Hedinghams United Under 12s (Hawks) have emerged victorious from a Facebook vote to win the Essex County FA 2018/19 Fair Play Awards, with Hullbridge Sports Under 16s finishing second and Epping Town FC’s Daniel Garfinkle claiming third place.
United went head-to-head against eventual runners-up Hullbridge in a live poll which ended on Wednesday 26th June. They’ve now won a prize of £700 worth of kit and equipment vouchers, with Hullbridge receiving £500 and Epping Town £300. The poll attracted 1,766 votes, with Hedinghams edging-out Hullbridge by 52% to 48%.
Throughout the season, anyone who witnessed exceptional acts of sportsmanship at a match has been encouraged to put individuals or teams forward for each month’s competition. Nominees were then whittled down into an open vote between two finalists each month, culminating in an end-of-season contest, with votes being cast at www.facebook.com/EssexFootball.
The County FA aim to promote admirable conduct and celebrate the best elements of the game, encouraging them in all formats of youth and adult football. Hedinghams and Hullbridge were selected by a panel to progress to the 2019 final. Hedinghams won April’s monthly award having staged a guard of honour for their league-winning opponents ahead of a cup semi-final.
Hullbridge, meanwhile, were winners in November as their parents went the extra yard to praise an opposition goalkeeper who had put in an outstanding performance. Garfinkle claimed the prize in September when he denied himself the opportunity of scoring an open goal, kicking the ball out of play so the injured goalkeeper could receive treatment.
Stephen Parsons, Hedinghams United Under 12s (Hawks) Manager, reacted: “The boys and supporters are over the moon with winning this award! We have had a great relationship with Tiptree Jobserve and their Manager, Ben Elmer, for a long time now and they had been crowned Division One league champions.”
“They are the team to look up to in our division so we found it to be the right thing to do. We would also like to congratulate Hullbridge Sports Under 16s for making the final two. We believe it is very important to maintain high standards of conduct in grassroots football, and life in general, for everyone involved with our team, and as a club.”
“I would like to think we are known for fair play and sportsmanship. Since we started at Under 7s level, we have won, and come runners-up in, sportsmanship awards in the Blackwater & Dengie Youth League. With the prize vouchers we’ll look to invest in new training equipment, kit and jackets for the boys. Also, we hope to get a little something for the rest of our youth teams.”
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Hedinghams United Under 12s (Hawks) (nominated by Ben Elmer)
“Hedinghams provided a guard of honour for Tiptree Jobserve Under 12s after they won the league. Ahead of their semi-final in the Knockout Cup, United lined-up and clapped the Tiptree Jobserve squad onto the pitch, showing fantastic fair play from their team and manager.”
Hullbridge Sports Under 16s (nominated by Simon Silva-Peake)
“My son’s team were losing 1-0 with eight minutes to play and scored twice to get a deserved win. What really impressed me was the sportsmanship from the coaches, players and parents of Hullbridge. My son plays in goal and he played amazingly, making a dozen or so really good saves. Each time he did, the parents applauded him and, with one save, a player from Hullbridge went over to him after the shot and shook his hand. At full time, despite losing, every player went and congratulated him. Then the two coaches from Hullbridge made a point of telling him how good he was and then the parents all shook his hand as well. Things like this don’t happen enough and, at Under 16s level, full of teenage attitude, this was amazing to see, especially as they had lost.”
Daniel Garfinkle, Epping Town FC (nominated by Billy Cove)
"0-3 up, we are on the attack. Their ‘keeper makes a save but collides with the post and goes down injured... we have an open goal... Epping Town forward @danielgarfinkle stops the ball, turns around and kicks it out for a throw-in so the ‘keeper can get some treatment."