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Sixes of the best; IN ONE OF THE BIGGEST JUNIOR SOCCER TOURNAMENTS EVER HELD, HUNDREDS OF YOUNG PLAYERS GATHERED IN SOUTHAM TO BATTLE IT OUR FOR THE GOALS AND THE MEDALS...

Byline: Words by ARRYN BUGGINS Pictures by MARK RADFORD

HUNDREDS of youngsters took part in one of the biggest sports events in Warwickshire at the weekend.

The six-a-side soccer tournament at Southam saw 130 teams compete, and it's thought that including spectators, more than 1,500 were at the event.

The competition was run by Southam Town Football Club, and held on the pitches of Southam rugby club, in Kineton Road.

Charles Hill, chairman of the football club, said: "This is an annual six-a-side competition, and it's ben running for 13 years.

"Teams from each age group take part in a league or knock-out. There is a final for each age group and medals for the winners.

"I think it must be one of the biggest events of its kind in the area. It is a fund-raiser for us and it also drums up interest in football."

Games were five minutes each way for the heats, and then seven minutes each way for the finals.

As well as battling it out for medals, the young players came under the watchful gaze of scouts from Coventry City and Birmingham City.

Mr Hill added: "Southam has been a pioneer in the development of football for girls and women and it is good to see so many involved.

"We are always looking for girls and boys to come along and strengthen our teams."

Southam Town has teams in the Mid-Warwickshire Boys' and the West Midlands leagues. It is connected to the adult Southam United team which plays in the Midland Combination.

Yesterday saw the under-9s, under-11s, under-13s and under-15s boys' finals take place, following on from the under-8s, under-10s, under-12s and under-14s boys' on Saturday. Teams came from Southam, Rugby, Coventry, Banbury, Stratford and surrounding villages.

Most of the girls' games took place on Sunday, and they came from across an even wider area, with players from as far afield as Marston Green, in Birmingham, and Tamworth, as well as Southam.

CAPTION(S):

BALL BOYS: The squad from Bilton Ajax in Rugby; HOME SIDE: Ready for action are the players from Southam United C JUMP TO IT: Sam Raine from Stretton Athletic breaks away with the ball ON THE FENCE: Members of the Wellesbourne Wanderers side check out the action THREE CHEERS: Emma Cresswell and her team Admiral's U10s, who come from Bilton in Rugby JUGGLING SKILLS: Chris Geehan of Rugby Town show his control to his teammates THIRSTY WORK: Thomas Shearsby (above) of Wellesbourne U10s cools down after a game, and (right) Phil Gibson from Rugby Ajax skips by a defender from Norton Lindsey FUTURE STAR: Two-year-old Morgan Powell with the ball at his feet. He was there with his dad to watch brother Elliott playing for Norton Lindsey
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 21, 2001
Words:457
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