The inaugural PWC York Futsal Open was a roaring success as National Champions Doncaster College for Deaf proved their pedigree by winning the tournament with a 100% record. Futsal, is the only recognised small sided game by FIFA. Played with a smaller size four ball and in hockey nets, Futsal is a game designed to improve a player’s skill and technique, with its origins in Brazil, players such as Ronaldinho and Pele have credited the game with being key to helping them dominate world football, during their careers.
The York Futsal Club, is the oldest university Futsal Club, however the York Futsal Open was the first time the club has hosted such a tournament. Club President Patrick Drysdale said, “I am hoping that this tournament can raise the profile of the club on campus and of Futsal across the North, this sport just keeps growing and I hope this tournament plays a part in its future development.” The club certainly put in an incredible effort, with 8 guest teams, including National Champions Doncaster being invited, as well as teams from across the North of England and a select side from the Perth in Scotland. A carnival atmosphere was provided by the club who had hired out all three pitches in the new sports tent and a PA system, to keep fans and players entertained during breaks. Support from the A.U and the Sports Centre Staff were crucial in making this tournament happen and the club have asked us to thank them both for the support they offered during the planning of the tournament.
The action on the pitch did not let down those who had come to watch with an incredibly high standard. The York 1st team had arguably the toughest task, in Pool B, they faced some stiff competition. In their first clash against Rotherham Futsal Club, the home side drew 3-3. Their second game proved to be a disappointing show, as they were beaten by a confident looking Grimsby select side, going down by 5-3. However, the amazing team spirit and character of the York side shone through as they then defeated rivals UEA by 4-2. The York team won 3-2 thanks to some clinical finishing from David Craddock and Saul Hubbard. This set up a classic finale to the group between Teesside University and York University, both sides needing a win to guarantee them a place in the final four alongside U.E.A. It was Teesside who got into their rhythm first and by half time their quick passing game had rewarded them with a 3-0 lead. York’s two second half goals were not enough to prevent defeat.
In the other group the York Second Team, led by President Patrick Drysdale looked in confident mood in qualifying for the semi finals, only dropping points in one game, a defeat to National Champions Doncaster. York goalkeeper Martin Buck was the hero late on against Perth Select when he saved a penalty, by virtue of this York went on to win 8-6 and qualify for the semi finals, where they met Teesside. In another classic match, Teesside qualified for the final winning by 6-5, however, the score only tells half the story. York having got the score back to 2-2 had a mini crisis at the start of the second half and Teesside took full advantage to go 6-2 up. This sparked a brilliant revival from York, though Teesside held on to reach the final where they would meet Doncaster who beat UEA 5-2 in the second semi final.
The final was a fitting end to a brilliant tournament, the Doncaster side, consisting entirely of deaf players came through to win it by 6-2 a notable hat-trick from Doncaster star Daniel Hogan who eventually won the golden boot award was the highlight of a well contested final. The Teesside team can take great credit and pride from their performance as they helped to create a brilliant atmosphere bringing over 30 fans and players to the tournament. This year’s tournament was a raging success and plans are already afoot for next years tournament, Club President Patrick Drysdale said, “I am delighted with this year’s tournament, I know some of the guys on the committee are looking to expand the tournament next year to a whole weekend.” So the curtain was brought down on a fine tournament, the York Futsal Club has made many friends across the futsal community with this tournament and one can only hope this will help to improve the club. For more information on the club and how to get involved, look on their website, www.yorkunifutsal.co.uk. The club also boasts a successful Women’s team who have recently been in fine form, winning their last game 5-0.
By Dave Godfrey