YOUNG footballers from Hexham Porto have returned from an end of season trip to Holland.

The U11s took part in the Arnhem Bridge Cup, competing against teams from the host country, as well as others from various parts of the UK, including Bath, Wiltshire and Nottingham Forest’s development side.

Playing in hot weather conditions, the boys won two and drew two of their seven games, over two days.

Mark Gradwell, who coaches Hexham Porto alongside Lee Milton, said: “We had a fantastic experience playing against a variety of teams, including the local host team VDZ Arnhem.

“The weather was kind but it was very hot conditions for the boys. There were also a few changes to the rules, so it took a little bit of time for them to become acclimatised.

“But once they got settled in, they played some good football and scored some impressive goals.”

Hexham Porto’s best performances came on day two, when they won their group, and a plate trophy.

Mark added: “We were in a tough group on the first day, and that saw us finish on the wrong end of three defeats and a draw, when we deserved much more.

“But it was a much better second day, and the boys drew one and won two of the matches.”

The Pinpoint Junior League team are used to playing nine-a-side matches, but adapted their style for the seven-a-side tournament in Holland.

The trip followed an impressive season for the team, which won the Northumberland FA West Youth Division U11 Cup in April.

Mark added: “We thought it would be a good experience to go abroad, and we had a great time.

“We flew to Amsterdam and stayed at the De Eemhof Center Parcs. Parents came with us and there was a wonderful atmosphere.”

The tournament was a fitting farewell for Samuel Davison, who is leaving Hexham Porto to join Carlisle United’s academy.

Hexham Porto raised £4,500 for the Holland trip after taking part in various fund-raising activities over a 12-month period.

This included a sponsored walk, a supermarket bag pack, cake stalls and other events.

The squad of 10 players who travelled were: James Craig, Hugh Ballantyne, Ben Brownless, Tom Storey, Taylor Milton, Max Gradwell, Samuel Davison, Cameron Hardy, Campbell Edward and Ryan Macneil.