BRIDLINGTON Rangers under 13s were invited to play on behalf of the Bridlington Lions Club at the annual district five-a-side competition held at Thorpe Willoughby Sports Club near Selby.
Bridlington Lions provided the entrance fee, and put on their minibus for the trip, where six other Lions clubs were represented by nine teams, split into two leagues.
Groups were played on a round robin basis, with quarter, semi and final knockout games following for the qualifiers.
The Bridlington Rangers team consisting of Danny Parker, Marley McBride, Ben Wright, Lennon Organ, Joe Mattison, Josh Wright, Josh Horman and George Neal, were managed by Nick Wright and assisted by Lion Simon Mountney.
Unfortunately, early games did not go to plan, and after three losses, albeit a couple of very close games, the boys faced a mini cup final in order to qualify.
After much nail biting and nerve jangling, a simple hard fought 1-1 draw got them through on goal difference.
It was true to say that expectation was not high amongst the adults, and an early minibus trip back to Bridlington looked on the cards.
However, after being fuelled by packed lunches, burgers and ice cream, the team suddenly developed an undiminished belief in themselves, and set about playing the winners of the other league in the quarter final round.
A resounding 2-1 victory ensued, and the result should and could have been even greater as the team dominated, and confidence grew.
A semi final against the second placed team in the other league followed, and again Rangers offered a strong performance.
Against sturdy opposition, a late single goal saw the team home, and unbelievably, for most people there, the Bridlington side had won a place in the final.
A final place for a team given no hope, and no expectation, apart from a simple belief in themselves, they now faced a team that had beaten them 3-0 in the early league games.
It was close, with two now very well matched teams playing one another, and after 15 minutes of normal time, a 2-2 draw meant five minutes of extra time, with the golden goal rule.
From a decisive break, Rangers won a corner which was crossed in low, and smashed hard by captain Josh Wright.
The opposition keeper and the ball ended up in the back of the net for an amazing goal and a well deserved victory.
Winners’ medals for the team, and a cheque for the Bridlington Rangers club for £150, presented by Second Vice District Governor, John Hall of Bridlington Lions, were richly deserved for their perseverance and undying belief and confidence in themselves.
Bridlington Rangers chairman John Gibson was “very proud”, as the club’s teams in previous years had never done well in the event, and the boys had now “made Rangers club history” by winning the event.
A final thank you to Nick Wright who managed the team for the day and gave his time, and to the team, who represented themselves, Bridlington Rangers Football Club, and the Bridlington Lions in the way they did, but most of all enjoyed themselves throughout the day, and should be immensely proud of their achievement.