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The stakes could not have been higher as the St John’s 1st XI faced St Paul’s on Saturday 29 March. As winners of the league last year, the 1st XI were defending their title and needed either a win or a draw in this final match of the season to retain it. Although St Paul’s were unlikely contenders for the trophy itself (as they would have needed to win by five goals), even a close defeat by them would have seen St John’s arch-rival Tonbridge walking away with the trophy.
Fortunately, the first XI, with their characteristic determination, took control of the game early on, imposing themselves in midfield. There was more than one attempt at the St Paul’s goal during the first half, but it was an accurate header that ensured St John’s went into half time 1-0 up. Then, 10 minutes into the second half, the St John’s players doubled their advantage after intercepting a ball passed back to the St Paul’s goalkeeper. From there onwards, the 1st XI held on to their advantage until the last five minutes, when the opposition managed a consolation goal. The final whistle sparked jubilant scenes as the players celebrated their achievement. They were awarded the league trophy and then undertook the various media obligations.
A special mention is deserved by those Upper Sixth boys who were playing their last game for the team. They have contributed much to the side’s success over the last two seasons and this final triumph saw them out in style. It will be a pity to say goodbye to them when they leave St John’s at the end of the summer. Yet asked whether the 1st XI could still win the trophy an unprecedented three times in a row, Master in Charge of Football Richard Jones replied, ‘Absolutely!’ without hesitation. ‘With eight Lower Sixth boys in the squad, the future is bright for next year.’
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