This annual tournament took place on Middlesex FA’s Rectory Park 3G pitches on a very warm Sunday, 18th June. It consists of 2 separate competitions, one for teams of players over 50 years of age and one for those over 60.
The trophies were competed for by clubs from the three regional Walking Football Leagues, within the County’s orbit, namely the West, North and Central Leagues.
The day’s events were organised and supervised Andy Perren, the Middlesex FA Participation Development Officer. Andy did a splendid job, keeping the challenging programme moving, with a firm but approachable authority, at the same time dealing with the potential problems which arose.
A great afternoon’s football provided many exciting and hard fought and skilfully contested matches. The enthusiasm of the players shone through and their sportsmanship was generally very good. The referees, Andy Kowalski, Damian O’Reilly, Peter Harris, Steve Harrington, Richard Andrews and Richard Shields all contributed to the success of the afternoon. Their experience in refereeing this form of the game was obvious and their handling was perfect for the occasion.
12 teams had entered the over 50s competition and 6 had entered the over 60s. Therefore, the 50s initially played in 2 groups. In the group matches, 3 points were awarded for a win and 1 for a draw. The group winners and runners-up in the 50s tournament contested the semi-finals and the 3rd and 4th placed sides competed for the Plate.
The first placed team in the single over 60s group progressed directly to the final, while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams played a semi-final.
The 4th placed over 60s side went into the Plate final, while the 5th and 6th placed sides competed in a semi-final, to win the right to do so.
All of the matches were played under the Walking Football Laws of the game, using the multi-touch rule and consisted of 2 halves, each of 7.5 minutes. The matches were 6-a-side, with up to 5 rolling substitutes permitted.
No extra time was played. Drawn matches in the knock-out stages were decided by a penalty shoot-out, initially consisting of 3 kicks per team and then by sudden death kicks, if needed.
One of the teams in Group A, Tottenham Hotsteppers, only had 6 players available and felt unable to compete, in the circumstances, without the availability of substitute players.
Therefore, this group was reduced to 5 teams. It was dominated by Watford and Bounds Green, who remained unbeaten. These clubs were paired in the first game and played out a goal-less draw, before winning the remainder of their group fixtures. Watford topped the group on goal difference, by scoring once more than Bounds Green. Cove and London Irish qualified for the Plate competition.
Group A Results:
Bounds Green 0 Watford 0
Feltham 1 London Irish 3
London Irish 1 Watford 2
Feltham 0 Cove 3
Bounds Green 3 London Irish 1
Watford 1 Cove 0
Feltham 0 Bounds Green 1
Cove 2 London Irish 2
Bounds Green 1 Cove 0
Watford 3 Feltham 0
Cheshunt and Godalming made storming starts in Group B, both winning their opening 3 matches, without conceding a goal. Cheshunt scored 13 goals in the process, while Godalming netted 9 times.
Therefore, their clash was eagerly awaited and it didn’t disappoint. An intriguing encounter was eventually won by Cheshunt. with 2 second half goals. Cheshunt then went on to win their remaining group match to maintain their 100% record. Godalming drew their final group match against Uxbridge Amblers to finish in the runners-up position.
After losing the opening Group B match 4-0 to Cheshunt, Uxbridge Amblers didn’t suffer another reverse, winning twice and drawing twice, to take 3rd place. Amblers were joined in the Plate competition by Farnham Town, who had a superior goal difference to Staines Town Strollers.
Group B Results:
Cheshunt 4 Uxbridge Amblers 0
Farnham Town 0 Staines Town Strollers 0
Godalming 3 Pimlico 0
Staines Town Strollers 0 Cheshunt 5
Pimlico 1 Uxbridge Amblers 1
Godalming 2 Farnham Town 0
Cheshunt 4 Pimlico 0
Staines Town Strollers 0 Godalming 4
Uxbridge Amblers 1 Farnham Town 0
Godalming 0 Cheshunt 2
Farnham Town 1 Pimlico 0
Uxbridge Amblers 2 Staines Town Strollers 0
Cheshunt 1 Farnham Town 0
Uxbridge Amblers 0 Godalming 0
Pimlico 0 Staines Town Strollers 2
50s COMPETITION - FINAL STAGES
Both semi-finals were won by the qualifiers from Group A. Both matches finished goalless and had to be decided by penalty shoot-outs. Watford beat Godalming 3-1 and Bounds Green beat Cheshunt 3-2.
Watford beat Bounds Green by a single goal, from a well struck freekick, in a hard-fought final.
The qualifiers from Group A also performed a clean sweep in the Plate. Cove beat Farnham Town 2-0 in the first semi-final and then London Irish overcame Uxbridge Amblers 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Cove triumphed by a single goal in the final, against London Irish.
Cup semi-finals: Watford 0 Godalming 0 (pens 3-1)
Cheshunt 0 Bounds Green 0 (pens 2-3)
Cup final: Watford 1 Bounds Green 0
Plate semi-finals: Cove 2 Farnham Town 0
London Irish 1 Uxbridge Amblers 1 (pens 3-1)
Plate Final: Cove 1 London Irish 0
I couldn’t help wondering whether the dominance of the teams from Group A in the final stages of this competition, might be partially attributable to the fact that they played fewer in their group.