The Kinder+ Sport Football League Kids Cup has become a key event in many Primary Schools’ fixtures calendar and provides not only an opportunity for pupils in year 5 and 6 to participate in the beautiful game, but also the chance to represent their school and club in further rounds of the competition representing Derby County.
Each season the 72 Football League clubs are asked to host a local competition and invite primary schools from their area to take part and compete in the first round of this national cup.
The Derby County Community Trust’s local competition has been developed over many years to accommodate to large numbers of schools participating. 2016 saw 80 teams and 640 children from schools across Derby City and Derbyshire take part in the tournament over 3 days.
The Local area final culminates with the top 8 teams playing each other at Derby County’s Training Ground. South Derbyshire school Hilton Primary emerged winners of this local round, showing skill and determination to fend off tough competition and beat a strong Melbourne Juniors side 1-0 in a fiercely contested final.
The competition didn’t end there for Hilton, following the coaching and support of the Derby County Community Trust Coaches, they progressed to play representatives from other Championship Clubs in the Regional Final of the competition in Bolton.
They represented the Rams against teams from Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City, Middlesbrough, Preston North End, Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers. Success was in Hilton’s sights again as they progressed through the group stages, quarter finals and semi-finals only to face group rivals and hosts Bolton Wanderers for the second time that day in the final. Bolton had the upper hand during the group match, however Hilton didn’t let this affect their game and went on to win the final with a convincing 3-1 victory.
Winning the Regional Final meant that the school progressed the National Final to be played before the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium, with their opponents being the winners of the South Regional Final – Ipswich Town.
The youngsters left for an overnight stay in London with the Derby County Community Trust team and school staff to a rousing reception from their peers and, as well as being able to enjoy the Play-Off Final from the stands, they were even treated to a tour of the National Stadium. Nerves ran high over the weekend, but the boys thrived on the opportunity to experience playing at Wembley and being treated like a professional player.
The Hilton boys settled their nerves early on in the final, captain Kaide Gordon opened the scoring with a fine long-range effort in the first half before he turned provider for Jack Harrison in the second period securing a 2-0 win for the Rams.
To wrap up the perfect day, Hilton Primary School even got to visit the famous Wembley Royal Box to lift the Football League Kids Cup in front of the Play-Off Final crowd.
Hilton Primary School Teacher, Julia Coxon said:
“The boys were brilliant in the final, they were a credit to both the School and Derby County Football Club.”
“It wasn’t just about the performance though, the whole experience has been fantastic, from the route to the final, to the tour of Wembley and the whole matchday experience. Everythin that has happened between the local final now has inspired the boys and the whole school. It’s brilliant that the Derby County Community Trust has offered such an experience and supported the boys all the way.”