by Harry Besett
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union Wildcats faced off against the Craftsbury Academy Chargers this past Wednesday in the inaugural OSSU Derby.
In England a Derby refers to two teams from the same city or area that are playing each other. The O.S.S.U. sister schools took this idea and collaborated to create a friendly rivalry and an annual event to celebrate the district’s student athletes, good sportsmanship, and community support. An added incentive for the match is getting to take home the “Reigning O.S.S.U. Derby Champions” cup trophy for the remainder of the school year.
Before the match, the four seniors from Craftsbury Academy and two captains of Hazen Union made a joint statement introducing the event and highlighting sportsmanship, as well as recognizing the two referees for the match, Mike Clark and Tom Stames, graduates of Hazen Union and Craftsbury Academy. For decades the two gentlemen have separately provided youth soccer opportunities in the Hardwick, Craftsbury, and Morrisville area and have 50 years of soccer refereeing experience between them.
Another tradition the student representatives of each team borrowed from soccer history was to exchange pennants before the match as a show of respect for the opponent. Each team designed and signed their pennant prior to the match to offer to the opponent at the coin flip.
As the game got underway, both teams fought hard until the final whistle, with a score of Hazen Union 1 – 3 Craftsbury Academy. The Chargers got to take home the Cup in the event’s first year. After the match, both teams applauded their opponent’s efforts in the game and joined together for a group photo.A replay of the event is available at hctv.us.