The annual SK Ballers Charity Christmas Cup took place on Monday 21st December, with 11 teams taking part to raise money for MIND on a cold, damp winter evening. Here’s how it went…
At the halfway point of Group A, it was apparent that qualification for the semi finals was going to come down to 4 of the 6 teams, as Holland FC and Phantom Brailians failed to pick up a point from their first three games. The McMuffin Men and Sale Madrid had taken early control of the group, with McMuffin Men beating RNE Albion Blue 1-0 in the opening game, and Sale Madrid beating Stroke Titty 3-0 in their second game. RNE remained in contention with a 1-0 win that effectively ended Stroke’s hopes, before McMuffin Men ran out surprisingly comfortable 3-0 winners over Sale to take a firm grip on the group and confirm their qualification. The second qualification spot came down to RNE and Sale, and Sale clinched their spot in the semis with a 3-1 win. All McMuffin Men had to do to top the group was avoid defeat in their final game with Stroke, and they just about did it as they played out a 1-1 draw.
1st: The McMuffin Men
2nd: Sale Madrid
Group B never seemed as straightforward, despite Buttner Ballers getting off to a flyer with a 4-0 win over Workies Bogs in the opening game. RNE Albion Purples took control with a pair of 1-0 wins, against Blue Riz and Ballers, before Blue Riz pulled off a surprise, beating fellow Tuesday league side and current Champions Deportivo La Corona 1-0 to keep themselves in the running. Workies Bogs were out after they lost their third game, 2-0 to RNE, while Ballers got back in contention with a 2-0 win over Blue Riz, which dented their chances of progressing. Deportivo found some form to shock RNE with a 2-1 win to give themselves a chance of making the semis, but they ended as they were beaten 1-0 by Ballers in the final game which saw Ballers top the group on goal difference.
1st: Buttner Ballers
2nd RNE Albion Purples
SEMI-FINALS & FINAL
Having kept things tight throughout most of their group games, it was no surprise that RNE Albion Purples were involved in a tight semi final against Group A winners The McMuffin Men. Having gone through the group stages unbeaten, McMuffin Men stumbled in their first knockout game, as RNE ran out 1-0 winners. Sale Madrid and Buttner Ballers are fairly familiar with each other, having faced off in the Monday league on a couple of occasions. Both of those full length games have resulted in draws, so we expected this to be tight, but Buttner Ballers adapted to the shorter format of the game to pick up a 2-0 win.
So to the final and it was Ballers who started the better and went 1-0 up as they attempted to reverse the result from the group stages against Purples, but they couldn’t see it out as Albion hit back to level things up and take the final to penalites. In the shootout it was Albion who held their nerve as two misses from Buttner Ballers handed them a 2-1 victory and the Christmas Cup trophy.
WINNERS: RNE ALBION PURPLES
Obviously the tournament is secondary to the money raised for charity, and we’re pleased to announce that the tournament cleared £340.18 which will be donated to MIND at the end of what has been a very difficult year for many, many people.
Many thanks to all teams who took part, and congratulations to RNE Albion Purples on their win.
A very Merry Christmas to all of our current, former and (hopefully) future customers, and here’s to brigher days ahead in 2021!