England Over 50’s & 60’s successfully competed in the first ever European Nations Championship. Only three nations had gone through a selection process to pick teams to represent their respective countries in what was a landmark event held at Chesterfield Football Club, where the modern version of the game was all started by Chief Executive John Croot. Italy and Wales joined the hosts to serve up some excellent football played in great spirit and high levels of skill.
OVER 50’S REPORT
Italy v England was the first fixture, a 0-0 draw in Milan a couple of months ago meant that it was always going to be a tight affair. Chances were created early on as both Neil Evans and Mike Milligan went close to opening the scoring, before the 10th minute when Milligan produced a superb drive which went into the top corner as a fitting opening goal to this prestigious event. Rob Keating in the England goal was being kept very busy by the Italian forwards and pulled off a string of excellent saves. Ian Ward had replaced Neil Evans but only lasted a few minutes of the second half before a hard challenge led to him being taken off for treatment and this proved to be his only involvement for the day, a huge loss to the England team at such an early stage in the tournament. Shortly afterwards Italy drew level with a smart turn on the edge of the box and an excellent finish. England knew they had a game on their hands with a slender 1-0 half time lead. England went close after the restart with Darren Bradley hitting the base of the post until debutant Dave Scotney from Boston United was introduced and excellent interchange play between Scotney and Milligan put in Captain Neil Brown who slotted home what proved to be the winner.
England’s second game against Wales was a much calmer encounter as goals from Evans, Milligan and Scotney’s superb finish saw them take 3-0 half time lead. Darren Bradley and Trevor Hanson in defence had been superb in keeping the Welsh attackers at bay, Rob Keating once again being totally assured when called upon. Hanson was replaced by Stroud’s Rob Pass who almost immediately inadvertently walked across his own box to give away a penalty which was despatched with aplomb. England then stepped up a gear with Nick Morris hitting the post before Paul Walton linked with Paul Kirby and Scotney to slide the ball past the welsh keeper. With five minutes to go a long range pass from Milligan fed Walton’s Leggy Mambo’s teammate Evans who completed the scoring for a 5-1 win.
Qualification for the final had now being secured and all left to decide was who were going to be their opponents. Italy duly despatched the Wales side with an identical 5-1 scoreline to leave them the daunting task of taking on the now full flowing England team.
After a long break the England team started refreshed after great work from their physio Heather Bradley and played some exceptional one and two touch football. Firstly Neil Brown then Mike Milligan both laid on chances for Neil Evans who finished comfortably to put his side 2-0 to the good within 10 minutes. Italy then showed some true spirit as they pinned England deep inside their own half for the last 20 minutes of the first half and they were rewarded as on the stroke of half time they made it 2-1. Injured Darren Bradley was replaced by Trevor Hanson who was enjoying his best England performance and Scotney came on for goalscorer Neil Evans. Almost immediately the Lincolnshire duo of Scotney and Kirby combined to put in Neil Brown to once again put England two goals to the good. As the game opened up England played for long periods controlling possession but with 2 minutes remaining another brilliant strike from Milligan completed the scoring with a 4-1 victory.
After a brilliant day of football in superb surroundings England took home the spoils, Manager Paul Murtagh was absolutely delighted and commented;
“It seems longer, but it was just 2 years ago now that me and my team were tasked with the job of selecting and coaching a team to win this tournament. During this time I feel that we have been privileged to work with a group of players that have done the country and the sport proud. Their application and professionalism has been rewarded with maintaining their unbeaten record and bringing home the silverware for England. In this relatively young sport it is important that we continue to strive to improve and to spread the word in the hope of inspiring others to give walking football a go. I am absolutely chuffed to bits to have been a part of this initial leg of the journey and would like to thank all of my backroom staff, the support of the over 60’s management team, the WFA and my players for making this such a success.”
England 50’s Squad
1. Rob KEATING 55 GK Emsworth & Hayling WFC
2. Rob PASS 58 DEF Stroud WFC
3. Darren BRADLEY 53 DEF Birmingham WFC
4. Trevor HANSON 58 DEF Blackburn Rovers
5. Paul KIRBY 52 MID Stamford WFC
6. Neil BROWN 55 MID Herne Bay
7. Michael MILLIGAN 52 MID Birmingham WFC
8. Neil EVANS 56 FOR Leggy Mambos
9. Ian WARD 58 FOR Pele’s Pearls
10. Paul WALTON 55 MID Leggy Mambos
11. David SCOTNEY 56 MID Boston United WFC
12. Nick MORRIS 53 MID Leeds Titans
Manager Paul Murtagh
Asst Manager/ Coach David Castle
OVER 60’s REPORT
In the first match, hosts England faced Wales. England hit the post twice with good efforts from Steve Borrow and Peter Stacey before taking the lead with a clever low shot from Graham Collier. The excellent Steve Ashton, in goal for Wales, pulled off a string of fine saves and England had a number of good efforts go narrowly wide – in particular from Spencer Pratten and Alan Davies. The score remained 1-0 – and, as a result, the tension was rising in the England camp with such a narrow lead – until Captain Pratten found his range and fired home into the top corner 5 minutes from time to seal the victory. John Sykes, in goal, showed excellent delivery throughout what was, for him, a quiet game.
Wales then played Italy and drew 2-2 – they went one goal down before taking a 2-1 lead . Italy pegged them back to 2-2 and then Wales had a penalty disallowed when the taker took several steps rather than the permitted one step.
