Inclusion Cup: Thursday 17th March 2016

Blackpool FC Community Trust - Inclusion Cup (SEN/PRU)

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On Thursday 17th March 2016 Blackpool FC Community Trust held the first ‘Inclusion Cup’ of the calendar year at Stanley Park in Blackpool. The competition was open for schools who are Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Pupil Referral Units (PRU).

The format was split into two leagues with the SEN Schools in Division ‘A’ and the PRU’s in Division ‘B’, this helped keep the ability level even and also gave a competitive edge. The league places would then decide the seedings for the semi finals and finals.

In the SEN school section of the tournament there were five schools in attendance; Great Arley, Park Community Academy, Redrose, Ridgewood School and Highfurlong. All of the schools were from the local area apart from Morecambe Road who made the trip down M6 to take part.

We also had five schools in the PRU section, the teams competing were; The Oracle, Larches House, McKee Centre, Brookfield and The Brambles, all of the participants are in the school environments due to behavioural issues or learning difficulties.

The SEN tournament was very close with the teams playing in a friendly and enjoyable manner, the group finished with the below standings meaning the top four sides made their way to the semi-finals;

Park Community Academy Ridgewood Redrose Great Arley

The PRU tournament was also played with fantastic behaviour and all the participants showed great respect to all staff, referees and opposition players which was brilliant to see. The standings of this group are also below;

McKee Centre Larches House The Oracle The Brambles

The SEN semi finals made great reading for the neutral with a Fylde coast derby between Park Community and Great Arley, which the Blackpool side came out 3-1 winners in a fairly close affair. The other semi final finished 4-0 to Ridgewood meaning the top two teams from the group would battle it out in the final for the SEN Inclusion Cup.

The PRU Tournament was much closer with both semi-finals finishing 1-0 with one surprising result as the Oracle knocked out higher ranked Larches House, in a competitive but fair match. The other semi-final saw McKee Centre make headway into the final also.

After a long tiring fixture list for SEN schools the tournament would be decided by the two front runners throughout the day. Park Community Academy, who were favourites in the final, fell behind early on as they failed to clear a low cross which found Ridgewood striker who tapped in (0-1). The result was sealed moments from time when the Ridgewood striker again pounced on a defensive laps of concentration to slot home giving the school a famous win.

The final fixture of the day saw an eagerly awaited final between The Oracle (Blackpool) and McKee Centre (Poulton). The game was extremely tight for the whole eight minutes and saw the Blackpool sides goal keeper make four tremendous saves to keep them in the tie.  Nevertheless it was The Oracle’s day as their midfield maestro slipped a through ball to the onrushing centre forward, to cooly finish, which gave the participants their first ever win in a competition as a team.

Inclusion Officer Owen Coyle said: ‘It was another fantastic day for Blackpool FC Community Trust but more importantly the 10 schools who attended. The tournament was played with great spirit and respect throughout.’

We would like to thank all ten teams for attending the day and hope to see you all again in the summer for our second series of the Inclusion Cup.