GOALS, Zadok The Priest and English Premiership standard celebrations all ensured a new-look Cameron Gunn Festival produced an afternoon full of entertainment, writes Kenny Paterson.
Seventeen times the ball hit the net in four finals played one after the other on Netherdale’s new 3G pitch, and suitably four different clubs from across the county picked up the respective trophies.
Finalists were accompanied onto the pitch to the sound of Handel’s famous Champion’s League theme song and shook hands with one another before the match, adding to the spectacle of the occasion and enforcing the emphasis on sportsmanship, central to youth football.
And with hundreds of primary school age youngsters from across the region taking part in fun matches on the back pitches, a total of £845 was raised for Scottish HART.
It was a day to recognise the talent that exists in the Borders, and possibly spot a star or two of the future.
In the under-17s Chris Doyle Cup final, it was Declan Hogg of Hawick who helped inspire his team to a 2-0 win over Kelso.
Both teams hit the woodwork in the first half before Hogg’s 30th minute header squeezed into the net after slipping through the hands of Bruce Connelly, a talented goalkeeper himself from Hawick who has turned out for Selkirk’s East of Scotland side this season.
Aaron Swailes has also performed at Yarrow Park this season and he should have doubled the Teries’ lead just a minute into the second period, but fired over from a narrow angle.
Pushed on by the diminutive but skilful Steven Mitchell, Kelso bravely fought back and had Hawick pinned in their own half for long spells, without penetrating the defence.
Euan Hutchison struck a sweet shot just wide on the hour mark before goalkeeper Kerr Brown tipped a Dale Cockburn free kick onto his bar with nine minutes left. Instead, it was Hawick who clinched victory when the dangerous Swailes was clipped in the penalty box and Dale Whillians calmly slotted home the spot kick. Hawick manager Brian Smith said: “We had to play both Gala and Duns to get to the final, and then beat a really good Kelso team.
“I thought Kelso were excellent in the second half, but I am delighted for the players. Ten or 11 of them still stay with the under-17s next season, so hopefully we can achieve more success for Hawick.”
It was the Daniel Pattenden show in the under-15s Cameron Gunn Cup final, as league champions Duns completed the double by thumping Gala Fairydean 6-1.
The striker put his team 2-0 up thanks to his blistering pace, and a touch of humour was added to his first goal with a team celebration poking fun at ex-Hull City boss Phil Brown and his infamous on-pitch half-time team talk at Manchester City.
Gala had previously been beaten 12-0 by Duns, but fought back gamely and were back in the tie when David Cockburn’s corner was headed home by the smallest player on the pitch, Fraser Brown.
But Duns ran away with the cup in the final third of the match, as Pattenden notched a further three to take his total to five goals, while Jordan Wood curled home a fine free kick.
Duns coach Gordon Aitchison said: “We have been unbeaten this season which is a great achievement for the players.
“But Gala played really well and it was only in the last 20 minutes that we ran away with the game.”
Gala’s under-14 colleagues had more success with a fine 3-2 win over Peebles to lift the Lauderdale Cup.
The young Fairies raced into a 3-0 lead with goals from the impressive Michael Louth and a double from skilful striker Ruairi Campbell, his second a great finish as he controlled the ball with his right, before firing high into the net with his left foot.
But Peebles fought back and strikes from Andrew Clark and Euan Jackson set up a tense finale, only for Gala goalie Fraser Gowans to produce some top form to deny the Tweeddale side.
Gala coach Fred Blackie told us: “We had not beaten Peebles this season, but all the games have been close, and since February we have had a stronger squad, so we knew we had a good chance.”
Meanwhile, Kelso looked like they would cause a shock in the Under 13s Jack Gilchrist Cup, when James De-Bolle opened the scoring against favourites Eyemouth. But goals from Jack Hamilton and Aaron Middlemass meant the cup headed to the Berwickshire coast.