Teachers from Rivington and Blackrod High School have spoken about the importance of events like Sunday’s EFL Girls Cup Final, which was played at Wembley Stadium ahead of the Checkatrade Trophy Final, following their school’s success on behalf of Bolton Wanderers.
After the match finished all square between the Lancashire side and Gordano School, who were representing Bristol City as defending champions, the tie was settled by a penalty shootout.
The road to the final began for more than 6,000 girls back in September 2017, with each of the 72 EFL clubs hosting local tournaments. The winners then went to regional competitions, and were eventually narrowed down to Sunday’s finalists.
“It’s been a great journey and a great experience for us as staff, but more importantly for the players involved,” said Dave Sherlock, a P.E teacher at Rivington and Blackrod High School.
“They’ve been fantastic all the way through and we couldn’t wish for a better group of girls to have the opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium. They’ll never get the chance to do it again and it was an amazing day.”
Andy Brown, who is head of P.E at the Bolton school, explained how Sunday’s achievement would benefit the school as a whole and help him fulfil his goals within the department.
“This is going to be a catalyst for girls’ football and girls’ sport in general and Rivington and Blackrod High,” he said.
“It’s one of my passions as head of P.E to really boost girls’ participation in sport, and Sunday proved that these girls have got huge talent. Hopefully this will get the whip up around the school and more people will want to come out and get involved.
“These girls can, and they have. All the hard work has been done by the players and it’s an amazing achievement to have been successful at Wembley.”
The star of the show was undoubtedly Rivington and Blackrod goalkeeper Shardonie Brindle, who not only preserved a clean sheet with a remarkable save from close range in the first half, but also denied Ellie Challenger’s opening spot kick in the shootout.
Report: Read how the Girls Cup action unfolded
The school’s captain, Neve Birtwhistle, was proud of her team’s performances throughout the competition and was elated to have won at the National Stadium.
“It was an incredible experience because we’re not going to get the chance to do this again,” she said.
“Especially to be able to say I scored a penalty at Wembley, that’s a really big thing.”