Excited, Eager, Enthusiastic and Equal to the challenge. That was Broughton's Year 7 Girls, fresh from victory as Lancashire Champions, as they travelled to the Trafford Soccerdome in Manchester for the North West Finals. The standard would be high, the length of games extended and a different indoor surface would provide additional challenges. It was also opportunity to bring in some other talented girls and increase the size of our squad.
Inside the dome the atmosphere was a buzz - dozens of pitches and people of all ages playing and spectating, provided a real atmosphere. Broughton took on St Georges (Greater Manchester), All Saints (Merseyside), Whitechapel (W.Yorks) and Fallibroome Academy (Cheshire). We were drawn first and played St Georges in our opener. Where we started slow in the Lancashire Championships, we were off the blocks in beating St Georges 5-2 (Walling 4, Weir 1). Next came Fallibroome, and in a frustrating affair with lots of BBEC pressure, but with most of the shots going straight at their keeper, it ended 0-0. Late on, keeper Eleanor Kirton made a great save.
The third game was the crunch game. Whitechapel had looked strong in their early games and had one girl scoring for fun. Broughton were equal to Whitechapel initially and took a lead through a fantastic strike into the corner. They equalised and then scored again. At the half-time change it was tense and Whitechapel scored a third but Broughton battled back and scored a second. While having most of the pressure in the dying moments, it wasn't enough to get an equaliser and we suffered a very close 3-2 loss (Weir 2).
Last game gave us chance to play without pressure and utilise all our players. All Saints were unfortunate to meet a team who wanted to go out on a high. The Merseysiders were hit for 7 in a 7-1 BBEC win. Jessie Walling, awesome as ever, scored a fabulous five, Rachael Lett was energetic and covered every inch of the pitch before scoring and new face to the team, Iman Abbassi, struck a lovely shot into the corner. Alexis Fitzsimons battled well and Lauren Wilkinson had shots on goal to keep up the pressure.
Whitechapel were deserved champions, winning all their games. Broughton, however, were placed second and can proudly state they they are the 2nd best 5-a-side team in the whole of the North West. An outstanding achievement and when you are playing at the top standard, the margin between the top two is, and was, extremely narrow. The girls were excellent, played great football, worked so hard and played with a smile and bubbly enthusiasm. The snow as we came out of the venue just added to the day.