Your Local Independent 133

LUKE Matheson skipped school in style as the 16-year-old netted a fa- mous goal for Rochdale at Old Trafford – but playing against Manchester Unit- ed was not enough to get him out of a psychology test. Rather than head to Trinity C of E High School, the talented right-back was given permission to head two-and-a-half miles up the road to play at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup third round. Matheson, who is studying for A Levels in psychology, history and sociology, was thrown in from the start and flourished under the floodlights, capping a confident performance by firing home a memora- ble leveller as Rochdale held United to a 1-1 draw. The Sky Bet League One side eventu- ally bowed out 5-3 on penalties, but the teenager was in dreamland after a night to cherish. “It’s a special, special moment,” Mathe- son said with a beaming smile. “A dream come true for anyone. “I am sure everybody dreams of scoring at a stadium like Old Trafford, a histor- ic place. “I struck it and it hit the roof of the net and my body just took over. I sprint- ed to the Dale fans and did a knee slide. I thought I was going to go down the hill. That is a special, special moment for me and everyone. “I would have been at school today. I am going in on Thursday to make up for it when we have got a day off. I have a psy- chology test, so I can’t wait for that!” Matheson’s excuse for postponing the test is as good as any. The level-headed teenager loves his studies, unlike many footballers, and is sure to be the talk of the school. “I don’t know what (being back at school) will be like,” Matheson said after the game. “I think I am going to go in a little bit late and get some sort of lie-in. I don’t think I will sleep tonight! “I go in once a week and try to go in more if possible, depending on training. It is what I have done for 10 years of my life. It is no different. I just play football a bit more now. “Education is something I am very fond of. I love it. Rochdale and the school have been so supportive of me. I love learning. It is what I want to do. Football is not a guarantee. “You never know what will happen. You could be the best player in the world, but anything is possible. I want to have that back-up plan just in case.” Matheson, who grew up in Manchester but is a Norwich supporter like his dad, certainly looks like he has the potential to reach the top based on his showing at Old Trafford. United and Liverpool are already re- ported to be interested in the 16-year-old, but Rochdale – and completing his educa- tion – is his focus right now. “You always want to play in front of the fans for the team you play for – whether that’s in front of the Rochdale fans at the Crown Oil Arena or in front of United fans at Old Trafford,” he added. “It doesn’t reallymake a difference tome personally as long as I am making them happy and putting on performances they want to see, that’s all I can really ask for. “You know, I am only 16. You never know. Touch wood, hopefully I’ll have a long playing career. “Who that’s (playing) for, I don’t know. I am looking forward to what the fu- ture holds.” MORE than 200 people attended the prestigious awards ceremony cele- brating the achievements of amazing people, clubs and organisations working in sport and culture across Rochdale borough over the last 12 months. Taking place at Middleton Arena, with Rochdale’s very- own star of stage and screen, Sue Devaney, as the guest host for the evening, a total of 16 awards were presented on the night to celebrate the rich diversity of skill, dedication and commitment shown day- to-day by local people. Nominees attending on the night had been shortlisted from the wide range of pub- lic votes submitted. A panel of independent judges had the difficult task of selecting one winner in each category and all judges commented on the fantastic achievements of nominees over the past 12 months which did not make their job an easy one. The full list of winners was as follows: Artist of the Year: Harry Meadley Changing Lifestyles Recognition: Gordon Aaron Volunteer/Coach of the Year: Elham Afzal Community and Education Project: Rochdale Connections Trust – Sandretto Community Club of the Year: Rochdale Hornets Sporting Foundation Cultural Champion: Janet Emsley Cultural Event of the Year: Rachel Kneebone Dance Project Culture and Health Award: Skylight Circus Arts Young Sports Achiever of the Year: Peter Reilly-Day Cultural Facilitator of the Year: Natalie Warren and Donna Kershaw School Commitment to PE & Sports: Holy Family RC Primary School School Commitment to Arts, Heritage and Culture: St Andrew’s C of E Primary School Initiative of the Year: GM