Ashlawn pupils enjoy football finale

The teams lined up before the final match. NNL-160531-113014001
The teams lined up before the final match. NNL-160531-113014001

Ashlawn Sixth Form students marked the end of their school lives with the finale of what has become known as The Big Game.

Over the past two years, year 13 students at Ashlawn School have come together at lunchtime during the school day to play football on the school field, reports Luke Marley, one of the players.

At the beginning of year 12 it started off as a rather small affair with not many people involved but grew into the Big Game.

The number of players in the match often varied daily, it could sometimes simply be contested by two teams of 11, but however on occasions there were nearly 40 players involved.

The score lines also varied a lot, with some matches ending in a boring 2-1, whereas some games finished with a magnificent 7-5, or 7-7.

In the last few weeks before the end of term, teachers and students across all the year groups became aware of the fixture. As a group, we believed that we should end The Big Game series with one big send-off, to celebrate the last two years and all of the magical moments that have been created through the match.

For us year 13 students, our school lives came to an end on Friday, May 27. We chose the nearby St Andrew’s Rugby Club Recreational Ground to host the final contested by the Ashlawn All Stars (wearing white) and the All Blacks (wearing black.)

We played two halves of 30 minutes, with extra time and penalties to be played if the game was a draw at the end of the hour. We also ditched the sixth form attire for shorts and T-shirts.

All Stars were 2-0 up at half-time but All Blacks came back and forced extra time.

Extra time ended with the score still at 2-2, and The Big Game was to be decided over a penalty shootout.

The shootout was tied at 4-4 after 5 kicks a piece, and we entered sudden death. After an All Stars miss, All Blacks’ Ben Cooper stepped up and hit the ball into the bottom corner to clinch victory.

They were awarded The Big Game trophy (a cardboard cut out of a trophy).

The final was a fantastic and mesmerising spectacle to enjoy and be part of, and it was one that we players will remember for the rest of our lives. However, The Big Game will be sincerely missed.