More than 320 teams take part in burgeoning Wisbech St Mary five a side football tournament

Wisbech St Mary five a side football tournament. Picture: Barry Giddings.

Wisbech St Mary five a side football tournament. Picture: Barry Giddings. - Credit: Archant

More than 320 teams took part in the most successful Wisbech St Mary five a side tournament to date.

Youngsters were given the chance to express themselves on the pitch, while scouts from Norwich City, Peterborough United and Cambridge United looked on.

The marquee tournament has gone from strength to strength since it was organised by Keith William along with Terry and Joan Ardener 21 years ago. The first edition took place on two pitches and involved 10 teams.

This year, 322 teams played on 23 pitches over the two days. It is recognised as the largest tournament of its kind in East Anglia.

Every penny raised from the tournament goes back in to the club to further improve the facilities that 32 Wisbech St Mary sides benefit from every season.

Last year, with the proceeds from the tournament, the club replaced every goal on the mens pitches and eight mini soccer pitches with caged netted goals and improved drainage throughout the ground.

Gary Haime, Wisbech St Mary reserve team manager, said: “An army of Wisbech Mary players and club officials put in an amazing effort to make the weekend a success for all to enjoy.

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“A very special mention must go to our tournament director Mark Miller who works for 12 months to ensure that this tournament is and continues to be one of the largest and best tournaments in the UK.

“Within days we have already had 98 teams reserve their place for next year which is supported by some of the wonderful messages we have received back from participants.”

Cambridge United academy recruitment officer Jake Hammond was full of praise for the tournament.

He said: “I have been coming to Wisbech St Mary for 10 years now and each year I find that it progresses both in size and in organization.

“The whole club put on a fantastic weekend to which clubs both local and further afield wish to attend.

“I would recommend this tournament to any team wishing to book their tournaments for next summer.”