A GROUP of youngplayers proved football is the global game when they welcomed counterparts from America for a match in Dorchester.

Dorchester Raiders Under 12s beat the North Kitsap Comets from Washington State 1-0 in the clash at the Avenue Stadium.

Will Turnbull got the final touch from a long range strike by Billy Moore to claim the winner 10 minutes into the second half.

Former Dorchester man Pip Thompson, who now lives in Poulsbo, North Kitsap, brought the Comets to the county town for the match during a two-week tour.

Members of the 65-strong party of players, families and dignitaries were among the crowd of 170 watching the game.

They included Pip’s old coach Derek Rossiter, 75, of Dorchester, who managed him in the Broadmayne youth side.

Derek said: “It was the first time I have seen Pip for 20 years. It was great to see him. He was always a good lad.”

Derek, whose brother-in-law Nigel Whitefield managed the Dorchester team at the same time, was also joined by former team mates of Pip from years ago.

Former Thomas Hardye pupil Pip said: “I was really excited about being back.

“I know all of the families of our players really well. They are like family and friends so it was good to have this opportunity to bring them back home to show them where I grew up.”

The American party was taken on a guided tour of Dorchester by town crier Alistair Chisholm before the game at the Avenue Stadium and enjoyed a post match reception held by mayor Susie Hosford.

Parents and sponsors accompanied the team as well as two youngsters and their headteacher from a village in Tanzania which the American community has links with.

They included bakers Marion and Loretta Sluys who gave the team $50,000 backing. Mr Sluys said: “It is wonderful to be here and is all about the boys. It is an experience of a lifetime and one which they will never forget.”

Coun Hosford and Pip’s mother Sue Thompson, of Dorchester, were the links for the trip. The team played Moretonville Rovers and Moretonville Rangers in Buckingham – winning both matches – before the game against Dorchester Raiders.

The team stayed in Dorchester hotels before heading up to London to take in Fulham’s Europa League clash against Wolfsburg tomorrow and heading home in early April.

Coun Hosford said: “It was great to have them here. It has been a wonderful visit.”

Pip, 41, who is married to former Broad mayne resident Carolyn with two sons Will, 12, and Jack, nine, hopes to bring another team, the Asteroids, across in two years.