By Bill Hoare
The last time a staff football team appeared in a Football Trophy final, Sol Campbell was heading England in front of Sweden at the 2002 World Cup. It had been a long time coming and having knocked out Premiership champions, Van Mildert, in the Semi-Final Staff were keen to finish the job and take home the cup.
Butler were looking for their third men’s football trophy in three years and started like a train, firing into the Staff and physically dominating the early proceedings. Staff played into their hands by hitting hopeful long balls and relying on Jack Coates’ long throws that centre-halves Wild and Sansome easily dealt with. The first half hour brought no real chances for either side and little quality on show for the seventy odd supporters who turned out to watch. Staff changed tactics and began to keep the ball on the floor and pass through Butler with more success. David Smith split the Butler defence with a through ball which was crossed to the near post where Colebrook saved Mason’s initial effort but could do nothing to keep out Thompson’s composed finish of the loose ball, giving the Staff the lead as the whistle went to end an evenly contested half of football.
Butler rallied at the start of the second half, but another Staff passing move saw them work up the left flank and find Thompson who turned smartly and danced into the box before being brought down for a penalty. Tim Lamb, the Student’s Union Commercial Manager, blasted the penalty to Colerook’s left who got a strong hand to the ball but could not keep it out of the net. Thompson hit a post and Butler saw a couple of half chances come and go before a route-one counter attack saw Wilson turn the last Butler defender and finish well for 3-0. The last ten minutes were disrupted with Staff’s ageing legs cramping and Butler giving their all to get something.
College sport is one of the University’s many shining lights. The facilities, participation levels, range of sports offered and professionalism with which it is organised make it a pleasure to be a part of. The Staff teams are made up of lecturers, research associates, technicians, former students and professional services staff from all over the University. Led by Dr Steven Poulter and Paul White with the support of Applebridge Construction, the Staff have added a second team, achieved back to back promotions and a title in the past two years before this cup win.
Photograph: Bill Hoare