Football tournament set up to end rivalry between Hampshire schools

BALL SKILLS Stuents Matt Pople, Callum Lynch, Jake Jacobs, Bobbi Clarke and PCSO Helen Aiken
BALL SKILLS Stuents Matt Pople, Callum Lynch, Jake Jacobs, Bobbi Clarke and PCSO Helen Aiken
From left: PO Adam Hilton,  Father Christmas, Captain Peter Towell, CPO Chris 'Paddy' Gilkes and Malcolm Dent

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YOUNGSTERS got the chance to show off their footballing skills and put rivalry firmly in its place – on the pitch, not between schools.

Students from South Downs College, Purbrook Park School and Oaklands Catholic School played against a team of Police Community Support Officers at a mini tournament organised by police.

It was so successful police hope it will become an annual event – even though they were the first team out.

PCSO Lee Collins was behind the tournament.

He explained: ‘We have had a lot of issues between students from these schools and the college as there is a fierce rivalry between them.

‘Building respect between the students should help to stop these issues.

‘We want the kids to know our team are here to talk, not just to check up on them.’

Following the recent decision to grant planning permission for a brand new all weather sports pitch at South Downs, college women’s coach Mike Murtagh said he is keen for the competition to held there next year.

He said: ‘Hopefully we will be able to host the event on a more regular basis. It would also be good if more female teams joined the competition.’

Purbrook Park School were victorious, closely followed by South Downs College in second place.

The team from Purbrook were awarded a trophy, and medals were presented to the teams in first and second place.

PCSO Collins said he was looking forward to future events and is hoping to hold the next tournament in the spring.

He said the Police Safer Neighbourhoods Teams focus on engaging with the local community.

They aim to learn about local issues from the community, and help to improve the quality of life for local people.