National tournament win for town brigade

Firefighters from the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have won a national five-a-side football tournament. Pictured bottom row, second and third from left, are Matt Bland and Darren McAvinue, of Harrogate's red watch.
Firefighters from the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have won a national five-a-side football tournament. Pictured bottom row, second and third from left, are Matt Bland and Darren McAvinue, of Harrogate's red watch.
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FIREFIGHTERS from Harrogate have won a national football tournament for the first time in the brigade’s history.

A squad of players representing North Yorkshire, including two firefighters from Harrogate Red Watch, took part in a national five-a-side tournament on March 24.

Matt Bland, 29, and Darren McAvinue, 30, competed in the final in Birmingham, beating 13 teams to take the top title.

The eight-strong squad had qualified after competing in regional heats in Darlington in January, wearing a kit sponsored by Harrogate restaurant The Park.

Manager Mr Bland, from Ripon, said: “It was a fantastic achievement for the North Yorkshire Fire Service as it is the first time in the brigade’s history that we have won the national five-a-side competition.

“The lads should be very proud of this achievement. Maybe the new kit has been a lucky omen for us today.”

Mr McAvinue, from Huddersfield, added: “After three games we were down and out but we showed a lot of heart and character to recover and we fully deserved this victory.”

The team had travelled to Birmingham for the final, which was a closely contested affair against local rivals Cleveland but North Yorkshire eventually secured a 3-1 win.