Darlington TTA International Youth Football

Wednesday 22nd Aug 2007

The Finnish teams were the first to arrive with their supporters, the girls team on Thursday and the boys team on Friday, as they could not travel together because of the number involved – 57 in all. They were all accommodated at Polam Hall school, which thankfully was able to sleep up to 60 people.

On Friday afternoon the German teams arrived , the girls being accommodated in St Cuthbert’s Hall, and the boys in the Coachman Hotel along with the Polish team which arrived later in the day. There were 47 German and 25 Polish players and supporters.

The conference was opened on Friday evening by Stephen Hughes MEP at the Dolphin Centre, and was followed by a quiz on Europe in which mixed teams from the participating countries proved a good ice-breaker. Then came dinner and live music and an early night (1100), to ensure fitness for the early Saturday kick off.

After Saturdays opening games from 0930 – 1330, the teams were bussed to Darlington FC where the watched the match as guests of the Club, and at half time they paraded around the ground to great applause from the fans. Saturday night was a chance to discuss differing cultures and sport, again followed by dinner and live music.

Sunday witnessed the final stages of the Competition, and after some excellent football the Oval Trophy for boys was won by the Polish team, Odra Opole, and the Oval trophy for girls went to California Girls from Billingham. The trophies were presented by Mayor Marion Swift, as were medals commemorating the event, to all participants.

Monday saw the departure of our European guests and the end of a tremendous event which was truly enjoyed by all. Hopefully many lasting friendships were made, and now teams are looking forward to next year’s football competition to be held in Mülheim.

Report by Tom Nutt

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