For the second consecutive year, Smiths Hire were proud to sponsor the Warden Construction charity football tournament held at Play Football in Preston. Thanks to the efficient organisation on behalf of Warden Construction the tournament ran without a hitch, ensuring everyone had a great day – although we’re sure that was helped by the weather Gods doing their bit for everyone on the outside pitches! Ultimately the day was in support of Warden’s chosen charity, Galloway’s Society for the Blind, who were extremely thankful to all the companies involved.
Smiths Hire arrived with pressure on their shoulders having reached the semi-finals of the tournament the year before. With that in mind, it wasn’t looking good when the players arrived and realised most hadn’t even met each other before! In hind sight it may have been best to have a training session or two before the actual tournament! Undeterred, the team jumped straight into the warm-up which consisted of hitting footballs as hard as possible towards the goal. It was at this point that, Darren Keighley, who had volunteered to be goalkeeper was re-evaluating his decision to take on the role but was told by manager David Turner in no uncertain terms, ‘No chance!’. That was that then!
The format of the tournament consisted of 4 groups of 4 teams, later being split into the top two and bottom two of each group progressing to the knockout stages of the Champions League and the Europa League. It’s fair to say that Smiths used to 3 group games to ‘warm up’ and properly get to know each other. An opening 5-3 defeat to the Tangerine Group gave the Smiths players a glimpse of how serious the tournament was going to be – although it wasn’t helped by effectively giving the Tangerines a 4-0 headstart! Managing Director David Smith and Operations Director David Sudell had now arrived to spectate – no pressure then!
Game 2 and an opportunity to put the wrongs right from the first game (this is kind of stuff football managers and players say to the media!) saw Smiths shoot out of the blocks to take a 3-0 lead, and never looked back eventually beating Danbro Accounting by 7 goals to 4. It was starting to look like the tactics were starting to come together on the pitch. It all came down to the final group game to decide who made it through to the Champions League and who would contest the Europa League. After a tight first 5 minutes, CPL Heating & Plumbing eventually broke the deadlock with two goals in quick succession. A brief reply for Smiths did little to stem the tide and CPL ran out 8-2 winners.
So with a record of one win and two losses, the boys from Smiths Hire progressed into the Europa League knockout stages where they would face off with tournament hosts Warden Construction. Buoyed with confidence from their improved displays, Smiths’ confidence was dented when Warden took the lead against the run of play. Goals were traded evenly until with two minutes to go Smiths turned around a 4-3 deficit to win 5-4, much to the delight of the supporters on the touchline!
A quick turnaround preceded the semi-finals and amazingly we had matched last years result! So, it was Smiths Hire vs Lustalux for a place in the final. Smiths put on a dazzling display of 5 aside football, filled with skill and finesse, confidently dispatching the opposition by 6 goals to nil in their best performance to date. By this point however Smiths reserves were running low, having lost stand-in goalkeeper Luke Hobson and Gary Terry feeling the strain after giving his all earlier in the day. Nonetheless, the final beckoned!
Ameon were the opponents between Smiths Hire and the glory of the Europa League but in the end it proved a step too far as Smiths were beaten by a combination of unlucky injuries and what proved to be a team of veterans who had previously played together. Ameon won the Europa League by beating Smiths 5-0 in the final, despite the Smiths’ players best efforts. Praise has to be given to those in the team however, who gave everything to the cause and returned home with as handful of injuries each!
Marketing Director and Team Manager David Turner commented in the post-match interview, “The boys performed above expectations in all respects and showed glimpses of the world-class ability we know they have in their locker. I was a little concerned at the beginning of the day and it would have been nicer to have another few clean sheets. Maybe we will work on this for next year. The second half of the tournament was as professional as they come and it was wonderful to watch. Full credit all the players.”
After the football it was back to the clubhouse for a quick pint and the awarding of the trophies to the winning teams. Managing Director David Smith was proud to represent Smiths Hire in the awarding of the trophies.
Smiths Hire would like to thank Warden Construction for an excellently organised and enjoyable day, and would like to wish Galloways continued support in the fantastic work they do on a daily basis to help those who need it most.