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Cardinal Newman Catholic Primary School

Lead Kindly Light, Lead Thou Me On

Xavier Education Trust

Yr 6 Girls v St James


On Wednesday 14 March, the girl’s football team played against St James School in Weybridge. The weather was beautiful, the pitch was firm (with patches of dust resembling a desert) and the girls looked resplendent in their red and white kit with stylish footwear to match. Yes, the trainers sparkled, the colours were pretty but the big question on the touchline was…would the style of football be equally sparkly and colourful?

The game was soon underway…and the supporters on the touchline soon had their answer…the entertainment was supreme. The girls launched into action with tremendous enthusiasm, the ball ricocheted around like something out of a pinball machine and Cardinal Newman were mounting some serious attacks on the St James’ goal. After lining up initially in a 2-4-2 formation, we decided to go all continental and adopt the fluid system first introduced by the great Ajax side of the 1970’s. It became ‘total football’ with the defenders changing positions with midfield and attackers seamlessly in a whirl of red and white. The feeling on the touchline was that the whirling would surely lead to a goal and indeed it did. With the seconds ticking down to the half-time whistle, Jasmine emerged from something best described as ‘a bundle’ on the right edge of the penalty box, cut inside two defenders and unleashed an unstoppable drive past the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net. So unstoppable was this drive that it continued through the net towards the bushes at the back of the goal!

Half-time 1-0 to Cardinal Newman

During the interval, new tactics were discussed and the fluid system became even more fluid as we rotated a few more positions. Siobe came out of goal (after failing to touch the ball in the entire first half), Caitlin moved from left wing to defence, Mollie moved forward to play in a specialist ‘wherever the ball is going’ role and we looked set for a storming second half (if only the England players could be so adaptable…the FA ought to have a look here on their search for a strategy to win a trophy!)

The second half action was even better than the first half with some excellent flowing football played. We passed the ball much better and there were some fantastic breaks down the right hand side where Darby, Mollie and Amber were linking up very well. After a couple of very good efforts by Sara and some last-ditch defending by the St James girls, Cardinal Newman eventually got the second goal when a cross was swept home into ‘the big white rectangle with the net’ by Sarah. It was a marvellous goal celebrated marvellously by the rest of the team! (the excitement at this point was clearly too much for a pair of magpies at the side of the pitch as they headed for safety amongst the nearby bushes and long grass!) We continued to do most of the attacking and came close to a third goal on several occasions. Amber broke clean through the defence but shot wide (interestingly in the direction of the refuge-seeking magpies), Siobe had a great shot just wide of the post and someone actually hit the post with a thunderbolt shot that appeared out of yet another penalty area ‘bundle’. At the other end, Holly had taken over in goal and in a rare attack by St James’, a goal was prevented by some incredibly heroic, selfless defensive play as Caitlin stopped the ball going into our goal…with her face! A magnificent display of bravery and commitment…and incredible toughness as she never even batted an eyelid! Stirring stuff indeed!

As the game moved towards its conclusion, the number of red faces out on the pitch clearly displayed the effort that had been put in by both teams. The smiles and laughter highlighted the enjoyment of both teams and this was summed up when Darby said “Are we playing another game after this one?” Another game would have been fantastic but sadly we had run out of time.

Final score St James’ 0 Cardinal Newman 2

Roll on Friday when we take on St Anne’s, Chertsey at home in another extravaganza of football!