The sun shone overhead, while the talent on the pitch was equally as bright as the Borders Festival of Football celebrated its 10th year.
Over 1,000 primary school aged children from across the region took part in games across the back pitches of Netherdale on Sunday, while on the 3G pitch, four finals were played out to decide the SBJFA Cups.
Three of the four games proved to be tight affairs, with two needing extra time to decide the winner. In the end Gala Fairydean walked away with two of the trophies, while Eyemouth and Duns claimed one apiece.
Borders Sport and Leisure estimate that 2,500 players and spectators attended Netherdale for the event which honours the memory of Selkirk teenager Cameron Gunn, who died whilst playing football aged 19 in 1991.
Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure, said: “This was a fantastic day and it is brilliant to see this event go from strength to strength.
About 2,500 people attended the festival between competitors and supporters, the largest number to date. This festival plays a key role in encouraging Primary School pupils to play football and it was really rewarding to see so many young people enjoying competitive sport.”
Drew Kelly, Scottish Football Association development officer, added: “This year’s festival was a huge success with all the children playing the game in great spirit and showing some impressive skills.
“The event is supported by the teams and officials involved in the SBJFA league and represents the pinnacle of their season. We are really grateful for all the help and support they provided on the day.”
And David Drummond, south east regional manager with the SFA said: “It is events like Sunday’s that really demonstrate the strength of our grass roots game and reminds us of just how important partnership working is for our game to prosper.”
Chris Doyle U17 Cup
Duns avenged their league title loss to Hawick thanks to a Daniel Pattenden double.
The pacy striker had bagged five goals in last year’s Under 15 final, and was a constant threat to the Teries rearguard 12 months later.
However, it was Hawick who took the lead when Dale Whillans converted a spot kick after Steven Drummond was adjudged to have been fouled midway through the first half.
But within minutes, Pattenden had equalised with a fine finish past Kerr Brown in the Hawick goal.
Duns created the better chances during the second period with Robbie Aitchison and Pattenden guilty of firing wide with the goal at their mercy.
Extra time was looming until Aitchison made up for his earlier miss with a low shot across Brown five minutes from the end.
And two minutes later, Pattenden used his pace and power to breeze past four Hawick defenders and round Brown to tap into the empty net for a superb individual goal.
Duns coach Keith Wilson said: “Ourselves and Hawick have been nip and tuck all season. They deserved to win the league but I am happy to win this to make it one a piece for trophies this season.”
Duns: P. Smith, P. Anderson, K. Semple, D. McCann, B. Pollock, R. Aitchison, L. Turner, C. Ellison, A. McGregor, D. Pattenden, S. Mitchell. Subs: J. Dancaster, M. Slater, J. Crombie, J. Lough, S. Liddell, K. Turner.
Bruce Scott U14s Cup
GALA FAIRYDEAN 2
(after extra time)
Gala Fairydean staged a remarkable comeback - only to lose out to Eyemouth in extra time.
A Connor Hook double, the latter a sensational 30 yard shot-cum-cross, sent the final into additional time, but the Fishermen, led by striker Daniel Crombe, proved too strong.
Eyemouth coach Allan Ponton said: “We have our goalkeeper Thomas Lindsay to thank for making some great saves during normal time and we proved too strong in extra time. The win means we have completed a league and cup double which is fantastic for the club.”
Combe put in a man-of-the-match showing for The Gulls, and opened the scoring in the second third of the tie with a fine goal.
A Cameron Frater goal seemed to have ensured the trophy was heading back to Eyemouth in the final third, but Hook struck twice, his second with the last kick of normal time.
Yet, Combe struck again as Gala began to tire in extra time and further goals from Evan Smith and Arran Middlemiss put gloss on the final scoreline.
Eyemouth: T. Lindsay, M. Ponton, A. Crowe, T. Aitchison, O. Chapman, E. Wilson, J. Hamilton, E. Smith, R. White, D. Combe, A. Middlemiss. Subs: C. Frater, M. Patterson, G. Maltman.