Wednesday 13 March 2013
Record numbers turned out to compete to represent Wigan Athletic in the Premier League Schools Tournament this month.
Highfield St Matthew's Primary School overcame competition from 44 other schools and 500 children to beat St Maries 5-3 in the final in the Under-11 mixed competition.
“We’re really pleased, we all worked as a team and are looking forward to the Anfield trip,” Jake Cain, a member of the winning team, said.
"We all worked as a team and are looking forward to the Anfield trip"
As well as getting the chance to take on schools from across the country Highfield St Matthew's team were also given match tickets to a Barclays Premier League match at the DW Stadium and a signed Wigan Athletic shirt for their school. In the Highfield St Matthew's team was Jessica Hilton who is a massive Latics fan and whose favourite player is Arouna Kone.
In the Under-13s girls’ category, Deanery High School will have the chance to defend the title that St Peter's High School, from Orrell, won last year at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Deanery beat St Mary’s High School in Astley 3-1 in the final.
Twelve secondary schools took part in the competition organised by Wigan in the Community and were treated to a surprise visit by Wigan midfielder James McArthur and goalkeeper Joel Robles fresh from their FA Cup quarter-final victory away to Everton.
McArthur helped to referee one of the matches while Robles went in the net for the girls to practise penalties before presenting the winning trophy and medals at the end of the competition.
“It was a bit strange refereeing rather than playing but I was happy to help out,” said McArhtur. “Hopefully the girls will go and do well at Anfield.”
Deanery also won match tickets and a signed Wigan Athletic shirt for their school.
The Premier League Schools Tournament, which is in its eighth year, aims to increase participation and the numbers of teams and players has grown every season. Each of the 20 clubs stage their own competition to select a school to represent them in the finals. As well as Under-13s girls’ teams, there is an Under-11s boys' tournament with the same format taking place on the same day.
Premierleague.com will bring you the full draw shortly and will update you with the schools representing the 20 teams. You can follow news on Twitter with hashtag #plschools.