District team all set for national final at Stoke City

The South East Sussex Schools' under-13 boys' football team
The South East Sussex Schools' under-13 boys' football team

A talented football team containing players from across the locality is all set for the final of a national competition.

The South East Sussex district will contest the English Schools’ FA Boys’ Under 13 PlayStation Inter Association Trophy final at Stoke City FC today (Friday).

It’s the first time that South East Sussex have ever reached a national final and their opponents at the bet365 Stadium will be Chester le Street, Washington & Derwentside.

See also: * District team to play national cup final at Stoke City FC
* Formidable school team wins county cup
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* Hastings United to host first football festival

South East Sussex, who are coached and managed by Jim Colston and John Lovell, have won six matches to reach the final of a competition entered by 89 teams.

A 3-2 first round win at home to Brighton & Hove was followed by a 3-2 second round victory away to Gosport & Fareham, 7-0 third round success away to West Kent, 3-0 fourth round triumph away to Hillingdon and 4-1 quarter-final win away to Aldershot & Farnborough.

But the pick of the bunch was a 3-2 extra-time victory at home to a formidable Croydon side in the semi-finals.

The South East Sussex squad for the semi-final was made up of Archie McGonigle, Will De Wilde, Fuller, Jacob Watson and Rohan Sharma (all Claremont Prep), Jenson Davies and Leo Groombridge (both Willingdon Community College), George Pegman and Harry Jefferys (both St Leonards Academy), Franz Cuison and Dominic Corbin (both St Richard’s Catholic College), Calum Pollitt (Cavendish School), Liam Ridgers (Rye College), Daniel Harvey (Robertsbridge Community College) and Frankie Manning (The Hastings Academy).

The players, who were selected by trial having being put forward by their schools, come from all over the district and do not train together.

The South East Sussex Association is made up of secondary schools along the coastal strip of East Sussex, from Rye through to Eastbourne, including Hastings and Bexhill.

It provides local school players the opportunity to play competitive football against other representative district teams. It also runs district leagues and cup competitions for all member schools.

The district runs teams from the under-12 to under-16 age groups. The under-13 and under-15 sides play in English Schools’ FA national competitions, and those in the under-12, under-14 and under-16 age groups compete in South of England competitions.

Players who have previously represented South East Sussex SFA in the competition include West Bromwich Albion star Gareth Barry and AFC Bournemouth ace Steve Cook.