The Offside Rule (We Get It!) podcast 5-a-side team enjoyed a run to the semi-final, after being drawn in a group with Dames Joyce, News UK and Women in Football representatives. Lynsey Hooper and ‘crazy ‘keeper’, Kate Partridge, were joined by members of The Offside Rule pod social media dream team at St George’s Park: Alexandra Lever, Natasha Bougourd, Milana Knezevic and Harriet Drudge.
After a tour of the National Football Centre, all 16 teams – eight men’s and eight women’s – took part in the ContiWarmUp before the action kicked-off on the David Beckham pitch.
The ContiWarmUp™ programme is an interactive website that enables coaches to deliver training sessions focused on particular skills to prepare players physically and mentally for football. You can create your own ContiWarmUp here: www.ContiWarmUp.com.
Lead by manager Katherine Nutman of Oxford United, The Offside Rule got off to a winning start, but had to come from behind. Goals from Lever and Drudge in the second half secured a 2-1 win for the Podders.
Consecutive victories seemed on the cards when Hooper scored to make it 2-0 in the second match with a delicious chip over the ‘keeper – no mean feat in a 5-a-side – just before half-time. Drudge had opened the scoring from a well-worked corner, but the second half saw News UK come from behind twice, to snatch a well-earned point. It finished 3-3 with Drudge scoring the third.
The final group game against Women in Football was a physical affair. The match looked like ending in The Offside Rule’s first defeat of the afternoon, which Hooper was not best pleased about! At 1-0 down and having been on the receiving end of some feisty fouls, a shot in anger by Drudge from her own penalty area, nestled in the top-left corner to send the watching crowd wild.
A point against Women in Football was enough to see The Offside Rule qualify second in the group, which meant a tie with reigning champions BBC Sport in the semi-final. It was here the spirited Podders’ run came to an end. Fatigue set in and a supremely talented opposition took full advantage. BBC Sport went on to win the tournament and retain their crown.
The Podders can be proud that their only defeat in their debut tournament came against the eventual champions.
Teams gathered after the finals for the presentations and to watch Spain vs. Holland, with Faye White, Des Walker and The Offside Rule Pod’s very own Sue Smith as guest speakers for the evening. Overall a fantastic feast of football was enjoyed by all, thanks to Continental. The Podders will be hoping to go one stage further next year.