Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Friendship Link Schools Soccer Tournament 2019, the best yet!


Sandwiched between days of rain the annual contest between teams from local schools, twinned with schools in Sierra Leone through the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, enjoyed warm sunshine and a gentle breeze last week, to participate in the Link’s annual Schools’ Soccer Tournament which turned out to be the best yet.

This year the tournament was held at a new venue, the Bulverhythe playing fields, by kind permission of Hastings Council.

Teresa Bennett, School Sports Coordinator for Hastings and Rother Schools Games Partnership, once again was unflappably in charge of the tournament’s organisation, assisted this year by students from Bexhill College.

Both the Girls’ and Boys’ contests were fought on an all-play-all basis, each match lasting 9minutes. The girls provided a very close contest in which All Saints’ and Christ Church ended in a draw with equal points. Christ Church squeezed home in first place on goal difference, having won one of their matches by 9 goals to nil!

The Boys’ teams ended the afternoon with St Mary Star of the Sea triumphant, just one point ahead of Christ Church – a really close and exciting contest.

Garry Saunders, who coached the Christ Church teams said: “The standard of football played by all the participating teams has risen year on year. The Sierra Leone football tournament has become a real show piece finale to end the school football season.”

Jason Morton, in charge of PE at St Paul’s School said: “Parents were really impressed with the level of football on show”.

Hastings Mayor, Nigel Sinden was on hand to present the ‘gold’ medals to the winning teams and was assisted by Deputy Mayor, James Bacon, who presented the ‘silver’ medals to all other contestants.

Roger Mitchell, the Schools Liaison Officer for HSLFL responsible for the event, said: “the availability of refreshments at the new café, run by volunteers from the Friends of Combe Valley Nature Reserve greatly enhanced the afternoon’s festival atmosphere . I wish this venture every success”.

This was the last of the Sierra Leone Friendship Link tournaments to be organised by Teresa Bennett. She has been at the heart of every tournament since the first was held in 2007. Mayor, Nigel Sinden made a special presentation to Teresa on behalf of the Friendship Link. Teresa said: ”It has given me an enormous amount of pleasure to run these tournaments over the years and to work with everyone”.

Here’s a One Drive link to the pick of

Derek’s Football Photos

We’ll miss you, Teresa!