England then played Italy – the first half was a very scrappy affair with no real structure or flow to the game – England received 2 blue cards which meant having to defend deep for periods of the first half. Steve Borrow opened the scoring with an excellent and instinctive shot which took a deflection into the top corner to give England a narrow lead at half time. England rang the changes at the start of the 2nd half changing the entire outfield team – James Trant had a fierce cross-shot which Tony Jones reacted extremely quickly to turn in to double the lead. John Hammonds had to make 2 excellent saves to earn his clean sheet for England and the Italian keeper made a number of spectacular saves, the best from a Roy Gladwell effort.
Italy and Wales finished the group games on the same points with exactly the same goal difference and goals scored – which meant that Italy qualified for the final on the Blue (sin bin) card rule as they had received one less blue card than Wales.
The final between England and Italy started very evenly with both keepers being forced to make good saves. England began to dominate and went close to taking the lead on 3 occasions – with Peter Stacey and Spencer Pratten hitting the post and Steve Borrow going just wide. They took the lead through and unlikely source – defender Graham Curry received a ball just inside his own half from Peter Stacey and strode forward and hit an excellent low shot into the bottom corner. England thought they had doubled the lead when Graham Collier collected a rebound, dummied the keeper and chipped the ball over him – with very little pace the ball appeared to spin back from over the line to settle against the post and was deemed to have not crossed the line, denying Collier what would have been the goal of the day. To make matters worse, within minutes, Italy were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area and equalised with a fierce shot into the roof of the net. 5 minutes later Italy were awarded a penalty when Borrow was adjudged to have played a ball when it was on the goal area line – fortunately Italy missed and the tide turned back in England’s favour and they ended the first half on top. The first 15 minutes of the second half was again quite even with few chances. James Trant was thrown into action and it was his deflected shot, 10 minutes from the end which restored England’s lead. This was followed fairly quickly with a Peter Stacey rocket shot to give England a 3-1 victory.
WFA INVITATION CUP
Birmingham’s Over 50’s came runners up in a tournament at Chesterfield FC as a pre curser to the European Championships.
They came through the six-game round robin to reach the final unbeaten, 1-0 Wins against Mansfield and Abbeymead and a 2-0 success against Spireites were coupled with draws against Unity (1-1) and Boldmere (0-0) Milan Mazic and Pod both netting two and Mark Averill the other.
The final was a very tight affair where both sides had a couple of chances, Heath Underwood in goal making an excellent save to deny Boldmere and likewise the Boldmere keeper saving from a Mazic snapshot. With only 2 minutes remaining a Birmingham free kick from David Castle was inadvertently passed straight to the Boldmere forward who coolly placed his shot beyond Underwood to seal victory. After the game Captain Castle commented,
“I am so gutted for the other guys, I’ve played over 200 competitive games for the club and have won many tournaments but I know a lot of the lads who have only recently being playing have not been so fortunate their reaction was great but I still feel so responsible, with Heath in goal I would have really fancied us on penalties”.
ENGLAND’S NATIONAL TEAMS TAKE ON THE EUROS
This SUNDAY 9/6/19 England’s chosen over 50’s & 60’s National Walking Football teams take on the Euros! Get your tickets on the link below and come along and support your country!
BIRMINGHAM RUNNERS UP IN SUPER VETERANS OVER 65’s WORLD CUP.
Birmingham were again representing England last month in an over 65’s World Cup competition against their old adversaries Scotland, and teams from Canada, Wales and Gibraltar.
The matches were played in France at the Standard Athletic Club in Meudon, a picturesque suburb half an hour outside the capital Paris, and about the same distance from the Palace of Versailles.
England were drawn against Scotland in their first match and started well taking the lead with a terrific goal by Dave Whatmore which nestled in the top corner of the rather oversize goals. At this stage England were playing well and the Scotland keeper had to make several timely saves to prevent them from falling further behind. But then two errors caught England out and Scotland came back to take the lead 1 – 2. However, goals from Barry Huntington and Keith Laishley put England back in the driving seat at 3 – 2 but then they had two men sent to the sin bin for 2 mins. A heroic rear-guard action by Dave Burgess and Barry prevented Scotland taking advantage of the situation but when the two sin bin players returned to the pitch everything inexplicably turned around in what seemed like an instant, and Scotland equalised and then went on to score another 3 goals to take the match by 6 goals to 3.
In the next match England were up against Wales in what seemed, on paper, to be one of the easier matches. England completely dominated their opposition from the start with numerous shots on goal being saved by the excellent Welsh goalkeeper who was in great form. However, a nicely taken goal by Dave Whatmore gave England their first win of the competition.
Next up for England were Gibraltar. Again, the England side were into their stride very early in the game. Their passing game was getting better and as a result of this, a fine move was constructed which enabled a chance to fall to Dave Burgess which he accepted and scored with aplomb with a fine drive across the opposition goalkeeper into the far corner of the net.
A further goal from Dave Whatmore and a penalty from John Limbourne secured a fine 3 – 0 victory.
In their final league match England then played Canada. Two superb quick fire goals from distance by full back Keith Laishley put England 2 goals in front and goals from Frank Hughes, Barry Huntington and John Limbourne sealed a comfortable 5 – 1 win to leave England top of the league and ready to play Gibraltar in the final match to decide the destination of the Trophy.
Having already beaten Gibraltar in the qualifying round, England were confident that they could do so again and started the match in good form but this time around Gibraltar were to prove a harder nut to crack. A couple of personnel and tactical changes made it difficult for England to make the breakthrough, although they did have chances that were either blocked by Gibraltarian defenders or saved by the capable goalkeeper behind them. Try as they may England could just not open up the Gibraltar defence and then with just 30 seconds left on the referees watch, Gibraltar’s most dangerous forward broke away from the close attention of the England defence and finished the only chance he had been allowed during the match to give them the win and the 2019 Super Veterans Title.
