The Son Rise Cup: what an emotionally and physically draining experience it was. And that’s just for the parents and spectators!

Seriously, though, the players of Lydford Foxes can be rightly proud of their performance in their first ever tournament. We entered the cup with low expectations and while we came away with a clear idea of how we can improve, we certainly put up a great fight.

Yes, there were games in which we were overrun, but equally there were games in which we matched teams with years more experience and a larger squad of players. With a little bit of luck, we might have come away with more points.

What are the lasting memories of the tournament, aside from the torrential rain that greeted us on Saturday morning?

Firstly, there’s no short of effort, endeavour and team spirit. The foundations are there for a successful club – it’s now up to the coaching staff to develop the skills that will enable the Foxes to compete in future tournaments.

Secondly, we played with a smile. Aside from a few exceptions, the players seemed to enjoy the experience of playing proper, competitive football. We must retain this sense of enjoyment over the coming years.

Thirdly, we have players who could go on to great things. Like any club, we’re taking a long term view of player development, but there’s no reason not to believe that we will be a match for local teams in the near future.

Thank you to all the players for putting on a great display at the Son Rise Cup and to the parents and staff for their unwavering support throughout the day. The cheer at the final whistle of the Under 12s’ nil-nil draw could be heard in Okehampton.

So, what happens next?

In short: we’re preparing for the 2017-18 season. We will be affiliated with the Devon FA by the end of June and hope to enter a number of teams in the Devon Junior & Minor League.

We have until June 12 to confirm our entry requirements for the new season and then until seven days prior to the start of the season to register our players.

We’re also bolstering our coaching staff and will be recruiting referees from within the village for when visiting teams arrive in Lydford next season.

Leaflets and posters have been distributed locally as we look to bolster our numbers. We’ve already welcomed four new players to the fold and hope to add more over the coming weeks.

We’re also lining up more competitive friendlies and are looking into other tournaments across Devon. Other ideas in the pipeline include an ‘open day’ for local talent and our own 5-aside tournament. Put it this way: we’re not stopping for the summer!

The future is certainly bright, but there are one or two caveats.

To date, we have been running the club ‘for free’, not charging for our sessions. In order to grow and to purchase the equipment required for the new season, we will be introducing fees. We’re still working on the structure, but we intend to keep the prices as low as possible, while ensuring we have sufficient income to maintain a sustainable club.

With this in mind, if you haven’t paid for the Son Rise Cup entry, please pay on Saturday. Thank you.

We’re also looking for donations for us to purchase new footballs. From 24 size four training balls a fortnight ago, we’re down to half a dozen, which isn’t ideal when you have 30 players on your books.

At this stage, may we request that you either donate some money to the club, or purchase a ball from Amazon, eBay, Sports Direct, or the like. If it’s a size four training ball, we can use it! Thank you.

Lots of work is going on behind the scenes, but the real action happens at Lydford Sports Field on a Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. We have a terrific bunch of lads and lasses, now it’s time to build a terrific club.

Come on you Foxes!

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