District team crowned south east champions

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The South East Sussex district is basking in the glory of more footballing success.

The district’s under-16 boys’ representative team won the prestigious South of England Croydon Challenge Trophy to become south east regional champions for the first time.

South East Sussex beat Blackheath Schools’ FA 4-0 in the final at Eastbourne Borough FC on Saturday.

See also: * St Leonards school wins 7-0 in national cup final
* Talented team edged out in national final
* District team to play national cup final at Stoke City
* Hastings school edged out in thrilling county final

South East Sussex dominated the early exchanges with crisp passing and excellent movement. They took the lead after 20 minutes when a Harry Simmons free kick was superbly headed home by centre-back Callum Barlow.

Three minutes later, some excellent wide play by Charlie Vella and an accurate cross allowed Lois Veneti to score number two with a diving header.

With Blackheath reeling from the onslaught, a 27th minute corner was powerfully headed home by Barlow for his second and South East Sussex’s third.

The fourth goal came in the second half when Vella netted with a stunning strike from the edge of the penalty area.

South East Sussex reached the final after a first round bye, a 6-2 second round success away to Thanet and 3-0 semi-final victory away to Brighton & Hove.

The result caps a wonderful season for South East Sussex, who also reached the English Schools’ FA Boys’ Under 13 PlayStation Inter Association Trophy final.

Several of South East Sussex’s member schools have also achieved success.

Claremont Prep School won the U13 PlayStation National ESFA Small Schools’ Cup and U13 Sussex Schools’ County Cup, The St Leonards Academy clinched the U16 Sussex Schools’ Shield and Ark William Parker Academy was finalists in the U15 Sussex County Schools’ Cup.

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.