The FA People’s Cup returned to the Bedfordshire FA for 2017, with two of our Ability Counts Leagues showcasing PAN Disability Football.
For the first time ever, we were host to two of our leagues at once here at the Bedfordshire FA; a real showcase of the talent and characters we have in the leagues. The competition provided an environment to celebrate the start of our new season as well as engaging new players into teams.
The Peter Newton Pavilion was opened nice and early to mark the occasion. Breakfast went down a treat whilst teams registered for the day. Hot drinks and sarnies helped beat the frosty morning.
Fixtures commenced quickly with all players eager to impress after the winter break. Bedford Griffins (formerly Bedford & Kempston) were keen to rise to the challenge of moving into the Premiership this season. They stormed to the last years League 2 title but will be now compete in all 3 leagues for 2017, wearing a lovely new kit. It didn’t take long for them to announce themselves as the new boys in town. Their entry into the Premiership should shake up the competition.
The Premiership promises to be an exciting league this year, especially if the Canaries performances are anything to go by. It was also great to see Luton One-Touchables bring all the old guard back for the day. AFC Dunstable will find out why Sir Alex always said defending a title is harder than winning a title.
The Championship category served up another cracking set of games as expected. Player development over the last year has been substantial. Several players from the Super-League decided to test themselves at the higher level to great success. Hopefully 2017 will see more of the Championship players’ progress towards the Premiership.
We were graced with the presence of Liam Irons who was invited along as a special guest for the event. Liam lives locally in Dunstable but spent the summer in Rio with the Great Britain Cerebral Palsy 7 a-side Football team. A whirlwind 18 months has seen Liam develop from grassroots Football to key member of an elite international disability football team.
Whilst Liam was in attendance for the presentation at the conclusion, we couldn’t resist getting him involved with the games in the Premiership. It didn’t take him long to realise how strong the competition is although his class and ability was evident with every game he played. The participants were over-the-moon to have played with and against someone of his calibre.
The Regional Semi-Finals are expected to be held across the weekend of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of March. We will be supporting all 4 teams that are progressing to the next round. Exciting times ahead!