Blackpool Youth Games 2017 got under way at a sun-kissed Stanley Park on Monday, when the Primary School Girls’ Football Festival kicked off five days of outstanding action.
Over 100 players who had participated in the Development League crossed the white lines in the morning sunshine to put their skills to the test in the round robin event.
Day on also saw primary and secondary schools compete in cricket, netball and the Stanley Park Road Race.
The first day saw almost 800 participants earn their Blackpool Youth Games stripes and saw lots of tired legs and suntanned faces.
The support of the young leaders throughout the week is integral to the success of Blackpool Youth Game.
Steve Legge, Blackpool Sixth Sports Development Officer, said: “We would like to thank Sport Blackpool for providing opportunities during Blackpool Youth Games for our students to volunteer. Our students have developed as leaders during the week’s events.”
Day two got under way with the boys’ primary school football as 15 school teams laced up their boots.
With temperatures soaring, it was a welcome break to head over to Palatine Leisure Centre for the Aquasplash Swimming Gala and the secondary schools found shade in the sports halls of Blackpool Sports Centre for their Dodgeball Festival.
The competitors at the Aquasplash were greeted by surfboards, rubber rings and inflatable turtles. The team of School Swimming Teachers made sure the children had an afternoon of fun and games in the pool and even offered a helping hand for anyone who was struggling to keep hold of their inflatable team-mate.
The competitors over at the dodgeball were kept equally busy in a more traditional manner as they did their best to bob and weave out of the way of incoming shots.
Blackpool Youth Games is a perfect way to round off every school year and allows the teachers to see all of the hard work that takes place in PE lessons across the year come off during the events.
Mr Hankin from Westcliff Primary School said: “All the events that our children have participated in this week have been great and the children have gained lots from it. The best thing is all abilities can participate and enjoy the events.”
A very proud Mr Jordan from Waterloo Primary Academy said: “A huge thank you to all involved in the planning and delivery of Blackpool Youth Games 2017. The pupils and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the events, learning new skills, making new friends and most importantly missing lessons.”
The start to day three was slightly damperas around 200 young athletes and cheerleaders attended Stanley Park.
Organising school, Holy Family Catholic Primary School treated everyone to a superbly organised athletics competition that saw the children run, jump and throw their way through the sporting challenges in an attempt to claim as many points as possible to add to their overall school total.
The cheerleaders kept the atmosphere at fever pitch as they took centre stage at intervals.
After the baton had been exchanged for the final time the schools headed back to base to recharge their batteries for the Year 6 cricket competition that lay ahead in the afternoon and the Year 7 rounders .
With no sign of the heat dropping the Secondary Schools rounded off the day on the all-weather pitches at the girls’ festival, where the competing schools went head to head once more.
Hawes Side Academy Year 6 student Jake commented “The events this week were amazing, they could suit every child’s ability and there is something for everyone.”
Day four saw two qualifying competitions for the SPAR Lancashire School Games taking place, with cricket and tri-golf on offer for the primary schools. B
oth events took place at local sports clubs with Blackpool Cricket Club and Tee-Time Golf Centre lending their facilities and support to Blackpool Youth Games 2017.
Lancashire Cricket Board was in attendance to watch the cricket with development coach Danny Gilbert, who said: “The Primary Kwik Cricket competitions in Blackpool have been fantastic this year, with over 200 children taking part in either Year 6 boys, Year 6 girls or Year 4/5 mixed and in some cases all of them.
“Cricket is a great sport that doesn’t only teach striking and fielding skills but also teaches teamwork, fair play, and discipline and offers an overall holistic development.”
Danny Ogden, Leisure Manager at Blackpool Sports Centre, said: “Once again Sport Blackpool has been the proud hosts of Blackpool Youth Games. We have seen some fantastic competition between the local schools with all having a great time. The beautiful weather had added to the enjoyment of the week and we hope to see everyone back in 2018.”
The week-long celebration of school sport came to a close with table tennis and one more burst of football as the participating primary schools helped us to break the 2000 barrier for the number of children involved across the week.
The table tennis saw the teachers getting their chance to show the children how it is supposedly done as they reluctantly stepped forward for their skills challenges before taking to the table for the more formal and competitive singles matches.
The children loved seeing their teachers having fun and hearing one or two saying that the challenges weren’t as easy as they looked.
Dave Rohman, Blackpool School Games Organiser, said: “All of Blackpool came together again to give our schools another amazing Blackpool Youth Games.
“A combination of participation and competitive events that see traditional and creative activities highlights how far school sport has come and how it can be delivered to engage all abilities and interests.
“The days leading up to Blackpool Youth Games, and on some occasions on the morning of the events, sees fixtures lists and running orders changing frequently to accommodate late entry forms which can cause a headache.
“But that soon disappears when you see just how much the children enjoy Blackpool Youth Games.
“The list of people who make the magic happen is too long to print but a special thank you to the event venues, event organisers, leaders and volunteers, sports clubs and the children for making Blackpool Youth Games 2017 such a special week.
“It’s not quite full time just yet for the Sport Blackpool School & Community Team as we have got a few more weeks of PE lessons, sports days and the small matter of the SPAR Lancashire School Games on Tuesday.”
2017 winners’ roll of honour –
Primary School Girls’ Football: St Teresa’s
Primary School High 5 Netball: St Nicholas
Secondary School Girls Cricket Years 7/8: South Shore Academy
Years 9/10: St Mary’s
Primary Schools Boys’ Football: St Kentigern’s
Secondary School Dodgeball: St Mary’s
Primary School Athletics
Large Schools: Stanley
Medium Schools: Moor Park
Small Schools: Holy Family
Primary School Cheerleading: Holy Family
Primary School Cricket
Year 6: St John Vianney
Years 4/5: Hawes Side
Secondary School Rounders: South Shore Academy
Secondary Schools Girls’ Football Years 7/8: St Mary’s
Years 9/10: Montgomery
Primary School Tri-Golf: Holy Family