England were also runners up in the Penalty competition thanks to 3 super saves from Keith Phipps who also kept 2 clean sheets during the qualifying round robin stage of the competition.
The whole trip was a resounding success and thanks to the ladies who accompanied the players and gave their vocal support from the touchline.
WFA NATIONAL CUP COMPETITION 1st ROUND OVER 65’s
Birmingham were drawn at home to play against Burntwood Strollers in the 1st Round of the WFA Over 65’s National Cup.
The match was played at Solihull and Birmingham had a full-strength team to select from. They started well and passed the ball around looking for openings, and mid-way through the 1st half a neat move saw Malcolm Thorp presented with a one on one chance with the goalkeeper that he gladly despatched at the near post.
Birmingham dominated play for the most part but on one occasion, Keith Phipps in the Birmingham goal, had to make a smart save to keep the score at 1 – 0 at half time.
In the second half, personnel and tactical changes suggested by the England over 50’s Manager, Paul Murtagh, enabled Birmingham to get on top and the result was never in doubt when Decka Thorp put Birmingham 2 – 0 up with a penalty, which was awarded for a defender encroaching into his own penalty area. For good measure Decka added a third after a flowing move involving every Birmingham outfield player.
Final score: Birmingham 3 – 0 Burntwood Strollers.
OVER 50’S IN NORTHAMPTON TOURNAMENT
On a sunny Tuesday afternoon BWFC Manager Paul Murtagh took a team of over 50’s to Northampton Town to play in a well attended walking football tournament. Four pitches with five teams on each playing in a well organised league format meant Birmingham were in a group alongside Kettering, Derby, QPR and Towcester. After playing all four league matches and not conceding a goal (three wins and a draw) Birmingham were set to play Northampton Town, in the quarter final. They avenged their peoples cup exit by beating ‘the cobblers’ 1-0, which set up a semi final against Huntingdon. Unfortunately missed chances and a last minute conceded goal meant they played no further part in the competition losing 1-0 in the semi final. A pleasant day was had by all.
ENGLAND TRAINING DAY GLOUCESTER UNI
Both the First Team and the Shadow Squad joined South West Regional Team for a training day at the superb facilities provided by Gloucester University.
After several drills and tactical discussions all games were split into 20 mins each way.
The shadow squad were missing a couple of players due to injury and holidays so Andy Scrace (Leeds Titans) and Martyn Walker (Boston United) came into the squad. Their first game against South West went impressively as a brace from Andy Scrace and one from Skipper Dave Scotney saw them through to a comfortable 3-0 win.
England’s first team were attempting new systems and ideas as their game against the South West finished a much closer 3-2 win, goals in the first half from Mike Milligan, Ian Ward and Neil Evans. The South West regional side were very well organised by Lach Geddes and proved dangerous and a handful for both defences, and an ideal test for the England sides.
The final fixture saw the two England sides play a very competitive game, only a second half snapshot from Stamford’s Paul Kirby separating the sides. Some superb goal keeping and quality defending making it very difficult to break each side down.
The whole day seemed a massive success and great preparation for the forthcoming Euros against Italy and Wales in Chesterfield.
Assistant Manager Dave Castle commented,
“We’ve had a really productive day today, tried new systems and different plays some of which worked and others that didn’t work so well. The shadow squad were pretty impressive, and the South West were great competition for us. We will go with a squad of 10 to Chesterfield so we have a really difficult choice to make this week after some brilliant individual performances “
BIRMINGHAM OVER 50’S GET THEIR MOJO BACK!
NATIONAL CUP – 3-0 WIN
After several months of not playing competitively Birmingham’s over 50’s new look first team cruised into the second round of the WFA National Cup with a convincing 3-0 over Boldmere St Michaels. With the Ward brothers now concentrating on Pele’s Pearls and Dave Norton’s retirement, the team entered a new transitional period. After seemingly the obligatory first ten minutes where Birmingham for obvious reasons were a little disjointed, stalwarts Mike Milligan and Darren Bradley were then linking seamlessly with Mark Averill and Milan Mazic, as Birmingham started to take control. Averill’s smart turn and snapshot nearly put them ahead as he rattled the bottom of the post. It was then once again Averill who intercepted a goalkeeper clearance who played in Mazic to slot home the opener.
Boldmere had plenty of endeavour and themselves hit the post but were no match for the now slick Brummies’ who were gelling like they had played together for years. At half time Shane Abell made his competitive debut replacing Bradley and Andy Struthers came on for Averill. Abell gave a slightly different dimension as he linked up well firstly with Mazic and then Pod. Then and outstanding move involving all the outfield players saw Pod back heel for Abell to finish superbly. Birmingham were now in cruise control as Milligan, Abell and Dave Castle combined to keep the ball for long periods. Abell then returned the compliment to Pod for him to make it 3-0 with a comfortable finish after his first shot rebounded of the keeper. Boldmere’s best chance came with a few minutes left as Birmingham were caught napping at a free kick, and when required Heath Underwood made an excellent double save.
After the game Manager Paul Murtagh said,
“I’m so chuffed, with not only the result but how this new team gelled. Obviously loosing key players from the team was a blow but the new lads have slotted in beautifully and I’m confident this team can give a good account of themselves in this competition”.
OVER 60’S – NATIONAL CUP – FIRST ROUND (2-0 win)
Birmingham Over 60s travelled to Coleshill for the first round of The National Cup. The team was much changed due to injuries and the Over 65s playing in Paris.
