The first National 'Old Boys' Football Tournament
Salesian schools in England have a long history of inter-school competition in many sports, and particularly football and athletics. Competing against other Salesian schools always generated a special feeling of anticipation and excitement
for both students and teachers. But there had never been a national competition between Past Pupils of Salesian schools. That is until Sunday May 29th 2006, when the first National Football Tournament was held at Salesian College
(Battersea) sports ground in Ewell, Surrey. And to add to the enjoyment, Don Bosco gave us a perfect summer's day, and there was plenty of food and drink for players and spectators provided by volunteers from the host club, Old
Salesians FC (Battersea).
The day started with Mass in the packed social club bar, with the Battersea rector, Fr Dan O'Riordan presiding. Then the football began with a League competition between 11-a-side teams of past (and some current) pupils from Battersea,
Chertsey and Farnborough each playing each other over 40 minutes. The football was of a very high quality, as was to be expected from representative teams from 'Old Salesian' clubs who each have 3 or more teams competing in senior
Amateur Leagues. And the football was played competitively and in a good spirit with few interventions required from the teams of officials controlling the games.
Battersea played their way in the Final by beating Chertsey and Farnborough in their first two games, and Chertsey achieved their place in the Final by beating Farnborough.
The Cup Final maintained the quality of earlier games with Battersea just having the edge over Chertsey and they eventually deserved to be winners by 2-0 of the first 'National Don Bosco Cup'.
The presentation of the Cup and medals to the winners, and to the 'best player' in each team and the overall 'Player of the Tournament', were carried out by Patrick Morrissey, National President and Richard Blake, National Treasurer. Then
the players could relax and enjoy some much-needed refreshment and socialising with fellow Salesians in the club house.
Everyone agreed it had been a very enjoyable day and that this should be an annual event. The next National Don Bosco Cup Tournament would be held in April 2007 (including the two Associations, Bootle and Thornleigh, who had unable
to attend this time). And consideration is being given to a parallel 'Veterans' or 'over-35 age group' tournament which will enable a wider range of players to participate.
The English Past Pupils now issue a challenge to their European Past Pupil colleagues to take part in a European Cup tournament to coincide with either Eurogex (Portugal) or Eurobosco (Spain) in 2007. What better way to get young
Salesian Past Pupils across Europe together in healthy competition and friendship?