Don’t Look Back in Anger was played, to remember those affected by the recent Manchester bombing and London terror attacks.

Fifteen teams entered the tournament, made up of students, staff and representatives from partner organisations, with squads of up to seven players.

The women’s category was contested by two student teams and a team from Sherwood Colliery FC Ladies – with the top two from the round-robin group stage progressing to the final.

The final saw West Notts Ladies, consisting of sport and public service students Amie Evans, Gemma Wilcock, Harriet Hill, Rhianna Fox and Robyn Turner, take on Jo’s Angels; childcare students Chantel Sycamore, Derry King, Jessica Beard, Tiffany Wray, Britney Corbett, Megan Hill, Hayley Bullock and Laura Croome.

Despite conceding twice early on, Jo’s Angels fought back to claim a deserved 4-3 victory and the winner’s mantle.

The ability counts category – for players with physical or learning disabilities – contained two teams from the college and two from Sherwood Colliery Ability Counts FC.

After emerging from the group phase, West Notts Red – college students Alfie Lawrence, Steven Walters, Andrew Proud, Jordan Haslam, Robert Powner and Chris Burton – took on the might of Sherwood Colliery’s ‘A’ team – Carl Wilkes, Keith Thacker, Dave Taylor, Rob Shore, Shaun Clarke, Dean Hill and Chris Hook – in the eagerly-anticipated final.

In a close-fought game which looked like heading towards penalties, West Notts Red captain Alfie Lawrence struck home to seal a 1-0 victory with just minutes remaining.

Eight teams competed in the men’s category across two separate groups – with their respective winners and runners-up progressing to the semi-finals. 

In the first semi-final, Truth – made up of higher education (HE) students Cory Lightly, Liam Harrison, Macauley Short, Patrick Marshall, Pearce Martin and Andreas Kokkinou – ran out 3-2 winners against a team from computer science.

The second semi-final saw Oldmen Asthmatic – staff members Andy Whyley, Ben Wood, Keil Featherstone, Reece Pridmore, Stuart Peach, Glen Wilkinson and Mark Turland – produce a shock result to narrowly defeat Italian Minx, consisting of several college academy footballers, 3-2 on penalties after the game had ended in a 4-4 stalemate. 

In a fast-paced start to the final, Oldmen Asthmatic goalkeeper Glen Wilkinson made numerous saves to keep them in the game. But their younger competitors’ class eventually shone through, with Truth – one of the competition’s early favourites – easing to a 5-1 win to be crowned victors.

Medals were presented to the winners and runners-up by Hayley Bennett, education officer at anti-racism and discrimination charity Kick It Out, while the category champions also received a prestigious team trophy.

The event was also supported by organisations in the leisure industry, including Anytime Fitness and Everyone Active, who held information stands to engage with students and staff.

Tournament organiser, sport development team-leader Rob Shaw, said: “It was a fantastic competition that truly captured the atmosphere we were hoping for while promoting the importance of equality and diversity.

“It was great to see people of all ages and abilities take part, and I’m especially pleased that many of the students we’ve been working with throughout the year got involved and had such a good time. Congratulations to the winning teams and many thanks to our partner organisations for ensuring the day was so successful.”

Sherwood Colliery FC Ability Counts manager, college HE student Luke Alvey, said: “It’s been amazing to see the partnership between ourselves and the college flourish. Watching the teams come together in this event was the perfect end to the season.”

Jo’s Angels captain Chantelle Sycamore said: “Having not really taken part in many sports until this year, we wouldn’t have even thought about doing something like this. The tournament was a lot of fun and I’m absolutely delighted we won. We are really proud of ourselves.”

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Best college for A Levels value added* in the East Midlands

£50m investment in our facilities since 2008

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Second for vocational value added* in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

90% of students move into a positive destination

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