Goalkeeper Ben goes from zero to hero

Football, at the best of times, can put fans and players alike through the proverbial 'emotional rollercoaster' - especially when it comes to the dreaded penalty shootout.

By Stuart Watson

Football, at the best of times, can put fans and players alike through the proverbial 'emotional rollercoaster' - especially when it comes to the dreaded penalty shootout.

So when Woodbridge's Sandling Primary School finally took breath after an action packed seven-a-side tournament last week they must have felt like they'd been on 'the big one' at Blackpool.

After the initial group stages of the Primary School tournament, organisers could simply not separate Sandling and their Woodbridge rivals New Street.


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Both sides had won, drawn and lost the same amount of games, both had scored and conceded the same amount, while the two teams had drawn in their match against each other.

Otley College Sports Leader Paul Appleby said: “You could feel the tension amongst these seven year-olds, they were all huddled on the halfway line with their arms around each other waiting to see what would happen.”

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At one stage Sandlings keeper Ben Clark thought his side had lost after he conceded a penalty, however despair soon to turn to joy when it emerged that the number of kicks had not been counted up properly.

In the next round of kicks Clark then dived correctly to his left, saving the vital kick to confirm himself as the hero.

Sandlings then went on to win their semi-final match, before narrowly losing 1-0 Kyson Primary School in a closely fought final.

The tournament was the first to be held on Otley's pitches since Ipswich Town goalkeeper, Shane Supple, officially opened them a few weeks ago.

The Suffolk Schools Sports Partnerships invited the nine primary schools taking part - Hollesley, Kyson, Melton, Orford, Otley, Rendelsham, Sandlings, St Mary's and Woodbridge - to the college.

Otley sport students came into the college on their day off to referee the games and look after administrative duties.

Appleby explained: “As part of the Community Sports Leaders Awards and Higher Sports Leaders Awards that our students are studying they are required to put in a number of hours of voluntary coaching.

“This year they have already run gymnastics sessions with children and also worked on some sports sessions with some of the disabled students we have at the club.

“It's great experience for them because we can only teach them so much about coaching and looking after children.

“They have to deal with certain children not wanting to join in, or one players saying they only want to play if they can be on their friends team.

“A lot of them want to be PE teachers so this is a great opportunity for them. It's also great for the Primary School children because they look up to students of that age and listen to them.”

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