Walking Football Unsung Hero: Mohammed Sheraz Workforce Advocate: Shirley Waller Young Creative Award: Imogen Holt and Eleanor Shaw (joint winners) Winners from sports cate- gories are now invited to the Greater Manchester sports awards event where sports winners from the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs come together to recognise the achievements and dedication towards physical activity and sport across the County and crown the Greater Manches- ter champions. Andy King, Chief Execu- tive at Link4Life, the inde- pendent charity behind the awards, said: “We’re really proud to have hosted these awards again this year and it was a fantastic night, help- ing to shine a light on the heroes of sport and culture in this region. “We think it’s really im- portant to celebrate the fantastic contribution that local people, clubs and or- ganisations make and all of this year’s nominees deserve a huge amount of credit for their efforts. “Sport and culture have the power to bring commu- nities together and it’s clear that all of this year’s winners have been doing just that – they should all be really proud of their achievements and our congratulations go to all of them.” If you know an inspira- tional individual, club, school or organisation, make sure you nominate them for next year’s awards when nomina- tions open early in 2020. DARREN Edmondson has been named as Rochdale AFC’s new Head of Acade- my Coaching. Edmondson takes over the role fromRick Ashcroft, who has left Dale to join a Premier League club. The 46-year-old has most recently been at Carlisle United, where he was acade- my manager. Edmondson is a former professional foot- baller, who started his career at theCumbri- ans and went on to make over 200 appear- ances for them during a seven-year spell. He also played for Huddersfield Town, Plymouth Argyle, York City, Chester City, Barrow and Workington Town during a 23- year career. In addition, he managed Barrow for a near two-year stint, leading them to the National League North title during the 2014/15 season. “I’m really excited,” said Edmondson. “We have a young manager here who has a great enthusiasm to take the football club forward with youth at the core of it. From a youth team and an Academy point of view, it is great to see a football club that is ready and is accepting of youth and wants to put them and let them do what they can do. It’s what other clubs should aspire to be. “I’ve watched a couple of Academy train- ing sessions already and the enthusiasm is excellent. There’s already a lot of good detail being given players which is great, and it obviously makes my job a lot easier. “Rick, who was doing the job previously, has got a good structure in place already. I’m looking carry on the good work that Rick has been doing and then put my stamp onto things.” AQUABEAR swimmer Lucy Cannavan, of Alkrington, won gold in a nail-biting final during the 200m indi- vidual medley final of Swim England’s biggest domestic swimming event, the Na- tional Summer Meet. Lucy, a student at Cardi- nal Langley RC High School, placed first in the race at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge Inter- national Sports Centre, which sees swimmers compete in all four strokes (butterfly, back- stroke, breaststroke, and free- style) in one race. Less than half a second separated the top three in the race, with Lucy clock- ing 2:24.14 for gold, with the bronze medallist just 0.42s be- hind her. Her coach, Ryan Manches- ter, said: “I have enjoyed work- ing with Lucy; she is a hard worker and has a lot of poten- tial going forward.” Lucy also qualified for the 50m, 100m, and 200m breast- stroke finals in the British Summer Championships at the end of July. Her strongest finish was fourth in the 200m breaststroke with a fabulous personal best. The 15-year-old has an in- teresting year ahead with sitting her GCSE’s and swim- ming, but she remains com- mitted to the sport. Lucy began swimming at the age of 12, after seeing how much her younger broth- er enjoyed competing and has gone on to shine in the sport, winning medals in var- ious championships includ- ing the ASA North Region- al Championships. The next ranked swimmers at Swim England affiliated clubs – or those who have cho- sen to be ranked as an English swimmer – are invited to com- pete at the Nationals. Lucy strikes gold Awards celebrate inspirational people Matheson goes back to school after dream Old Trafford goal Rochdale’s Luke Matheson (right) celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the Carabao Cup, Third Round match at Old Trafford Edmondson is newHead of Academy Darren Edmondson 32 October 2019 Follow us on facebook: yourlocalindependent SPORT