Yet again this was a fantastic competition that was extremely hard fought and advertised the need for ‘Grass Roots’ opportunities for our soldiers.
This was the third year of the competition (previously won by DST and DMGN) and after a couple of days travelling around the country to source equipment the administration staff were ready for the arrival of the teams. Luckily this year’s the tournament was held in conjunction with the confirmation stage of the Referee course and thus meant the tournament would have twenty newly qualified officials gaining experience whilst officiating a tournament. It must be noted that these individuals were brilliant throughout and the manner in which they supported all teams was humbling. Really look forward to seeing these officials showcase their professionalism in the future.
With the teams assembled and the ATRG staff ready to supply hot drinks on a cold windy morning the teams captains received a brief on the rules from the Army’s Senior Official, WO2 Andy Halliday. Having Andy at the tournament was a great boost for the morale of the junior players, the fact that an individual who is accustomed to officiating at the highest level was watching their games while cheering them on showcased how far we’ve come and really made the players believe that there is a true interest in developing the women’s game.
The first day saw some outstanding football but the most refreshing part was seeing soldiers give their all, proud to be representing their units whilst playing the game in the right manner with smiles on their face. Even with tired legs the standards didn’t drop on the second day, in fact the drive to succeed increased. The teams at the bottom of the league suddenly realised that they could still qualify for the Plate Competition (introduced this season to allow more competition), this gave them a real burst of energy and all thoughts of tiredness disappeared. By lunchtime the league had been decided and our Cup and Plate Semi Finals were set and what a cracking four games of football we were in stall for.
None of the teams playing in the semis gave an inch and everyone involved gave their all but after four brilliant games we had our four finalists.
The Plate Final was contested by 16 Med and 6 Regt RLC. This was a cracking game that would have been worthy of any major cup final. After two intense days of football both teams showed real class and defiantly proved that the grass roots game has improved since introduced three years ago. In the end 6 Regt RLC came out the worthy winners but the ladies from 16 Med should feel rightly proud.
The Army Cup Final was contested by two of the outstanding teams of the tournament, 1/19 RA and 29 Regt RLC. With 29 Regt being the current 1966 Commemorative Cup Champions and 1/19 RA having swept everyone aside in the league stages we were in for a right treat and what a game of football it was! Both teams produced some amazing football, using the ball brilliantly and the team work on show was outstanding. This really was a game that deserved to be witnessed by a bigger audience as it would have changed perceptions forever. The game itself swung both ways but in the end 29 Regt RLC came away the winners securing the double, something that I cant see happening again. 1/19 RA should feel extremely proud because they played brilliantly throughout the competition and I definitely see them lifting silverware very soon.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank WO2 Steerment RLC and Sgt Carter RLC for yet again giving up their time to help set up and run the tournament, without these two work horses tournaments like this couldn’t happen. The attendance by two Corps League Managers definitely helped drive home the fact that people are interested in the grass roots women’s game and seeing them watching certainly helped boost player morale . My sincere thanks also goes to the QM’s department at ATRG for yet again looking after us all. Finally I must personally thank all the players and officials for their efforts, professionalism and dedication.