WITH World Cup 2018 in full swing, eight teams contested the third annual seven-a- side ‘Leyland Leader St Andrews Cup’ at the Lancashire FA HQ on Thurston Road.
Eccleston Elite, winners in 2016, but runners-up on penalties in 2017, returned to reclaim the trophy, once again winning by the narrowest of margins – beating Wellfield United on penalties.
This year’s tournament, played out in brilliant sunshine, was once again sponsored by Leyland Leader and, for 2018, supported by Ambassadors Football.
GB Director of Ambassadors Football, Martin Bateman, helped referee the games and gave a short talk between rounds. With great passion and convincing honesty, he told how giving his life to Jesus has turned his whole approach to life around.
Martin said: “It’s great to be here in Leyland and help out, it’s been a wonderful afternoon. Our role as ambassadors in sport is to see people fulfil their full potential with the gifts God has given them. We are seeking to empower churches to use football to change lives and communities.”
With more than 60 players involved, the tournament was declared a great success and once again, the outcome could not have been closer, even one of the semi- finals was decided on penalties.
Eccleston Elite clinched a deserved victory ultimately overcoming Wellfield United, a team from the church ‘plant’ based at Northbrook Barn on the Broadfield Estate. Elite captain Matt Ferguson, who also helped organize the event, collected the trophy from sponsor Ruth Bradshaw and team-mate Greg Anderton claimed the Golden Boot as top scorer for the afternoon.
Fellow organiser Calvin Wallace, who captained the Irish entrants, Green Brazil, said: “It’s been a great tournament, once again we were blessed with fine weather.
We’re grateful to everyone who contributed in any way, particularly Martin for his support, encouragement and the talk he gave. We will be back next year.”
Pictures: Winning team Eccleston Elite with Keith Bradshaw from Leyland Leader (back far left) and Ruth Bradshaw (centre kneeling)
Ruth Bradshaw presents the St Andrews Cup to winning captain Matt Ferguson