Loyalties were divided recently as staff from Sanctuary Group, one of the UK’s leading housing providers, locked horns with local organisations in a 5-a-side football competition at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford.
The tournament was organised for all organisations providing support for the 2010 IBSA World Blind Football Championship which took place at the RNC from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd August.
A total of six teams took part in the competition and were placed in two groups of three, with the top two sides from each progressing to the semi-finals.
Sanctuary were drawn in Group A and in their first match took on Hereford Council. After storming into a two-goal lead Sanctuary looked set for victory but Hereford fought back and two late strikes sealed a 2-2 draw and rescued a point.
Despite the setback, Sanctuary entered their second game against England Coaches in high hopes and a fine solo strike helped guide the side to a 1-0 victory and cement their position as group winners.
In the semi-finals Sanctuary faced Cargill’s and a breathtaking performance saw the team storm to an emphatic 4-0 victory. Facing tournament favourites Hereford United in the final, Sanctuary were unable to find a way past their opponents and despite their best efforts eventually succumbed to a 4-0 defeat.
Neil Hirons, Sanctuary financial planning manager and captain for the day, said: “It was a fantastic gesture from the World Championship organisors to invite us to compete in such an event. The facilities and organisation were excellent and despite not winning the cup we all thoroughly enyoyed taking part. The highlight of the day was during the second game when the electronic scoreboard read Sanctuary 1 England 0!”
Tony King, Sanctuary’s Group Director – Capital Investment, added: “Events like this allow local organisations to network in a relaxed environment and help strengthen community relations so Sanctuary was delighted to be involved. The Championship has been a fantastic event and we now look forward to continuing our support for the RNC and building on the strong local links we have established in Hereford.”