Girls are best of British

West Ham United Ladies Under-16s completed a memorable season by being crowned British champions.

The Hammers headed to Bolton Wanderers' Reebok Stadium for the UK Tesco Cup having already won both the South East Regional and English national titles in recent weeks.

Jim Maycock's youngsters kept up the good work by beating Welsh champions Cardiff City Ladies in the semi-finals before defeating Scottish title holders Hibernian Girls in the final to become the best in Britain and Northern Ireland.

Manager Maycock said: "Our players did what they were asked to do and kept the ball on the floor to build patiently, performing as we knew they could, but Hibs gave us a real battle.

"You can't underestimate this tournament for giving kids something to because aspire to, there was nothing like this when I was young and this tournament gets bigger and better every year."

West Ham had held their nerve to hold off the challenge of Cardiff in a thrilling penalty shoot-out. The match had ended 0-0 and goalkeeper Lauren Picton held her nerve to save two spot-kicks to send the Hammers through to the Sunday final.

Hibernian, who had beaten Northern Irish champions Sion Swifts 3-1 in their own semi-final, took the lead, only for Dannielle Robertson to score twice as West Ham stormed back to take the trophy.


Former Liverpool and England winger John Barnes was on hand to present the trophy and medals to the winners. Barnes also chose Robertson as Player of the Tournament and Picton as Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Barnes said: "The Tesco Cup provides a big boost for football in the UK. For a teenager playing in a youth tournament, it is a fantastic incentive to play on the hallowed turf of a premier league club.

"All the teams playing at the Reebok Stadium have put in a lot of work and dedication to get here and fully deserve to reach the UK final. I was impressed with the standard of play amongst the West Ham girls and I'm sure we have seen some future stars playing here today."

Now in its fifth year, the Tesco Cup is a home nations grassroots football competition across three age groups - U13 boys, U14 girls and U16 girls - and attracted entries from 3,600 clubs in 2010.

Tesco works in conjunction with the FA and local communities to provide young footballers with the opportunity to play in a structured competition, on a national and international stage.