Around 100 budding footballers from local primary schools came together to compete in the 20th annual Grange Invitational 6-a-side Tournament last week.
Teams of all abilities played a total of 26 games at The Grange Monmouth Preparatory School to determine the winners of the coveted cup, bowl, shield and plate. Amid impressive goal-scoring and tackles by Pentrepoeth, Kymin View, Osbaston, Overmonnow and Cross Ash pupils in Years 5 and 6, new relationships were forged and old friends were reunited.
Paul Morris, Head of PE and Games at The Grange, kicked off the tournament in 1997 during his first year at the school. He said: “I started it because we were having difficulty setting up football fixtures for the boys and I thought it would be a great way to get the local community playing sports together.
“It gave our pupils plenty of new players to pitch themselves against and it’s gone from strength to strength.
“It’s lovely to see all the other schools within Monmouth getting together and playing in what is always a competitive event, played in good spirits.”
Wednesday saw Pentrepoeth’s B team win the shield in the final against Overmonnow’s Bs and The Grange B team win the bowl, with Osbaston’s A side being the runners-up. Osbaston’s B team won the plate in the final against The Grange Cs, and Grange boys in the A squad won the cup against runners-up in Kymin View’s A team.
“The philosophy of the tournament is that everyone gets to play no matter what their ability is,” Mr Morris added.
“You find your level over the course of the matches. It’s important that the games are competitive – by splitting the event into four we make sure there’s healthy competition as well as ensuring everyone plays. Everyone played in such good spirits today and the standard of football gets better and better every year.”
Aliz Davies’ son, Dominic, was part of Osbaston’s B team. She said: “I think the tournament is a great idea. They get to know each other in a different setting and it’s nice for the independent and state sectors to come together.
“There’s been a fantastic atmosphere all day. It would be brilliant to have more events like this for other sports.
“A lot of these children will be going to the same secondary school together later, and thanks to this they will already have met each other.”
Mrs Davies said the children should all be proud of what they had achieved during the matches. “They are learning to appreciate each other and their strengths, and also learning how to deal with losing,” she added.
And Desmond Pugh, a governor at Cross Ash, thanked all at the school for the warm welcome as he watched his son, Oliver, take part in the fun. He said: “We are grateful to The Grange for sharing their fantastic facilities with us.
“The tournament is brilliant, not just because they get lots of fresh air and exercise, but they’re also meeting children of their own age outside their social circles. It’s important that they see other schools as being friends, rather than competitors.”
Neil Shaw, who took over Headship of The Grange in September, said: “It’s very important to be able to welcome colleagues and friends from local primary schools to share an afternoon of friendly competitive sport. This event stretches right back to the mid-1990s – we’re very proud to be carrying on the historic traditions of The Grange as the tournament enters its 20th year.”
To find out more about The Grange, visit thegrangemonmouth.org