Early nerves were settled when the opposition keeper threw the ball directly to Roy Williams who slotted home to make it 1-0 with minutes gone. This seemed to unsettle Coleshill and Birmingham had a number of good chances to add to the lead but blazed high and wide. Coleshill began to settle and put pressure on Birmingham with a number of shots from distance which missed the goal or were safely gathered by Les D as dependable as ever in goal.
Birmingham began to gel as a team in the second half and began to play some decent possession football and coped well with a skilful and tricky Coleshill team who had to commit more players forward to equalize. John McG took advantage and doubled the lead with a strong, low shot. Birmingham should then have scored more goals as Coleshill threw everyone forward. The defense held firm and victory against a spirited Coleshill side was deserved. The game was played in the right manner and was consistently refereed by Jim Dale.
Martin B, Roger P, Mark E and Peter G all performed with great credit on their competitive debuts for the club.
RUNNERS UP FOR BWFC IN WORCESTER
A mixed age over 60’s team made the short to journey to Worcester University to compete in the Worcester Seniors Over 60’s Walking Football Tournament.
The four teams taking part were Worcester, Hindlip, Freedom Leisure and Birmingham.
First up for Birmingham were Hindlip WFC from Worcestershire. The game was a very tight affair in which Birmingham gave a good account of themselves. The Hindlip side play together week in and week out and it showed as they passed the ball around very skillfully and effectively.
Birmingham were matching them blow for blow until two defensive errors let Hindlip take, what proved to be, an unassailable 2 – 0 lead.
Try as they may, Birmingham could not find a way past the excellent Hindlip goalkeeper who made some amazing flying saves to protect his side’s lead. Final score 2 – 0 to Hindlip.
Next up were a team new to walking football, Freedom Leisure.
They are effectively a leisure centre team put together to play in this competition and as such were no match for a Birmingham side determined to make amends for the defeat against Hindlip.
Goals from Tom Neale (1), Bart O Shea (1) and Larry Hackworth (2) gave Birmingham a comfortable half time lead.
Only some excellent saves by the opposition’s very capable goalkeeper prevented the score reaching double figures in the second half and Birmingham had to settle for a 5 – 0 win when Peter Giddings netted the only goal of the second half. Result: Birmingham 5 Freedom Leisure 0
Birmingham’s next opponents were Worcester. A draw in this match would mean that Birmingham would secure second place in the league and a match against Hindlip in the final.
Inexplicably, Birmingham started slowly in this match and were caught out of position at the back early on when the outside of Keith Phipps left hand post kept the scores level.
However they moved up through the gears in the second half and secured a 2 – 0 win with two beautifully worked team goals, both finished with aplomb by Tom Neale. Result: Birmingham 2 Worcester 0
Final: Birmingham versus Hindlip
This match was played with the same pace, vigor and skill shown in the first match earlier in the morning. Birmingham had to work hard to win possession and create any meaningful chances and yet again two disastrous errors in the first six minutes of the game led to their opponents taking what proved to be a decisive 2 – 0 lead.
Birmingham worked very hard in the second half to get something out of the game but once again came up against a well disciplined Hindlip defense, but on the few occasions when they did break through the defensive wall they were foiled by the excellent Hindlip goalkeeper..
As the second half wore on, Birmingham came more into the game but just could not find a way to pull back the two goals needed to take the match to penalties. Final Score: Hindlip 2 Birmingham 0
The players representing the club at this competition were a credit to themselves and Birmingham WFC. The nucleus of the team were put together from players who had not represented the Club in any outside tournaments before, and indeed had not played together as a team before this competition, so to come away as Runners up, clutching a silver medal, is something they can all feel very proud about. Well done everyone !!
BWFC LADIES WIN FIRST EVER PEOPLES CUP
Sunday 28th April saw three (yes, that’s right, three) teams from Birmingham in the finals of the FA People’s Cup at St Georges Park. The Blues and Whites who both qualified from the Peterborough Midland Region semi-finals and the Reds who qualified from the Southern semi-finals at Wimbledon. They joined Preston and Sheffield who came through the Northern semi-finals and Palace for Life who qualified as winners from Wimbledon to make up the final 6 teams in this, the very first time women’s walking football has appeared in the FA Peoples Cup.
The first round consisted of a round-robin with all teams playing each other to establish who would progress to the final four play-off games held on the internal Sir Alf Ramsey pitch and with the final broadcast live on the BBC Red button.
Blues first round games saw them finish undefeated with four wins and a draw, scoring a total of 9 goals and conceding only one. Whites fortunes were more mixed with two wins, two defeats and a draw scoring five and conceding three whilst Reds conceded six goals on the way to four defeats and a draw. This meant that Blues and Whites progressed to the semi-final play-offs along with Preston, who were also undefeated, and Sheffield.
The first game of the semi-finals saw Blues against Sheffield and it finished 1-0 to Blues, Alli scoring early with the Blues on top, Sheffield tried to get back on level terms late on but the game was managed out by the Blues to secure the first finalist spot. The second semi was a hard-fought encounter between Whites and Preston which finished 1-1 (Whites goalscorer: Skez). The game therefore went to penalties and even though Tracy saved the first Preston penalty and all of Whites’ efforts found the back of the net, two of their penalties were disallowed (for player taking more than one step on approach) so Preston advanced, winning the shoot-out 2-1.
The final brought Blues together with Preston and it was a very cagey affair with few clear-cut chances for either team. Half way through the game, Alli collected a pass from Kelly just inside the Preston half, beat one player and placed a right-foot shot just inside the Preston keeper’s left-hand post for the only goal of the game. Preston pressed for an equaliser but stout defending from the Birmingham team was enough to secure victory and become the club’s first ever Peoples Cup winners.
