Next generation are first champions

By David Watters

One of EVO-STIK League Matlock Town's two teams in the Northern Premier League Football Academy have booked their place in this season's NPLFA Grand Final after winning their championship.

Matlock Town (White) were confirmed as CHRYSO Division winners on Wednesday following their 3-1 away victory at Radcliffe, a brace from Luke Day and Lucas Brough sealing their place in this season's final at Leek Town's Harrison Park on Friday 11 May.

The next generation of Gladiators stars at the DCJ Group Insurance Arena will face JOMA Division title rivals Warrington Town (Yellows) or Mickleover Sports (Reds) in Derbyshire next month to determine who becomes the 2018 NPLFA Champions and lifts the Jordan Burndred Memorial Trophy.

The trophy, pictured, was presented for the first time last season to honour the memory of Leek Town NPLFA student Jordan Burndred who died in tragic circumstances in 2016 while on holiday with his family in Turkey aged 17.

The champions, pictured, were congratulated by the NPLFA's coaches on their success in a statement on the ground-breaking academy's website after securing the title and their chance to collect more silverware.

A spokesperson said: "Congratulations to Matlock Town White. It has been a superb season for the young Gladiators winning eleven out of eleven."

Leek Town were also congratulated on Wednesday after Jessy Bavanganga became the 32nd NPLFA student to graduate to first team football when he came on as a second half substitute in the club's EVO-STIK League South derby win at Newcastle Town on Monday night.

The NPLFA was founded with the backing of the Football Association at five pilot clubs in September 2014 to provide career pathways into the football industry with youngsters studying on two year BTEC courses.

Still the only league-wide academy in English football combining sport with education and now expanded to 12 members clubs, the NPLFA welcomed its fourth intake of students this season while launching a new higher education partnership with Loughborough University so students could continue their studies to degree level within the Northern Premier League.

For further details and information on the football education programme, visit or contact them at

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