Lucy's lucky strike at Wembley

19th April 1996 at 01:00
It's every schoolboy's dream to play at Wembley and on Sunday it came true for two teams - and one schoolgirl.

Eleven-year-old Lucy Paisley became the first girl to play in the Wembley final of the Refuge Life schools six-a-side under-11s tournament, played before a crowd of thousands as a curtain-raiser to the Auto Windscreens Shield Final between Rotherham United and Shrewsbury Town.

Her school, Kingmoor Junior in Carlisle, took on Oliver Goldsmith primary, from Peckham in south London. A skilful and keenly contested match ended in a 2-2 draw and for the first time in the competition's nine-year history the trophy will be shared.

Michael Reed gave the Cumbrian side the lead, and scored a second to grace any final, curling his shot round the goalkeeper into the top corner. After James Cheeseman scored first for Oliver Goldsmith, Cherno Samba got the equaliser and nearly won it for the Peckham side when he hit the post in the dying seconds.

Striker Lucy, who was named "man" of the match in a previous round, is a Carlisle and Liverpool fan. Although she was substituted at half time, it didn't spoil her day. "It was great just to play at Wembley."

The two schools were representing Carlisle and Millwall after winning regional finals organised by their local Football League clubs' Football in the Community scheme. More than 2,000 teams took part.

Kingmoor headteacher Andrew Baker had made a vow not to go to Wembley until his team, Newcastle, got there. "But I don't mind breaking it for this," he said. "They are not just good footballers but lovely children. That combination has produced a good team spirit. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of them went on to become professionals."

Kingmoor had been on course for a cup-winning double - they have also reached the final of the English Schools Football Association competition at Old Trafford next month.

Sports provision at the 225-pupil school, which has been praised by the Office for Standards in Education, includes basketball, netball, rugby league and cross-country running. Ian Addison, father of Kingmoor's goalkeeper Lee, is one of the parents who helps with coaching. "They did us proud," he said.

Neil Davies, Oliver Goldsmith caretaker and team coach, said: "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a great achievement. Everyone at the school is really proud of them."

* Regulations aimed at improving safety at outdoor activity centres following the Lyme Bay canoeing tragedy came into force this week.

They will be enforced by a licencing and inspection system run by an independent company, Tourism Quality Services Ltd, based in Cardiff.

Following criticism of an earlier draft, the regulations, drawn up by the Health and Safety Commission, now cover a greater range of activities including caving, climbing, trekking and other activities in remote moorland or mountainous country, and watersports.

But despite some pressure they will not apply to activities run by voluntary associations or by schools for pupils.

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