Whitworth High girl footballers compete in English Schools’ Cup

Date published: 20 October 2023

For the first time, girl footballers from Whitworth Community High School entered the English Schools’ Cup, and they won their first-round match with a goal in the dying minute.

The new students in the Year 7 team were late entering the English School’s Football Association Girls U12 PlayStation nine-a-side Schools Cup, as teachers needed to first assess their footballing skills.

PE teacher Laura Bowater said: “Quite a few members of the team have been playing football for other teams for many years.

“When we found we had a skilled team, we had missed the deadline for the competition but we made a late entry and were accepted, but that meant our first match was not local but away against St John Fisher RC High School in Harrogate.”

Central midfielder Lily Taylor said: “We had played in a few friendlies against local schools but this was our first proper match.”

They played 30 minutes each way and after the first half, the Whitworth team were 2-0 down.

Defender Tabatha Summerscales said: “We had a team talk with Miss Bowater and she told us, ‘Come on, you can win, you can do this, you have in practise and in training, you know what you are doing.’ That really motivated us.”

Anastasia Kopczyk, an all-round player, said: “About five minutes into the second half I scored and it felt really good and I thought that maybe there now was a chance we could win.

“Then five minutes after that I scored again and it was 2-2.”

The sides played for another 20 minutes with neither scoring so the match went into five minutes of extra time.

Tabatha said: “We really did not want the match to go to penalties.”

Goalkeeper Summer Lambert ran with the ball, beating two opposition players and booted it from the centre line, Captain Lily kicked it on to Tabatha and after four minutes of extra time, in the last minute of the match she scored.

The team were delighted – and their success came just as the school bell sounded so all the students attending the Harrogate school were leaving.

They excitedly informed the head of PE Will Cawley from the bus journey home; which took three hours.

The team’s second-round match will be against Ryburn Valley High School at Sowerby Bridge and will be played before 11 November.

Lily and Annastasia play for Haslingden Girls and Ladies Heatwaves and Rossendale District, Annastasia also plays for Shawside Juniors in Royton, Olivia plays for Rochdale U12s and Tabatha for Bolton Academy Junior U13s, other team members play for Rochdale and Milnrow.

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