Hartpury seek glory on five fronts
HARTPURY College's Junior Academy football team will be bidding to reach the final of the England School's FA Colleges Under-18 Trophy this afternoon.
They play Stanmore College at Barnet's training ground (2pm kick-off), with either Hopwood Hall College or Sunderland College waiting in the final, which will be staged at Fleetwood Town's Highbury Stadium.
Former Stoke midfielder Ollie Hopwood, 18, has been outstanding in the competition with ex-Millwall youngster Harry Fenner, 16, being the top scorer of the competition for Paul Tassell's Hartpury team so far, with six goals in four matches.
They thrashed Wiltshire College at home 5-0 in the opening round before being given a major examination by Cirencester College away in round two.
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Goals from Fenner, Joe Parker (2) and Charlie Russell edged them through 4-3 against a team coached by former Hartpury student Will Morford.
Hartpury cruised past Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College 6-0 in the third round, with Fenner firing a hat-trick. Parker, Josh Poole and Chris Hicks were also on target.
The fourth round clash with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College was not played by the required date, so Hartpury progressed to the quarter-finals by default, where they eased to a 4-1 win over Milton Keynes College.
Fenner scored two with former Cardiff City youth team player Lewis Binns and Rob Panting also on target.
Hartpury's Junior Academy are chasing glory on five fronts this year and the Under-19s play Birmingham Met College, also this afternoon.
But Tassell said that after a wait for success in the Under-18 competition, that is the priority.
"We won it in 2008 and 2009, but we haven't won it since," he said. "We've won the Under-19s five out of the last six years, but we have put more of an onus on the Under-18s this season than we have in the past."
If Hartpury can achieve success in all five competitions, they will be the first and only institution to do so.
The different organisations are merging next year, which will streamline the amount of competitions.
The other titles they are chasing are the English Colleges Cup, the British Colleges National Colleges League and the England Colleges National Premier League.
"This is a huge competition for us and to reach the last four is great," Tassell said.
"We are on the cusp of achieving something amazing and today is pivotal to our hopes of winning all five pieces of silverware."
HARTPURY: (from) A Herbert, A Woods, M Coombes, O Hopwood, D Haile, J Poole (c), C Hicks, H Osborne, R Panting, J Parker, L Binns, J Kewley, H Fenner, C Russell, A Parrott.