Saltus continue dominance
Naquita Robinson, the national women's football coach, hailed the continued emergence of the girl's game after another highly positive Bermuda School Sports Federation's Knockout Cup Tournament.
Robinson was in attendance on Saturday evening for finals day of the two-day tournament, in which boys and girls school teams from Primary School to Senior School age groups battle it out for top honours.
With a strong field of girls teams throughout all the age groups, Harrington Sound Primary School won the Primary Division, Whitney Institute took the Middel School honours and Saltus Grammar School clinched the title in the Senior Girls' final.
Casting her eye over back over all of the girls divisions, the national coach was impressed with the action on offer and spoke of her excitement for the future progression of girls football on the island.
“The entire tournament has been fantastic from my point of view from the Primary School girls right through to the High School Girls,” said Robinson who is involved with the Bermuda Football Association's “Building Girls Football” initiative, with a training programme at BFA Field for junior players from ages 5 and over.
“I had a chance to see the girls in action and I've been really pleased with what I've seen.
“It was a learning curve for all the girls involved and tournaments like this are important for their development.
“In the Primary School and Middle School games a lot of those girls are already part of our programme.
“We also had many of our girls in the programme being involved in the finals which is really encouraging and bodes well for our programme, it's exciting for us.
“We have worked on the grass roots level to try and let the women's game grow with those girls taking it through
“I'm are very happy with what we are seeing. The intensity, the technique and the all-round quality was clear to see.
“The growth of girls football is very positive and you can see how far the game has come and will keep going.
“It's really exciting for us and I can only things getting even better.”
In a high quality Senior Girls' final, goals from McKenna O'Donnell and Dani Watson were enough to see Saltus Grammar School overcome a strong Berkeley Institute outfit and retain their Knockout Cup Tournament crown, a title they have won in the past four consecutive years.
“The girls have worked hard all year, we have a really good group and they have done tremendously well,” said Saltus Senior School coach Darren Lewis.
“I'm delighted to win again but I always tell the girls the result is not the most important thing. It is a bigger picture than just Saltus, we are trying to get girls ready for the next step up if they want to continue playing after school.
“The girls game has really come on. The national programme through the BFA and the academy have really taken the girls forward. From a young age they are really wanting to play now and that is the difference. “We are seeing the numbers get involved and so the quality has gone up, that is a real positive.”
Despite suffering a fourth successive Senior Girls final defeat, Berkeley Institute coach Irving Romaine praised the effort of his team before echoing the sentiments of Robinson and Lewis in their delight at the emergence of girls football.
“It was a really good effort from the girls and the tournament as a whole has been fantastic for girls football,” said Romaine.
“We've made it to the final in the last four years and lost every-time which is sad for the girls but they did brilliantly again this year.
“It is brilliant to see so many girls playing football at all age groups and hopefully that can continue to help the women's game to grow further.
“It would be great to see a lot more of these girls carrying on playing football once they leave school to keep improving the women's national teams.
Primary School Boys Division One final
Warwick Academy 1 West Pembroke Primary 0
Primary School Boys Division Two final
St Georges's Prep 5 Gilbert Institute 0
Primary School Grils final
Harrington Sound Primary 5
Saltus Grammar School 3
Middle School Girls final
Whitney Institute 5 T N Tatem 0
Middle School Boys Under-13 final
Saltus Grammar School 3 Warwick Academy 3 (Warwick Academy won 6-5 on penalties)
Middle School Boys Over-13 final
Sandy's Secondary Middle Schhol 1 Dellwood Middle School 1 (Dellwood won 4-3 on penalties)
Senior School Boys Under-16 final
Berkeley Green 1 Berkeley Gold 0
Senior School Girls final
Saltus Grammar School 2 Berkeley Institute 1
Senior School Boys Over-16 final
Berkeley Institute 2 CedarBridge Academy 1