Gala Parc to host District Schools semi-final this weekend

This Saturday Gala Parc, Porthleven (2:30pm KO), will play host to one of the biggest games of football Cornwall has ever hosted as West Cornwall Schools’ U13 side  battle it out with Birmingham-based Aston, Erdington & Saltley for a place in the U13 District Schools National Final.

The midlanders have an illustrious history, with the likes of Ron Atkinson, Julian Dicks, Lee Hendrie, Darius Vassell amongst their former alumni.

And while West Cornwall’s history might not be littered with such household names, this year’s U13 side have proved they are capable of competing with best players in the Country, Having now beaten East Cornwall, Poole & East Dorset, North Somerset, Portsmouth and Waltham Forest, the talented bunch are just one win from a National Final, in what is likely to be one of the Country's most prestigious Premiership or Championship grounds.

The District setup in West Cornwall, which covers the 15 secondary schools west of and including Truro, was re-launched by Jake Ash and Dan Inch just 4 years ago.

The pair, who are employed as Football Development Officers at Penryn College and Cornwall College respectively, recognised the need to offer the County's best footballers the chance to challenge themselves against similarly talented players beyond the County's borders. The setup now has three teams at Under 13, Under 14 and Under 15, with Cornwall FA's Long Term Player Development Centre's supporting the pathway from Under 7 to Under 12 level.

Kevin Lawrence was employed as Football Development Officer at Mounts Bay Academy in September 2012, and has supported this work, including taking charge of the Under 13's this year.

"It has been my pleasure to work with these boys this year." Lawrence, who also plays for South West Pensinsula West side Hayle, said. "Jake said to me at the trials that he felt this year's group were a special one, and myself and Frazer (Cadman, assistant manager) have enjoyed this amazing journey with these boys immensely. They are a smashing group, who play the right way and with a great attitude. I am sure whatever happens on Saturday, you will hear a lot more about them in the coming years."

Indeed, the challenge is one that the Under 14 manager Jake Ash is confident they will rise to.

"What Kevin and Frazer have achieved with the squad is something quite special. I genuinely believe that if they reach the final it would be the biggest achievement in Cornish football history. That might sound over the top, but in what other competition do teams from Cornwall play against the very, very best players from around the Country?"

There is no doubt that Saturday's game will be a showcase of real talent. And should West Cornwall prevail, some very young players will have etched their names not only in to the minds of those watching, but surely into Cornish football history.

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