The 2018 BWCI Mini Soccer Festival was the twelfth occasion that it had been sponsored by BWCI and once again showcased why the Festival remains a highlight in the Channel Islands sporting calendar.
Over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd July, twenty one teams and over 250 players enjoyed some fantastic competition in glorious weather, as they competed for the BWCI Shield and Plate trophies. With twelve local teams, including two from the GFA Aztec Foundation Academy, five teams from Jersey and four from England, including three professional academy teams, the Festival again illustrated its popularity and reputation for being a fantastic event.
Over the course of the two days of competition, the hundreds of spectators saw some fantastic team and individual performances, culminating in the BWCI Shield being decided with an excellent match between Everton Toffees and St Pauls from Jersey.
Group A began the Festival on the Saturday morning, with eventual winners, Everton Toffees starting proceedings with a hard fought 1-0 victory over an unlucky Vale Rec Yellow team who many thought deserved a better result for their performance. The second round of group A matches brought what many thought was the first shock of the tournament when Braunton FC deserved claimed a 3-0 victory of the Everton Toffees. Subsequent results proved the result was not a shock as Braunton finished the group matches unbeaten, and top of the table without conceding a single goal. The other teams who qualified for the Shield were Everton Toffees, St Clement and Rihoy North, who were the highest placed Guernsey team in either group when finishing third. The GFA Aztec Lions were unlucky not to make the Shield quarter-finals when finishing level on points with St Clement but having to settle for a place in the Plate quarter-finals on goal difference.
In Group B, it was Everton Blues who dominated whilst finishing top of the group and unbeaten. St Pauls qualified in second place whilst another Jersey based club in JTC Jersey Wanderers finished third and Bristol City claimed the final Shield quarter-final place. Places in the Plate quarter-finals were only decided after the last group matches with the GFA Aztec Lions being unlucky to claim the last quarter-final placed when a draw in the last match left the team one point short.
The Plate and Shield quarter-finals and semi-finals provided some great entertainment with a number of matches being decided by a penalty shoot-out with the highlight being the Shield semi-final between the two Everton teams, which was decided on sudden-death. The Plate Final was contested between GFA Aztec Lions and Bodyline St Martins and despite dominating the Final and missing several chances, the Lions were unable to score and eventually lost to Bodyline on penalties. This ensured the Plate trophy remained in Guernsey for the first time in several years.
The Shield Final between Everton Toffees and St Pauls proved to be a worthy final match of the Festival, with the Toffees taking a two goal lead before St Pauls pulled a goal back and arguably looked the most likely to score another goal before the final whistle ensured the trophy was again retained by Everton.
Festival Chairman, Martyn Banton, commented that;
‘Once again the BWCI Festival has delivered another fantastic experience for all of those children that have enjoyed participating in the wonderful summer weather we have enjoyed throughout the weekend. We have witnessed some really impressive performances from individual and teams but perhaps more importantly, the Festival has been played in a great spirit. As always we are indebted to the Festival’s headline sponsor, BWCI, who have now sponsored this event for twelve years because without this support, and that of the companies in the sponsorship consortium, an event of this stature simply could not be delivered.
It is this continued support, which is greatly appreciated by the Guernsey Football Association and ensures that the Festival remains one of the highlights of the sporting calendar in the Channel islands. In addition there are numerous other people that I would like to place on record our gratitude to, including the numerous local Referees that gave up their time this weekend, some of whom were officiating for the first time, Simon Charlwood for his continued support, Shane Moon and Clive Loveridge who have ensured Footes Lane stadium was again the perfect host venue and finally to the GFA staff and Directors who have spent a considerable amount of time planning and delivering another successful Festival.’
The provisional dates for the 2019 BWCI Festival are 20th and 21st July.
To view photos of the Festival, please click here; www.gsyphoto.com