Hartlepool school football side could make history after making final of national competition

A Hartlepool school football team are preparing for the biggest match of their lives after reaching the final of a national competition.

Friday, 13th May 2022, 12:31 pm
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 2:08 pm

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College’s Year 10 squad have made it through to the final of the English Schools' Football Association (ESFA) Elite Schools Under 15 Nationals Cup.

They will take on Ormiston Victory Academy, from Norwich, at the stadium of Championship side West Bromwich Albion, The Hawthorns, on Thursday, May 26.

The game is a chance for a Hartlepool school to win the Elite Nationals Cup for the first time and make history for the school and the town.

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English Martyrs School U15 team and coaching staff,rear left to right, Tyler Brown, Alexander Carey, Jack Chapman, Oscar Jackson, Harry Lake and Harry Carr. Middle row. left to right, Andrew Gray (head of PE), Kingston Butler, Xander McKimmie, Harry Norris, Harvey Hope, Sammy Dhaliwal, Blaine Garthwhaite and Stuart Brand (Improtech). Front, left to right, Joe Purvis, Finn Bates, Bobby Constantine, Joseph Hunter and Jacob Watson. Picture and caption by FRANK REID.

English Martyrs’ head teacher Sara Crawshaw said: “We are incredibly proud to be finalists in this national competition.

"These talented players have demonstrated that they are the best in the country and their sportsmanship and work ethic have got them to this national final.

"They very much deserve to bring this trophy home to Hartlepool.”

On their way to the final, the Year 10 squad have come up against England internationals and several professional academy players.

Stuart Brand, Improtech. Picture by FRANK REID

They have overcome Kepier School, Monkwearmouth, Mortimer, St Aidan’s COFE Harrogate, and Sandwell Academy in some thrilling games.

English Martyrs is home to one of four football academies in the region which sees talented footballers receive top coaching from Improtech Soccer alongside their studies.

Head coach Stuart Brand said: “I’m delighted with the approach from the players and standards which have been set, resulting in some terrific team performances."

Stuart who has also overseen the recent success of the Year 8’s, 9’s and 10’s all win their Hartlepool Town Cup Finals at Victoria Park.

Left to right: Jacob Watson (Year 8), Oscar Jackson (Year 10), and Will Clapham (Year 9) with their Hartlepool Town Cup Finals trophies they won this year.

Both Year 8s and 10s also have Cleveland County cup finals to look forward to.

English Martyrs and Improtech also currently have five Year 11 students on trial with Hartlepool United who are attempting to earn a professional scholarship with the club.

This follows the first set of school leavers in 2021 where six out of six Year 11 students all left with professional scholarships at different football clubs.

Northern Lubricants and Services have supported fundraising for the Year 10 squad on their route to the final and any companies interested in being a sponsor should contact the school.

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