England Colleges Women could not retain their ‘Il Cacio E Rosa’ trophy from the inaugural tournament in 2019 as they narrowly lost out to Moldova in the group stage.
In the final Moldova played Kosovo, winners of the adjacent group, and the game finished 3-1 in Kosovo’s favour.
The England Colleges squad was made up of the best college players from across the further education sector and under the guidance of coach Keith Boanas, produced some excellent performance against top opponents.
They played Italian sides Grifone Gialloverde and Abruzzo as well as Moldova, scoring 14 goals in total and only conceding three.
The England Colleges (ECFA) side easily beat Grifone Gialloverde 7-1 in the opening game of the tour.
They led 4-1 at the break with a brace from Eve Blakey, Caitlin Chapman and Jenny Hesketh with the pick of the goals. Joint player of the match awards went to Hesketh and Megan Farrell.
The second match also finished with a comfortable 6-1 victory against Abruzzo. Leading 2-1 at half-time thanks to Mia Adaway and Hannah Coote, substitute Eve Blakey added two further goals, including a penalty. Katie Godden and Abbey Hateley rounded off the scoring on an excellent day for England Colleges.
The final group game encounter against Moldova on the penultimate day of the tournament was the most challenging yet. However, the England side acquitted themselves extremely well against a side who were well drilled. The players fought well for every ball before conceding a late free-kick and going down 1-0 to the Moldovans.
Player of the match was Tyne Met College’s and Durham WFC’s Grace Ayre, while Maisy Collis of SGS College and Bristol City was awarded player of the tournament.
Head Coach Keith Boanas said: “The girls were incredible up against the new rules of the competition where every team had players in their twenties. The Moldovans fielded a team with 10 players from the age of 22, including two of the maximum age of 25.
“However, the players’ self-belief, attitude and approach never changed individually and collectively. Proud is a massive understatement.
“Without doubt this group have grown over the year and this trip created a special bond that will live long in the memory and enhance their careers.”
Other successes included Caitlin Chapman’s post tour call up to the Northern Ireland U-19 squad, following her performances and reference from Head Coach, Boanas.