THE Mariners Community Sixes can become a regular fixture in the calendar after a fantastic maiden event.
Primary schools from across the area took their opportunity to play at Blundell Park at the first ever Sixes tournament on Saturday.
Jointly organised by Town and the Telegraph, the day attracted more than 130 young footballers, with many more parents and fans cheering them on from the stands.
Wybers Wood Academy stormed to glory in the Years 3/4 competition, while Laceby Stanford ‘A’ won a thrilling final to triumph in the Years 5/6 showdown.
Town’s community manager Graham Rodger and his Football in the Community staff were on hand to ensure the smooth running of the event.
He remarked: “It was an outstanding first ever Mariners Community Sixes!
“I really enjoyed it, so I would like to think that the young people who came, competed and participated must have had a fantastic day out.
“The youngsters – along with the parents and governors who came and supported them – were an absolute credit to each and every school that attended.
“The chance to play at Blundell Park meant the world to those kids.
“I didn’t see any bad tackles or dissent and I thought everybody conducted themselves at the highest level.
“And some of the skills and ability I saw out there from players aged years 3/4 and 5/6 was astonishing – I think we need to be contacting some of the schools and getting their details!”
Rodger hopes that the Sixes will return next year – giving more primary schools the chance to sample the Blundell Park experience. “I’d be really disappointed now if this didn’t continue on an annual basis,” he added.
“After having 16 teams involved the first year, I’d like to see a steady increase over the coming years.
“I’d love for this to become a permanent fixture in the calendar – it’s just about fitting it in with Town matches and play-off games at the end of the season.
“But with the response and showing we had on Saturday – and the overall participation and enjoyment of everyone who attended – it is something that we need to do every year.”
To cap off a wonderful day, Mariners stars Craig Disley and Shaun Pearson were present to award the trophies and medals in the Main Stand’s ‘Royal’ box.
“To have two first-team players come down and give up their time at the end of the season just goes to show what superb attitudes those two in particular have,” said Rodger.
“The whole squad have supported the community scheme so well and the manager is very good at backing that.
“Also, our thanks to the Grimsby Telegraph who devised it, supported it, and generated such interest in the event.
“Everyone at the club has really got behind it and we even had staff come in who weren't working!
“It’s caught our imagination – and it looked like everyone left with big smile on their faces.”