Grass Roots: Team’s 100% record over two seasons

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From time to time sport will throw up a team of invincibles.

We have seen the great Arsenal team of 2004, the formidable Ajax of 96 and Nottingham Forest of 77.

As it happens, though, the city of Sheffield has its very own team of unbeatables.... The High Storrs School sixth form football team.

Led by Mark Bennehan, the Ecclesall situated school have embarked on 24-league game winning streak that dates back from the start of last season and High Storrs, with six games remaining of this Sheffield & Colleges Post 16 Fair Play League campaign, are on course to complete their second season holding a 100% record.

“The biggest factor that has contributed to this run has been the team spirit,” Bennehan, who has been PE teacher at High Storrs for 23 years, said.

“It is down to the lads, before each game they say we are going to make it 21, 22, 23, 24. The longer it goes on, the more determined they are.”

Benneham, 47, also paid tribute to the ‘fluid system’ the school has that allows him to call upon even more talent when the second years leave for university, an apprenticeship or work.

He used the example of Cole Johnson, an immensely talented player, who left to move down south to London for university.

“A few of the players have had trials and some play at a reasonable Sunday League level, but we don’t really have any that play for professional academies.

“In the past we have had star individuals, like Cole last year, but this year it has been a real team effort.

“The keeper for example, Rob Basu, has played in every single game of the run and has probably kept clean sheets in more than half of those 24 games.

“We don’t have any weaknesses in any position and we are already looking at some of the players we can bring in next year, there is talent coming through all the time.

“I have been involved in sixth form football for the last 15 years now and this is undoubtedly the best sixth form team I have seen.”

The division’s organiser, Matt Elkington of the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Football Association, added: “The division started four years ago and teams do take it seriously, they have done really well.

“They (High Storrs) have some really good players, but Mark bangs on every week about showing respect for their opponents.

“The most impressive aspect really is that their attitudes doesn’t change. They respect each and every opponent and we are really pleased with how it’s going.”