On an emotional day and despite the inclement weather the first charity football match for the Ross Smith Foundation was a huge success.
The charity, which has been set up by family and friends of Ross Smith who died at the age of 27 after a nine month battle with an aggressive form of liver cancer, held the event at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.
Under difficult conditions both the Clifton Rangers (team of 1994 which Ross played for) and Brighouse Old Boys provided a superb match for the 200 plus spectators.
Dave Kerridge (aided by Karl Rutter) who managed the Clifton team in the 1990’s commented on how proud he was of his players and also the lads from Brighouse who played the match in an excellent spirit.
“Most of the Clifton lads had not played in a competitive match for over 10 years but were determined to turn out and give a performance that Ross would be proud of and they did not disappoint against a well drilled Brighouse Old Boys Team,” said Mr Kerridge, who is a trustee of the foundation.
“Ross was also well known to the opposition having played for them for a couple of seasons.
“We would also like to thank Phil Garbe for organising the playing facilities and the referee Ian Parker who did a great job.”
“All the players and spectators truly enjoyed the occasion and this is now set to be an annual match.”
It seemed fitting that Ross’s brother Matt who captained the Clifton team was first on the score sheet, beating the keeper from the penalty spot and giving his team an instant lift. After a controlling period of play, Clifton went further ahead mid way through the first half through Stuart Kirk, who flew in from the USA to play.
Brighouse started brightly in the second half and were soon on equal terms with good finishes from Andy Burton and Matthew Roy. Although Clifton showed glimpses of skillful play they began to tire, which was only to be expected and Burton sealed the win for Brighouse from the penalty spot in the closing stages of the match.
The winning team was presented with a magnificent cup provided by Ross’s mum Jayne and both teams received medals.
Afterwards everyone went to the Old Pond, who provided food and shelter to dry off.
A staggering £1000 was raised on the day and Ross’ mum Jayne said: “I am overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. The next charity event will be a gala dinner on the September 20 2014 at the Brighouse Sports Club.”