Blues: Caroline R, Lorraine R, Kelly O’D, Truly G, Alli W, Clare F, Zoe M
Whites: Dee R, Sue M, Sally B, Tracy D, Jayne K, Julie G, Karen Sh, (Alex M, Denny M)
Reds: Sue T, Karen Sm, Karen D, Kathy B, Jan T, Sonya C
BWFC WHITES IN STAFFORDSHIRE WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
Birmingham Whites took a strong squad to the Staffordshire Walking Football tournament.
The team had been placed in a group with Stone, Port Vale, Senior Spireites and Coleshill. The top two teams would qualify for the semi- finals, so a good start was required against a Spireites side who had already warmed up against Stone.
Birmingham soon took control of the game with clever inter-passing in the opposition half. Several chances were created but shooting was a little wayward. A clinical strike by frontman Milan was the sole score in a game which did not reflect Whites’ dominance. 1-0 and points on the board.
The second game against Port Vale underlined Birmingham’s superior skills and their ability to create chances in confined spaces. Shots from every outfield player rained down on the Vale goal with the woodwork and excellent shot-stopping keeping the brummies at bay. However, in the last few minutes, playmaker Buttons managed to find space on the edge of the box and fired a crisp shot beyond the keeper to secure another 1-0 success.
A tougher match awaited in the third game when Coleshill Strollers were the opponents. A tight encounter followed between two well organised teams and although there were chances at both ends, Milan’s unfortunate penalty miss was the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock. 0-0 meant that a draw in the last group game against Stone would probably be enough for progression to the semis.
Stone were duly dispatched 2-0 with a double from Rob, both shots from wide on the right.
Qualification was duly accomplished with an impressive played 4, won 3, drawn 1 record. No goals had been conceded which outlined the defensive masterclass on display from skipper Franco, backed up by Andy and saves by Mike ‘the Puma’ Taylor. Chesterton were next up in the semi-final.
Chances were at a premium and despite the midfield promptings of Pod and Paul, Birmingham were unable to make the required breakthrough. Pod’s fine drive late on agonisingly hit the post and an excellent save from Mike in the dying minutes denied Chesterton.
The exciting sudden death shoot out saw the first 8 penalties scored. When Chesterton failed with the next kick, Rob had the chance to secure a place in the final but unfortunately his effort was saved. Chesterton secured their place in the final with a save against Mike Taylor Lane’s first penalty kick of the match.
So, Birmingham Whites’ Staffordshire adventure came to an end. This was truly a fine team effort with every player having a positive impact on matches. The passing, movement and shooting from the front three – Pod, Milan and Buttons – was impressive. Andy’s distribution and dynamism was missed in the semi after he picked up a calf injury and Paul’s tireless running contributed to Whites’ ability to ‘close out’ games. Mike made some really classic saves at crucial times in games and Franco showed great leadership in making key interventions and tackles when opponents tried to take control of games.
An enjoyable day in the Potteries but ultimately Birmingham came up short, once more, in the cruellest of circumstances.
England over 50s and 60s Walking Football teams travelled to Novara, near Milan for their latest international matches. Having created history in May 2018 by playing the first ever Walking Football International match at the AMEX stadium, Brighton, the Italians were out for revenge.
ITALY 1 – ENGLAND 0
The over 60s team put in a superb performance with over 30 attempts on goal. They hit the bar, hit the post twice and had a goal disallowed and the Italian goal-keepers, with a mixture of superb saves and a good slice of luck, managed to keep England out. The players demonstrated a fantastic attitude despite the surprise of finding tiny goals, the language barriers and some interesting interpretation of the rules. One deflected goal mid-way through the first half for the Italians turned out to be the deciding goal and, try as they might, England could not get the goal back, despite peppering the Italian goal.
There were several good performances – John Sykes and John Hammonds, in goal, only really had one shot each to save, which speaks volumes about how well Vic Vaines, Graham Curry and Stephen Berresford defended. Steve Borrow, who had a goal disallowed, Graham Collier, Peter Stacey and Spencer Pratten all had many shots which were either saved or marginally wide and Alan Davies was a constant threat up front. Alan was given man-of-the-match by the Italians and Steve Borrow given man-of-the-match by our coaching team.
We would like to thank our hosts who looked after us with superb facilities in a lovely hotel over an enjoyable weekend.
The Italians at both ages had improved since our last meetings last year at Brighton.
Both games were streamed live and the feedback we have received has been generally very positive with comments such as ‘how did you not win that game’ and ‘you absolutely battered them in the second half but just could not get the vital goal’.
We are looking forward to welcoming them to the European Nation’s cup in chesterfield in June.
Overall. A fantastic experience. Lots of positives to take away in terms of performance and attitude. Still lots to learn both as a team and also as a sport as it continues to grow and go global.
The England management team won their exhibition match with the Italian management team 2-1 with goals from Stuart Langworthy and Paul Murtagh (60s and 50s managers – both penalties)
So, in nearly three hours of football only 2 goals were scored in open play – which says a lot about the size of the goals as well as the quality of the goal-keepers.
“To win anything in football you need a good team, good individual players, a good system and a bit of luck. On the day, “England had everything but luck. Italy had three shots one of which was deflected in. England had 30 plus shots and a goal disallowed. I was proud of the performance and the attitude of the players – we go again” Stuart Langworthy
ITALY 0 – ENGLAND 0 (England win 3-1 on penalties)
England’s Over 50’s toiled in the drizzle at Noverello Stadium as they played out a somewhat dull 0-0 draw. Italy started the better team as England struggled to settle and they almost capitalised on some uncharacteristic slack passing from the visitors, calling keeper Rob Keating into action to make a couple of fine saves. England eventually started to get a grip on the game midway through the first half as the Italians reverted back to defending deep and narrow in front of the incredibly small goals! Paul Walton came closest to scoring in the first half as his shot was tipped over by the Italian Captain and keeper Luigi Martinoli.
