Football: Tunbridge Wells boys’ grammar reach two national finals
20th June 2019
TUNBRIDGE WELLS Grammar School for Boys [TWGSB] has become the first school in Kent to reach two National Cup finals in the same season – in the 98-year history of the Kent Schools Football Association.
The Under-13 B team won through to the final of the English Schools Football Association [ESFA] National Cup for B teams, out of 107 teams from all over the country.
The match was played at The Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion, against Thomas Telford, a strong football school in Shropshire.
It was a very exciting contest with TWGSB suffering a narrow 4-3 defeat. The goals were scored by George Rayner, a wonderful volley by Titomi Olofin and a smart finish by Raphi Simmonds-Dance.
Twenty years ago, Head of Football Drew Menzies played at the same stadium in the ESFA Under-18 National Cup final.
He said: “The team has been excellent this season, winning six matches to reach the final.
“Finishing the season as National Cup runners-up is a great achievement by the boys and we are very proud of them.
“Despite the narrow defeat the players and supporters all had a fantastic day at such an impressive stadium.”
The Under-13 Bs had won 5-2 against Oakwood Park GS, 6-0 versus Maidstone GS, 4-0 against Dover GS, 10-0 versus St George from Southampton, 3-2 after extra-time against Ivybridge from Devon in the quarter-final, and 3-2 – again after extra-time – versus Kingsdale from South London in the semi-final.
The TWGSB Under-15 Futsal team also reached the National Cup final at St George’s Park, the National Football Centre in Staffordshire, taking on Van Dyke from Bedfordshire.
Futsal is a small-sided format played on a hard court smaller than a football pitch.
TWGSB were 1-0 up at half-time and increased the lead early in the second half.
However, they conceded twice and the match went into extra-time.
The Tunbridge Wells side took the lead again to make the score 3-2.
But they were pegged back again with two minutes remaining in extra-time, having hit the woodwork four times during the match.
A best-of-three penalty shootout was required to separate the evenly matched teams, which TWGSB lost.
Mr Menzies added: “We are really proud of the boys for what they achieved this year. To never be behind in the National Cup final, hit the woodwork four times and lose in a best-of-three penalty shootout was particularly disappointing.”
To reach the Grand Final the team won 12-8 against St Gregory’s, 14-6 versus Dover GS and 11-10 in the Kent Cup Final away at Dane Court GS in Broadstairs.
They went on to qualify from the South East England Futsal finals in Bedford, and then topped the group at the national semi-finals in Birmingham.
The school experienced further success this season with the Under-19s First XI runners-up in the Kent Cup while the Second XI won the county final.
The Under-17s also won the Kent Cup following a 0-0 draw against Leigh Academy at Maidstone United FC, which meant the trophy was shared.
TWGSB: A season to remember
Under-19 1st XI Kent Cup runners-up
Under-19 2nd XI Kent Cup winners
Under-17 Kent Cup winners
Under-16 Kent Cup semi-finalists
Under-15 Futsal National Cup runners-up
Under-15 Futsal Kent Cup winners
Under-15 West Kent runners-up
Under-14 National Cup last 32 out of 626 teams
Under-13 A Elite National Cup semi-finalists
Under-13 A National Cup last 16 out of 670 teams
Under-13 A Kent Cup semi-finalists
Under-13 A West Kent winners
Under-13 B National Cup runners-up
Under-12 National Cup last 32 out of 624 teams