A host of five-a-side teams in east London battled it out for the fourth annual Wharf Cup at Play On Sports in Whitechapel. Football players from across east London gathered for the event on Friday, November 11, with 12 teams taking part in the tournament.
The competition also raised around £100 for Richard House Children’s Hospice , which helps children with life limiting conditions and their families.
Kicking off at 6pm, the tournament saw plenty of action on the four pitches, and playful banter from the sidelines.
Reigning champions Third Space (previously Reebok Sports Club) were favourites to win and team captain Shaquille Palmer, 21, said: “We are the leading gym in Canary Wharf so it is only right we come and show what we are made of and win.”
They got off to a good start, winning the first match 4-1 against Metro Village , whose team captain Chez Henriques, 25, said their tactics were to “shoot more and score”.
They were later beaten by Millwall Youth Seniors in the quarter-finals by 1-4 and knocked out of the competition.
The Breakfast Club got off to a promising start, winning two and drawing one game but team captain Patrick “Braveheart” Mulkerrin, general manager of the Canary Wharf branch said the competition was tough, adding: “There are some really good players out there.”
In the quarter finals they crumbled losing 1-3 to Bupa Health And Dental Centre Canary Wharf whose centre manager and captain Lee Martin said: “Our secret weapon is our goalkeeper Stephen Parkinson as he used to be semi-pro in Germany.”
Bupa also brought along health advisor and support masseuse Megan Sullivan who gave players free massages pitchside.
“It’s been quite fun” she said. “There have been a lot of sore calves and ankles.”
Landmark Estates were in good humour despite losing all their games. Owner Spencer Fortag co-captained the team with his son Zack, 16, and joked: “It has been a tough selection process with trials to pick the best east London and Essex has to offer.”
They gave MBNA Thames Clippers their only win of the night. Head of flood operations for the river-based company Paul Hallas said his advice as captain was for players to “shoot on sight” but it was one that ultimately yielded meagre success.
Canary Wharf-based accountants PKF Littlejohn had entered two teams and Team Two captain Adam Humphreys, 26, said he had told his team to “go hard or go home” while fellow captain Jed Chouman, 23, told his players: “Have fun but take home the trophy or don’t come into work on Monday.”
Manchester United fan and finance manager Kishore Jukhoop was leading the Queensway Group (Tune Hotels) team who he said were “very competitive”.
But this did not translate to goals and the team only won one of their matches.
In contrast the players from Canary Wharf Group ’s security team smashed home nine goals in the initial round of games, only conceding one.
They beat PKF1 3-1 in the quarters but ultimately were knocked out by Bupa in the semis. Team captain Glenn Jenkins, 31, played in goal and said: “It’s a brilliant event and should happen more often.”
Previous champions Trinity Mirror Solutions also found success early on winning their first three games. Captain Sam Irvine said: “Our tactic is to score more than the other team and to try and nutmeg them.”
They beat Millwall Youth Seniors 3-1 in the first game but then conceded to them 0-2 in their second meeting.
Millwall went on to take on Bupa in the grand final and lift the trophy after beating them 3-1.
As well as the silverware they won a night out courtesy of Sports Bar And Grill and their player Gary Moore was named Player Of The Tournament and took home a Big Man Box from BoroughBox.
Goalkeeper Darren Wade said: “It’s our first time playing in the cup. We came along because it’s for a good cause and it has been a fantastic evening.
“The whole team enjoyed it and the final was a good game and played nicely with no trouble.”
The launch captain for Canary Wharf Group joined the team in 2006 and said they were “very pleased” to have won the trophy which is now proudly displayed in Saint John’s Community Centre on the Isle of Dogs.
George Pye, who set up the team in 1952, said he was very proud of the players for their victory.
Other winners on the night were in the charity raffle with donated prizes including an overnight stay at Tune Hotels Canary Wharf, a £50 bar tab for Smollensky’s Canary Wharf, a Family River Roamer Voucher from Thames Clippers, two adult memberships from Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, a £40 voucher for Burger and Lobster Canary Wharf, an enhanced health assessment from Bupa, a complimentary new patient dental check up including x-ray from Bupa and a complimentary invisalign consultation from Bupa.
Click above for our gallery of photographs from the night.
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