Bill Murney’s official organisers tournament report is well worth a read <here>
BADGERS UNBEATEN BUT EDGED OUT IN THE SHOOT OUT….
Limited semi-final and final footage is <here> look for more video links in the body of the report.
31/5/18 Heywood Sports Village….Alan Richards writes…
…A tremendous performance by the Senior Striders (aka the Badgers) today earned the D.W.F.G. our first ever trophy as we finished runners (walkers) up at Heywood in the GMWF Over 70’s Cup competition.
In unfamiliar heat and humidity the squad – resplendent in the group’s new striped shirts – put down an early marker with a win against Birmingham Walking Football. Barry Smith hit the goal that counted in a game which Striders rarely looked troubled. Harrison and Smith looked a potent pairing up front, underpinned by the industry of Fielding and Lancashire, skipper with Partington pivotal in defensive midfield. <Match Video: <click>
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Next up, Bury Relics took an early lead after a Nixon error but there was time to come back. We grew into this game slowly but surely and a real Captain’s goal drew us level. A real humdinger of a shot that evaded the Bury ‘keeper to ripple the net. It stayed that way until the end and it was beginning to dawn upon the players that we could have a real shot at this trophy. More of Alan Richards’ match video with constant comment <here> feel free to mute the sound if he gets on your nerves (he won’t be offended).
Bernard Roddy, also on the pitch in this one looked perfectly at home on the Heywood 3g.
A change of Pitch and Widnes were our next opponents. Some big men in their team but frankly, the first opening minutes were so one sided we could have been three up in five of them. Harrison struck early, then Barry Smith had a goal disallowed as a kick in had been ‘taken too quickly’ – odd. But never mind. We doubled the lead through Smith but Widnes were undeterred. We spurned even more chances as the Cheshire (was Lancashire) team clawed their way back into the game and reduced the arrears.
- Tony Cravagan’s long overdue introduction to competitive walking football had those who know his game purring with satisfaction, as he settled in quickly, and well.
We went further ahead – this time Harrison with a beauty and Striders looked to be coasting. Widnes were not done though , credit to them for plugging away and making it 3-2 to Striders just before the end. A game we fully deserved to win. Click <here> for some lengthy match video.
Next we had some respite and a rest. Huddersfield ‘Town’ WF – who had looked a good side took to Pitch 2 for an even game that frankly might have gone against us but for some stout defending. Bernard Roddy was lively and resilient as a Terriers defender bounced off a strong (illegal) challenge.
We had our chances but the goalkeeper was defiant. Nixon’s handling was solid an secure and with an unbeaten record in the group we knew that with 8 points we would progress to the Semi-Final where we thought Blackpool Very Senior Seasiders awaited but NO ! A penalty shoot out had not gone their way and we were up against locals Rochdale Blues.
We started quite shakily – the thirty minute hiatus had not done us good. However, with five minutes on the clock we started to settle down into a passing rhythm. Lancashire was acqutting himself very well in perhaps his best displays at Heywood, and the inevitable combination of Smith and Harrison up front were mobile across the pitch and making targets for their defenders to hit with passes pumped forward.
Barry Smith scored the winning goal from an inside left position, a great strike that beat the Rochdale custodian to put us in the final !
With the heat clearly taking its toll on tired legs and glistening brows we lined up for the final knowing we were up against some good walking footballers. BUT so were they !
No goals in this game of nip and tuck. Excellent defending from our team but up front Harrison was tiring visibly. Cravagan replaced Lancashire with his regular reliability and seemingly effortless covering ability.
No goals though and a penalty shoot out awaited.
The subsequent kicks were disappointing as Barry Smith hit his high over the bar and Colin Fielding’s kick was well saved. Rochdale Reds converted their first but missed the second after a retake. Terry Harrison – his heart pumping as frantically as his taxi meter in the rush hour blasted the ball goalward but the ‘keeper chose the right way and turned it around a post.
That was that. Done and dusted. A really enjoyable competition played in fantastic spirit by a sensible group of older men who realised the great opportunities for health and fitness (and a bit of ‘success’) this game can provide. We had winners – congratulations ‘Rochdale Reds’, and losers but it was really inspiring to see a competition go so well, with so little incident, barely a ‘bad’ word heard , certainly by me.
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Thanks to all our players for giving it everything. A couple of jitter inducing distribution mistakes from ‘keeper Nixon but he more than redeemed himself with solid handling throughout. Lancashire, Cravagan and Fielding were the backbone of our defence and inventive moving forward. Partington the fulcrum between defence and attack where Bernard Roddy’s appearances showed what a fine presence he can provide, and Harrison and Smith the dynamic duo up front causing all sorts of problems for opponents.
Special thanks to all three Referees, it must have been both taxing, and exhausting out there and to the organisers who made the event run like relative clockwork and provided a smashing buffet after the games had been played. Bravo – we will be back in November I’m sure.
To all the other teams there today thanks for a keen contest that was played fairly, and sensibly. It’s not just about winning – although we came close – it’s about much more and most of that was on display at Heywood Sports Village on the last day of May 2018.
- God to see David Wilson, Mike Conroy and Steve Foster there to support their friends and team mates.
CONGRATULATIONS ROCHDALE REDS !
- Over 100 photo’s <here>
(Video will take some time)
Two groups – one of four one of five – ours is the larger. We play BIRMINGHAM / BURY RELICS /WIDNES / ‘HUDDERSFIELD TOWN’. Fifteen minute one way games (unless it’s blowing a gale) the first three matches on the bounce.
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All players in this competition are asked to find their fivers by the end of next week please. See David Partington or Alan Richards with the cash. The entry fee is £35 and DWFG will raise the necessary cheque by the time the Over 65’s go to Heywood on the 17th. (25/5/18 all money in now – Ed)
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- Beware the Geek – bearing GIF’s
THIRTY ONE DAYS IN MAY…culminating in this one – May 31st. 2018 at Heywood Sports Village organised by the GMWFL.
David Partington will lead our squad of Senior Striders into this one and look out for news here on this page as the competition draws closer….some of the squad….
OUR ‘UNDERAGE’ GOALKEEPER – GORDON NIXON