High Peak football league makes successful return
Monday 11th September 2017 13:43 High Peak News Sports Posted by Adam Higgins

There was lots of positive energy in the air as the High Peak Junior Football League (HPJFL) made a welcome return last Sunday (September 10).

It represented the start of the second season for the first mini soccer league in the borough and the opening weekend was deemed a huge success by the committee.

Jon Matthews, chair of the league, told the Chronicle: “It was a fantastic occasion and I was so chuffed as usual. The weather wasn’t the greatest but we couldn’t have hoped for any better in terms of how everything went.

“When speaking to all the committee members and posting on social media to deliver the usual eulogies about the HPJFL, the word I found myself repeatedly using was ‘wow’.

“You could see the enjoyment on the children’s faces. I was able to step away to grab a cup of coffee and know that everything was fine.

“The young referees also deserve a mention. Last season, it was easy for people to criticise referees but it shows how far they have come.

“Yesterday afternoon, I received lots of positive remarks about how well the referees did including one from Hayfield Juniors Under 7s who were playing their first competitive game and said the referee really helped them to learn the rules which was great to hear.”

Enjoyment: The league attracts a number of local teams every week throughout the season, which ends with a cup finals day

The league launched last year and was the brainchild of several local amateur football volunteers who wanted to reduce travel time for all those involved and provide a hub for the games to take place.

It now has 300 local children and 27 teams registered to play every Sunday morning from 8:45am to 1:30pm at the Glossopdale 3G on Newshaw Lane in Hadfield.

Speaking on how the HPJFL has grown since it has established, Jon explained: “I’m amazed at what we’ve achieved as a committee and a league in just over 12 months. We’re a great team and everyone does their bit to get the end result.

“It was a learning experience for everyone last season as we got used to it and that experience gained from last year can really help us to move on this season.

“It’s very pleasing that we’ve been able to expand the Under 8s and welcome the Under 10s this year – it was always our aim to bring as many High Peak teams as possible to the league.

“The fact that teams from outside the High Peak have also taken an interest shows the success we’ve had and we’re delighted to welcome Stalybridge Celtic Under 8s and Tameside Juniors Under 9s and Under 10s.”

Clubs from across the High Peak – including Glossop, Hayfield, Tintwistle and Chapel – are signed up to the league, which is affiliated by Derbyshire County Football Association.

Off to a good start: The first round of games ran smoothly as the 2017/18 kicked off at the Glossopdale Astro Turf Pitch

Jon, who is also a coach at Glossop Juniors, is delighted that the HPJFL is starting to receive widespread recognition and was keen to emphasise the family feel that the league encompasses.

“The exposure the league is getting and the recognition we are receiving from further afield and from peers is really pleasing,” he said.

“People are aware of what we’re about now and feedback has been very positive. The most important thing is giving local children the vehicle to play football in a safe and fun environment but we facilitated the need that was there in the High Peak.

“But it can only be a success if everyone buys into what we’re doing and we have to thank the coaches, players, parents and referees who allow us to have the ethos we have which I feel makes the High Peak league so unique.

“This is why I love grassroots football. Seeing children enjoying themselves playing football – there is no better feeling than knowing you have been part of making it happen.”

The league, which now incorporates the full scope of junior football from under 7s to under 10s, is looking for new Under 9s teams to join.

Jon added: “We need more teams in the Under 9s age group. We have five teams at the moment and ideally need three more. We’ve had interest from some teams already and if anyone is interested, they can get in touch with me.”

You can get in touch with Jon directly by calling 07802 553655 or contact the HPJFL on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail at [email protected] for more information.

Excitement: New Mills and Tintwistle Athletic Under 9s was one of many entertaining games in the first round of fixtures