The second half was a little more open but time and again shots were deflected and blocked as the steadfast Italian defence seemed like they were impregnable. Paul Kirby’s rasping shot hit the post and the keeper before agonisingly going wide. Mike Milligan also struck the upright and as much as England pressed there appeared to be no way through. Ian Ward replaced Neil Evans in the second half and his inventiveness seemed to create more openings, his own turn and shot grazing the post as he looked to have put the visitors in the lead. England continued to press and actually left themselves open in the final few minutes and but for an excellent interception by Trevor Hanson, Italy would have had a one on one with the England keeper.
A penalty shootout ensued, and Manager Paul Murtagh looked for both experience and nerve, Milligan, Hanson and Walton were all keen to take England’s penalties. Neil Brown won the toss and Milligan stepped up, his firm shot just managing to creep under the keepers’ body. Next, Italy’s Zafforoni looked nervous as he stepped back, Keating dived to his right and saved brilliantly to keep the score at 1-0. Blackburn Captain Trevor Hanson then stepped up to hit an unstoppable shot into the top corner to make it 2-0. Valentino then converted for the Italians. At 2-1 Paul Walton had the chance to make England’s lead unassailable, he sent the keeper the wrong way and in converting gave England their fourth victory from as many international games.
Manager Paul Murtagh commented ..
“By far our toughest challenge yet! Credit goes to the Italian team who were unrecognisable from the last time we played them. Resolute in defence and creative going forward they have proved that they will be a force to be reckoned with at the Euros. I was really disappointed with how we started the game but pleased with the character shown by our lads to knuckle down and dominate thereafter, especially in the second half. A few things to still work on but as with everyone else in the new sport we are still learning”.
BWFC LADIES (BLUES & WHITES) IN PETERBOROUGH – PEOPLES CUP 2019
Last Saturday BWFC took two ladies’ teams to Peterborough in the next round of the FA Peoples Cup. Four teams played in the new walking football section of the cup, BWFC Blues, BWFC Whites, Bedford and Sporting. They played 10-minute straight games in a league basis followed by a semifinal and a final.
BLUES V BEDFORD 2-0
WHITES V SPORTING 5-0
BLUES V WHITES 0-1
WHITES V BEDFORD 2-0
BLUES V SPORTING 5-0
Both teams got through to the semis where the Whites met 4th place Sporting. After going down 1-0 to a goal from kick off (despite the FA Peoples Cup rules saying these are not allowed) came back to win with a comfortable 5-1.
The Blues met Bedford in the semis and after the nerves settled, they won the match 3-0, putting both Birmingham teams head to head to settle first and second place. The bragging rights went to the Blues on this occasion with a 1-0 win leaving both our sides thrilled to be through to the finals next month at St Georges Park!
BWFC LADIES REDS ON TOUR – PEOPLES CUP 2019
Birmingham Walking Football Club Women ‘Reds’ began their FA Peoples Cup campaign in the Southern Semi-finals at Goals Wimbledon after a first-round bye.
Our day began the night before – with an overnight stay at Reynes Park Travelodge. We didn’t want to risk being late for the 9.30 registration, so we were all staying overnight in London. A trip to a local hostelry for food and to watch England on TV (and the odd liquid refreshment) followed …
Saturday morning brought us to Goals Wimbledon – a short drive away. On arrival, we discovered we were one of four teams; ourselves, Palace for life, Pompey and Spurs and that the two best teams would progress to the finals at St Georges next month after a round robin followed by play-off games.
Our first game was against Spurs and we quickly went a goal up (Kathy) which settled nerves and we scored four more goals over the course of the 14 minute game with Spurs scoring a consolation goal in the final minutes. However, Reds finished the game 5-1 winners with three from Kath and one each from Karen D and Jan. We then had a break for two matches – a fact for which our five over 60’s were extremely grateful! Second game for us was against Pompey who had played Spurs in their first game. We quickly went two up but were pegged back to 2-2 before Jan scored and then Kathy completed her second hat-trick of the day to give us a 4-2 victory.
Final game of the first round was between us and Palace. We had both had won our two previous games which meant we could finish no worse than first and second in the group. This also meant we would not face each other in the playoffs for the places at St Georges. This game against Palace ended in a 1-0 loss which meant we finished the group in second and faced a play-off game against the third-place team which ended up being Spurs.
Thankfully, the other playoff game was up first, giving us another valuable rest before we faced Spurs for the second time in the most important game of the day for us. THIS was the game we really needed to win … and we did, comprehensively. Karen scored first followed by Kath before Spurs pulled a goal back. However, two from Sonya and two more from Kath, scoring her third hat-trick of the day, saw us run out 6-1 winners and into the finals at St Georges.
The final saw us up against Palace again, playing for the honor of being the best team of the day and the best team did win it, but it wasn’t us. We lost 2-0 and although we had chances, Palace were the better team, well deserving their victory and to be the day’s winners. We look forward to seeing them again at St Georges in April.
Sue Thomas (GK), Kathy Broadfield, Karen Smith, Karen Downes, Jan Trigg, Sonya Compton.
Goals: Kathy 9, Jan 2, Karen D 2, Sonya 2.
DISABILITY TOURNAMENT AT THE ALBION
Today BWFC took a less mobile Walking Football team to West Bromwich Albions Dome, to play in a disability tournament against 6 other teams playing 5 a side 10 minute games.
