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School teams head for Wembley

PUBLISHED: 09:29 18 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:54 03 July 2010

The Cliff Park Middle School team who are heading for Wembley.

The Cliff Park Middle School team who are heading for Wembley.

CUP fever is gripping two schools heading down Wembley way in search of football glory.

South East champions Cliff Park Middle U11 boys and Woodlands U11 girls are appearing at the national stadium in the English Schools FA final next Saturday.

CUP fever is gripping two schools heading down Wembley way in search of football glory.

South East champions Cliff Park Middle U11 boys and Woodlands U11 girls are appearing at the national stadium in the English Schools FA final next Saturday.

Both teams are training hard ahead of the showpiece occasion that takes place before the England v Scotland under-18 match.

It will be the end of a long road for the sides who won the Great Yarmouth area and Norfolk titles before being crowned regional champions last month.

Watford Football Club hosts the semi-finals on Friday to decide which team contests the national title and the third/fourth play off against the respective winners from the north of England.

Cliff Park take on Dinglewell Junior School from Gloucester and Woodlands line up against Bristol's Ridge Junior in the semi-final.

Their shared success crowned what has been a superb season for both teams, neither of whom has lost a game all season.

Large groups of supporters are expected to head down to the capital to cheer on the sides as they bid for football glory.

Cliff Park assistant head and team manager Dick Oliver said: “The preparations are going really well and the boys are very confident.

“They are an extrovert, bubbly bunch and have been training every day so see no reason why they cannot do well.

“I have been coaching football teams at the school for 26 years, this is the first time we have been regional champions and only our second appearance at the national finals.

“Lots of professional footballers never get the chance to play at Wembley so it will be a wonderful occasion.”

A teacher trained in sports psychology is helping the boys with some positive thinking techniques ahead of the big game so they don't get overawed by the occasion. Head of PE at Woodlands Stuart Aldous and colleague Vanessa Brambor have been putting the Woodlands girls through their paces to ensure they are at peak fitness.

He said: “The girls are raring to go and the games cannot come quickly enough, they are feeling positive and confident.

“They are understandably excited, but have got to get them focused on the football and wanting to win.

“We are quite aware that the goals are going to be bigger so we are practising shooting along with penalties and set pieces.

“To have both teams from the Great Yarmouth area is amazing and there has been great support from family members.”

The girls should go into the final in a confident mood after beating a team of boys from the school in a practice match.

They have been training three times a week and were given an exercise programme during the Easter holiday to stay in shape.

The semi finals will be decided by a dreaded penalty shoot-out if the matches end in a draw, but the national trophy will be shared should the final end honours even.

Medals will be presented to all the teams taking part in the final at half-time during the England Scotland international.

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