When Constellar turned up at Arsenal's Highbury Stadium for the Computer Weekly Five-A-Side Challenge last week, from the outset they played as if they thought their name was on the cup.
And by the end it was. Constellar walked away with the trophy after a hard fought 2-1 victory over Generic in a final that looked as if it was destined to go all the way to nail-biting penalties.
Constellar had qualified for the final after romping through their final round-robin group, while Generic had a similar clear victory in their play-off group. That left the pundits nodding sagely, and predicting a final between Calanais - better known to many under their old name Scottish Power - and Constellar. Constellar saw off Salmon, but Generic upset the form book, edging out the former tournament winners to ensure that a new name would go on the trophy.
Other teams that excelled, in addition to the four semi-finalists, were final group qualifiers Interplay, Superdrug, Digital, Brake Bros, Prosolve, and Red Cats.
The tournament shocks came in the group stages, where serial contenders Scott Edgar, and last year's winners QSP failed to qualify. But those in the know suggested that the Gateshead team had still made the most of their "weekend" trip to London from the North-East.
Calanais had some consolation for their semi-final disappointment when Neil McLure produced a Patrick Kluivert-like Euro 2000 goalscoring performance, with a hat-full of goals to win Player of the Tournament.
Gary Bramhall of Littlewoods won the draw for the Dreamcast console offered by Sega, while Geoff Busby of the BCS Disability Group received a cheque for over £4,000 from the proceeds of last year's event.
The event is again expected to raise thousands of pounds for three charities - the Arsenal Charitable Trust, BCS Disability Group, and a new beneficiary this year, the British Heart Foundation.
Thanks again to all our sponsors: Scott Edgar - who's Dave Millhouse did a great job running the event - Bull, Apex, Computer Associates, and first time sponsors this year, Insight.
Thanks also go to Sega, who provided the competition prize and a number of Dreamcast "Pods" at Highbury, Arsenal's Ray Coventry for organising match-day fixtures, and Tim Holton of Computer Associates, Martin Chasten from Bull, Ian Stewart from the British Heart Foundation, and Geoff Busby from the BCS Disability Group for their attendance at the finals.
See you again next year.
Roll of honour
|Winner||Constellar||(trophy provided by Scott Edgar)|
|Runner-up||Generic||(trophy provided by Scott Edgar)|
|3rd place||Calanais||(trophy provided by Computer Associates)|
|4th place||Salmon||(trophy provided by Insight)|
|Player of the tournament||Neil McLure||(Calanais)|
For a full list of results visit the tournament Web site