Champions! Hitchin's talented Wilshere-Dacre Junior Academy girls side lift coveted silverware in spot-kick drama
PUBLISHED: 18:43 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:43 19 March 2019
Champions! The talented girls football team from Hitchin’s Wilshere-Dacre Junior Academy lifted silverware after a hard-fought North Herts schools tournament at the weekend, writes Layth Yousif.
The side, coached by Jeremy Wood, remained unbeaten throughout the end of season girls football rally held at the much-loved school on Fishponds Road, which was recently awarded ‘Good’ status by Ofsted, on Fishponds Road.
The squad, which included a number of youngsters from the highly-rated Hitchin Belles, eased through the group stages on Saturday morning, before triumphing against Our Lady’s 1-0 in the semi-final a tight contest.
The fiercely-competitive final, which took place in front of a large crowd of parents and well-wishers, was played in a good atmosphere on and off the pitch against old rivals William Ransom.
With the evenly-matched sides unable to break the deadlock, the clash went to penalties, with Wilshere-Dacre’s goalkeeper Esme Starkey performing heroics to save three spot-kicks, before Lily Gladstone kept her cool to slot home and clinch the coveted silverware amid joyous scenes.
Speaking to CometSport after the match, delighted coach Jeremy said: “I’m so proud of the girls, they’ve worked really hard.
“I am well chuffed. It’s all about the girls. They fully deserve it. They’ve worked so hard – as a coach if your players work really hard then you’re happy.
“It’s amazing. In our half of the draw we had the top four teams in the area so to do what we did tonight was brilliant.
“I may well celebrate with a little drink!”
The passionate advocate of girls football has been helping girls play football at the school, with his expert advice and coaching skills playing a huge part in the deserved success.
Good-natured Jeremy – or ‘Jez’ as he is known to all – is also a coach at the Hitchin Belles, and is highly-respected in the area.
He modestly added: “We’ve been building up to this. I think they’re all brilliant. Their work ethic is amazing.
“In the course of a year the girl’s game has improved immeasurably. The commitment, their skills, their time on the ball is totally different.
“The girls application has been massive and I can’t praise them enough.
“Girls football is very different to boys football. The respect is massive.
“We don’t allow any of the shouting from the sidelines. It’s a nice atmopshere at all times which I think helps.
“In the course of a year their game has improved immeasurably. The commitment, their skills, their time on the ball are totally different.
“Their application has been huge. I can’t praise them enough.”