The tournament attracted 16 Under 12 Girls sides with the majority being Girls Youth League sides from around the state. However, two club sides from the Sydney metropolitan area also decided that they wanted to be part of the fun.
Chipping Norton Soccer Club, from the Southern Districts Soccer Football Association and Riverstone-Schofields Junior Soccer Club, from the Blacktown Association decided that the tournament would be a great learning experience for their girls. Hence, both clubs put together composite teams from their Under 10 Girls and Under 12 Girls sides. Results weren?t the primary concern for anyone associated with the teams. It was more about development, experience and being a part of a tournament named after one of The Matildas finest players.
Chipping Norton have 46 sides playing under their banner, 11 of whom are girls/women?s teams. Riverstone-Schofields run 33 teams, 4 of which are girls/women?s teams. Chipping Norton have a very strong brand name for female football in their district. Riverstone-Schofields are keen to develop a similar profile in the Blacktown Association.
Chipping Norton drew Group B in the tournament which meant they played matches against Central Coast Lightning, Penrith Nepean United and Western Branch. Riverstone-Schofields drew Group D which had them pitting their skills against Marconi Stallions, Blacktown and Southern Branch.
Neither side managed a win in the round robin stage though both proved to be competitive. Chances for the two club sides to score weren?t in abundance but were approached with great enthusiasm when they presented themselves. Though Riverstone-Schofields may have conceded more goals than their club counterparts in this part of the tournament they certainly were one up on the Chippo girls by managing to score a goal in their third match against Blacktown. This moment was certainly a highlight for the Riverstone-Schofields girls.
The two clubs got together at the end of the tournament and organised an exhibition game between their two sides, played prior to the Cheryl Salisbury Cup Final.
This was a keenly contested affair with both sides desperate to leave Valentines Sports Park with a victory against their name. Riverstone-Schofields opened the scoring with a fine individual goal by tiny Cassidy Chidgey. Chipping Norton worked hard to find an equaliser but the Riverstone-Schofields goalkeeper, Ellyna Gibbs and her defenders worked hard to prevent that from happening.
Eventually Chipping Norton?s Gemma Ramsay managed to put her side back on an even keel after some nice work by Tahlee Moss. Soon after Chipping Norton received a free kick which led to Shenai Moss putting the Southern Districts club ahead at half time by a score of 2-1.
The second half was full of action as the Riverstone-Schofields girls tried hard to fight their way back into the game. Chances came and went for both sides before another ?mighty mite?, Tania Borazio, scored a third goal for Chipping Norton. The Riverstone-Schofields girls didn?t give up, fighting hard right up until the final whistle in an attempt to grab some more scoring opportunities.
Both clubs should be congratulated for making a decision to enter their girls in this tournament. The girls themselves were fine ambassadors for their respective clubs, displaying great sportsmanship and enough talent to have plenty of Girls Youth League scouts checking out their games. No matter what happened the players were still smiling at the end of every match, bringing their own touch of magic to what was a great tournament.
-By Ross Anderson