Close to 600 people attended Mousehole’s Trungle Parc in Paul on Sunday for a celebration day to mark the launch of the club’s new Academy and Youth Development Programme and the re-opening of the refurbished pitch and facilities.

Spectators were treated to six hours of football which started off in wind-swept rainy conditions with a series of mini-games played by The Seagulls’ newly-created youth teams.  The centrepiece of the afternoon was a full-scale game between Mousehole’s First team and Leeds United’s youngsters, during which the weather helpfully relented.  And the day’s events concluded in bright sunshine with a 7-a-side ‘legends’ tournament between Mousehole, Leeds United, Cornish Veterans and RNLI.

Arriving on Saturday, the Leeds squad held an open coaching session in the afternoon at Mounts Bay Academy and were invited on to the Penlee Lifeboat in Newlyn Harbour on Sunday morning.

The visitors’ talented teenagers, playing in their club’s traditional all-white colours and in front of a large contingent of Leeds supporters travelling down for the weekend from Yorkshire as well as many located in the south west, won the match 5-1 with an impressive exhibition of ball control, passing, movement and athleticism.

But they did not have it all their own way.  After falling behind 3-0 within 15 minutes, Mousehole started to play the confident football they are capable of and came close on several occasions before conceding a penalty just before half time.  The biggest cheer of the afternoon came on 80 minutes for the hosts’ solitary goal when Yeshe Briar’s superb cross from the right was nodded down by Matt McIlroy for Paolo Sousa to touch in from close range.  A further Leeds goal in the last minute put paid to any chance of Mousehole ‘winning’ the second half.  The game proved to be very competitive and a useful test for the young Mousehole squad, who had unfortunately lost Liam Andrew with a broken nose after an accidental collision during the warm up.

A Leeds United team then made it a ‘double’, with ‘legends’ goalkeeper Neil Sullivan picking up the trophy after his side won all their games in the round-robin 7-a-side tournament.

In their programme notes, Mousehole AFC advisor Ezra Chapman wrote:  “How incredible that Leeds United agreed to send their talented starlets – as well as some of their ‘legends’ – all the way down here to mark a milestone in our club’s journey.  We have a 5-year plan to develop the club in a sustainable manner: on the playing side by focussing on youth and nurturing talent through modern coaching methods, and by improving the club’s infrastructure both in terms of facilities and commercial opportunities”.

Visitors to Trungle Parc were impressed with the new pitch – refurbished during the summer with an £80k grant from Sport England and the National Lottery – and the new 70-seater stand, contemporary-style ‘dugouts’ and re-painted clubhouse exterior.

Photos of the new Trungle Parc and match pictures can be seen on the club Facebook Page. facebook.com/mouseholeafc

Mousehole Chairman Tim Richardson paid tribute to the dedicated group of club volunteers who helped organise the day, and to all the players who participated, adding:  “Today’s big event – which has required a huge amount of planning (and learning!) – shows what a club like ours can do.  This could be the start of similar things in the future, as plans are already in place for more big-name guests visiting over the next 12 months.”

Sunday’s occasion came a few days after Mousehole announced the appointment of Kevin Richards as new First team manager.  A club statement said:  Mousehole AFC are pleased to welcome Kevin Richards to the club’s leadership team.  An experienced and well-respected person throughout Cornish football, having previously managed Mullion, Porthleven and most recently Premier Division Godolphin Atlantic, Kevin joins a highly-qualified and ambitious coaching team to help the club realise its 5-year progression plan.  He will take responsibility for First team duties next week, reporting to Football and Academy Director Jason Blunt, while Jason will continue his development work with the younger players and be in overall charge of all football matters at the club.

Speaking enthusiastically about his new post, Camborne-based Richards had this to say:  “I am absolutely delighted to be offered the opportunity to join such an exciting adventure at Mousehole AFC.  I have already seen first-hand the work and commitment of everyone involved in this project, and I can say that I have never seen anything quite like it in Cornwall. The chance to work with a lot of people who have been friends for a long time at this football club was too good to miss, and I can’t wait to start working with the committee, the coaching staff and the players.”  The new manager was among Sunday’s crowd watching his new players in action and observed:  “There are many positive and promising signs.”

*Sunday’s ‘souvenir’ programme is available to purchase by contacting mouseholefootballprogramme@outlook.com.

*In a further strengthening of links with Leeds United, Mousehole Under-9s manager Darren Wakefield – whose team reached the semi-final of the Southampton Cup in August – will take a party of players and parents on a weekend visit to West Yorkshire on 20th October to spend time at the Leeds academy and play a game against the hosts’ under-9s side.

Mousehole’s First team travelled to Wadebridge Town on Tuesday for a South West Peninsula League Division 1 West match, and have a bye in this Saturday’s Cornwall Senior Cup 1st round.  Their next game is on Saturday 14th October – an interesting challenge when Premier Division Camelford visit Trungle Parc for a League Cup 2nd round tie, which will be the first competitive fixture on the ground this season.

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