For three games keeper Billy Pears kept a clean sheet with the team winning all three games scoring a total of 15 goals! David Eyles was on fire scoring goal after goal and super sub Phil Haynes contributed to the score sheet and performed well throughout. The fourth game on the bounce without a break saw Portway A team slip one past the keeper but the match finished with BWFC gaining yet another win 3-1.
The next game against Hallam Street finished with a comfortable 4-1 but the teams next match would proved to be their toughest yet. Sandwell Collage A team were a very young talented side took the lead with a well struck long shot in the first few minutes of the game. Roger Sutton replied with an excellent leveler and with a solid defense in John Atkins and Mick Hildick the final score remained 1-1. Birmingham finished top of the table and were to meet Portway A in the semis. From the kick off Birmingham controlled the game receiving an early penalty for a Portway defender entering the area. From then on three further goals hit the back of the net for Birmingham to go through to the finals!
Sandwell College A took the lead in the final against a tired BWFC side. Their age and fitness gave them the upper hand in the following 10 mins when shot after shot was made at the Birmingham keeper who made some good saves. But the energy levels of the side were simply not good enough to keep up with Sandwell and the match ended in a 3-1 defeat. Thank you to West Bromwich for a great tournament with teams playing the game in good humor and sportsmanship.
ENGLAND V WALES AT ST GEORGES PARK
ENGLAND OVER 50’S SHADOW SQUAD 2 – WALES SHADOW SQUAD 0
A brace from Herne Bay’s Neil Davey and a compact defensive performance ensured a hard worked 2-0 win for England’s second string. Davey’s first came from an excellent one two with Boston’s Dave Scotney and his second was an unstoppable shot from a Pete Henry free kick. Whilst England created plenty of chances they were denied by some excellent goalkeeping, Scotney went close twice and Blue Flames Neil Carr was causing numerous problems with his assured movement and creative link play. Rob Pass and Paul Derbyshire were their commanding best at the back and on the odd occasion that Wales threatened Debutant Peter Gibbons (Hartshill) looked comfortable.
In a 35 minute each way game the players were finding it tough and as the work rate needed to break down the stubborn Welsh team took its toll. Regular rolling substitutions took place but Leeds Titans Nick Morris putting in a mammoth shift as he was only substituted with a few minutes left when the game was safe.
After the game Assistant Manager David Castle commented,
“Another thoroughly professional performance from the lads today, the movement and interchange play was impressive and we look so solid at the back, Rob and Paul look better each game we play. Whilst I was pleased with everyone’s contribution, I’ve got to single out Neil Davey, you cannot give him space, the shot for his second goal went like a missile, I actually heard gasps in the crowd!”
ENGLAND OVER 60’S SHADOW SQUAD 3 – WALES SHADOW SQUAD 1
Two very competitive matches took place at the superb St Georges Park on 3rd March against our rivals from across the border. Wales have improved significantly since our first meeting in September and we knew that this would be our sternest challenge, to date.
In the Shadow Squad game, England started strongly and had 4 chances early on with two good efforts from Roy Gladwell and John Cooper respectively, with the Welsh keeper making some fine saves. Kevin Schmid, in goal was forced to make a smart save before Tony Jones brought another good save from the Welsh keeper. Against the run of play, Wales took the lead with a deflected shot that beat Schmid, but within minutes England had equalised when Gladwell set up Tony Jones who finished with a smart shot. James Trant had a goal disallowed when play was brought back for an infringement and then England took the lead with the goal of the day – from a square pass Roy Gladwell hit a stunning shot – top bins – the keeper did not even see it!! The Welsh keeper then pushed another Gladwell goal-bound shot onto the post. Half time.
Early in the second half, Wales had a few good efforts and Ross Everton, in goal, had to make 3 excellent saves. John Cooper had a goal disallowed when adjudged him to have used his arm to control the ball before volleying home. Gladwell settled the nerves, following a fantastic move of one-touch football involving Jimmy Laidlaw, James Trant and Tom Moran, to complete the scoring. Final score England 3- Wales 1. A much closer game than the first encounter in September.
MOM England – Roy Gladwell, who was a constant threat
MOM Wales – John Llewellyn Pritchard- who made a string of excellent saves.
ENGLAND OVER 60’S FIRST TEAM 5 – WALES FIRST TEAM 3
In the A Team match, within 20 seconds, Alan Davies had a great shot on the turn which went just wide. Spencer Pratten forced a good save from the keeper and then the keeper made a stunning double save from Davies and Pratten. Following a free kick, Davies opened the scoring with a great finish low into the corner. A great move involving Graham Curry, Peter Stacey and Spencer Pratten lead to Davies hitting the post with the keeper beaten. Graham Curry made a rare forward run and scored his first England goal with a clever drop of the shoulder and a feint which drew the keeper whom he calmly rounded and then finished. Steve Borrow, making his debut, made the 3rd with a great turn and pass to set up Peter Stacey, who also rounded the keeper to finish from a tight angle. Wales came to life at the end of the half forcing John Sykes to make an excellent save, but they got their reward when England lost the ball in midfield and then fell asleep, leaving Wales 2 against 1 and some good passing led to a smart finish – 3-1 at half time.
England keeper, John Hammonds was forced into action early in the second half. A lovely move was finished when Graham Collier set up Davies to fire home and make the score 4-1. He nearly completed his hat-trick with a smart turn and shot which was well saved. Peter Stacey had a great shot which hit the post but Davies was there to score his third and make the score 5-1. At times, England kept the ball for long periods of time and were totally dominant and it was clear that Wales were tiring. However, Wales had the last laugh – a combination of their tenacity and England’s lack of concentration led to Wales scoring 2 late goals – twice they were 2 against 1 and on both occasions they finished well – this made the score more respectable than it should have been.
