One of the highlights in Sheffield schools football takes to the big stage when the historic Clegg Shield cup final is held at Bramall Lane tomorrow night (April 12).
The final of the tournament, which originated in 1889, will feature Westfield School and Springs Academy playing on the stadium’s new Desso pitch, a first in the event’s history.
Some of the players from the Springs squad (pictured) got an early look at the pitch and the Shield when they gathered before Saturday’s home league fixture against Gillingham to toss for the home/away changing rooms.
The Clegg Shield, which began in 1889, the year the Blades were formed, is played for on an annual basis through a knock-out competition by final year 11 pupils in the city. It is one of the oldest schools’ competitions in the country.
Originally a competition for all elementary schools across the city, Thurlstone were the first winners and when they brought the trophy home the villagers and a brass band went to the school to meet the conquering heroes!
This year’s tournament has seen Springs beat High Storrs, Newfield, Chaucer and Tapton to reach the finals, with Westfield beating Hinde House, Stocksbridge, Birley and All Saints.
Westfield Coach Lee Coddington said: “There has been some outstanding performance along the way to Bramall Lane, with a couple of 5-0 wins. It was in the semi-final though where they showed real character and determination to make the final, the game was under control after the first half with two goals from Adam Pocock. The start of the second half was different, with classic cup, windy conditions favouring All Saints and they brought it back to 2-2 with 20 minutes left. The students showed immense character to dig deep and win 4-2 on the night.’’
Springs Coach Andrew Saville said: ‘'All the Springs squad team are really looking forward to the occasion and want to finish their unbeaten season on a high by finishing winners of the Clegg Shield.”
United's operations director Dave McCarthy commented: ’’We have staged the Clegg Shield Final a few times recently and they are always exciting matches with a great atmosphere in the ground. Sheffield United respect the tradition and history of the Clegg Shield and are delighted to welcome Westfield and Springs to be the first schools to play on our new superb pitch’’.
The match officials, nominated through the Sheffield Referees Association, are all under 21. The Clegg Shield Y11 Cup Final kicks off at 6.30pm. The Top Spring South Stand will be open with tickets on sale outside the turnstiles..
Four other Schools Cup Finals will take place this weekend; on Saturday, at Warminster Road playing fields, (10am kick off) Westfield will play Birley in year 7, Meadowhead v Birley at year 8, Westfield v Ecclesfield at year 9 and Tapton v King Edwards in the year 10 final.