At times, England played some excellent Walking Football – they kept the ball for long periods of time and created many chances. However, Wales hung on in there, never gave up and scored goals at the end of each half to make the final score 5-3.
England MOM – Graham Curry – calm and composed at the back and scored an excellent goal
Wales MOM – their captain – Leslie Thomas
ENGLAND FIRST TEAM OVER 50’S 7 – WALES FIRST TEAM 1
England Over 50’s had an emphatic victory at St Georges Park as they continued their unbeaten run. From early on England had dominated play and prodded several good opportunities and twice rattled the post and bar before a rebound of the keeper was volleyed home by Paul Walton. Though possession continued heavily in England’s favour half time approached and the lead had not increased, a fine save from Rob Keating kept the score at 1-0.
As the second half started there seemed more purpose about England’s play. A smart passing move set up Birmingham’s Mike Milligan who fired home on his debut. Skipper Neil Brown then finished off another fine move to tuck his shot in the corner. Milligan then scored his second and Ian Ward from Pele’s Pearls guided home an inch perfect Browne pass. Four goals in 6 minutes after the restart had totally finished the game as a competition. Some unusually slack defending the let the Wales team open their account with a smart finish in the top corner. England picked up their game once again and with 20 minutes still left to play Leggy Mambo’s Neil Evans completed a brace within 3 minutes to take the score to 7-1. The last 15 minutes played out with England keeping possession for large parts of play. It was difficult to single out performances in this game, England were slick and the quality of their passing and link up play was at times sublime. The more they play together the more their confidence and game improves. On this performance they are going to be difficult to beat and if they stay focussed they can go to Milan next month with a high expectation of a positive result against Italy.
Manager Paul Murtagh said,
“A thoroughly professional and disciplined performance, we moved the ball really well, built pressure in and around the Welsh defense, creating numerous chances throughout the game. Some well taken goals against a much-improved Welsh team that was busy and solid throughout. We will enjoy the result initially, but I feel we can still tidy up certain areas of our game. We have to keep improving and maintain momentum leading up to the Euros.”
A big thank you to Judith Langworthy and Zoe Murtagh for the photos.
BWFC WHITES IN PEOPLES CUP – NORTHAMPTON
Birmingham Walking Football over 50’s team put in a strong performance in the first round of the People’s Cup but ultimately their dreams were shattered in typical BWFC fashion – losing a penalty shootout in the final after a 1-1 draw.
BWFC Whites travelled to Northampton on Saturday, played in seven 5-a-side matches and put in a sterling performance whilst winning five and drawing one, showing great team spirit and hunger for the game.
The maximum 14 teams, mainly from Northamptonshire, turned up on a warm, sunny February day.
Teams were arranged in 3 groups, 2 of 5 and 1 of 4, with the top 8 ranked clubs progressing to the QF knock out stages.
BWFC started impressively with a 7-0 victory over Moulton Masters Reds, taking early control and never taking their foot off the gas, despite losing midfield dynamo Gary Felton to a nasty-looking quad injury.
The next game saw Bedford catch the BWFC defence cold with an early well-worked free kick. Clever game management by the talented Bedford side saw them hold out for a 1-0 win, in spite of Paul Checkley’s shot hitting the post with the keeper well beaten.
This reverse placed pressure on the brummie outfit as they knew that they probably had to win their 2 remaining group games to stay in the tournament.
Their aim was accomplished with aplomb, defeating Moulton Masters Blacks 5-1 and West End FC 2-0. Both matches allowed BWFC to show their tournament experience, totally dominating the opposition by retaining possession for long periods. There was however a comical moment during the game against Blacks when, at 2-0, a speculative, long range shot from the opposition midfielder went some way over the bar, but the ball rebounded and hit Mike the Cat’s head as he completed his (for the camera) dive and ended up in the top corner of his net. Arguably the goal of the tournament!
Played four, won three meant that BWFC had qualified for the last eight as the fourth ranked team.
A comfortable 3-1 Q-F victory over Cobblers’ second team resulted in a rematch with Bedford in the semi-final. This could easily have been the final as most touchline experts (there were quite a few amongst the crowd) believed that this was a matchup between the tournament’s two strongest teams.
The cagey opening exchanges were soon brought to life by a fantastic move involving all five BWFC players, ending with Checkley stabbing home from 15 yards. Clever ball retention frustrated the opposition for long periods thereafter but the run of games in quick succession, coupled with only one fit replacement being available, inevitably saw the impressive Bedford side claw their way back into the game as Birmingham tired. The equaliser duly arrived and, at 1-1 and Bedford in the ascendancy, most neutrals may have considered BWFC’s days were numbered. However, straight from the restart, Mark ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons engineered some space to unleash an unstoppable left foot drive inside the near post. BWFC had 4 minutes to negotiate and clever, disciplined defending saw the game out without alarm. 2-1 to Birmingham!
Cobblers, naturally backed by considerable and vocal local support, awaited Birmingham in the final. The game saw few chances although BWFC did have most of the ball as expected. However, a clever move by Cobblers ended with a fierce strike by their striker beyond the Cat and into the net. Chasing the game, Birmingham raised their fitness levels beyond expectations and their stellar efforts were duly rewarded when another fine Checkley strike levelled the scores. Cobblers seemed to adopt the Chelsea approach and had settled for penalties while BWFC strove for the elusive winner, without success.
After the final whistle, a short impasse followed whilst the organisers deliberated on whether to have extra time or to go straight to penalties. A sensible decision was ultimately made – both teams looked tired (to be fair it appeared that it was nearly bedtime for some!) and the match went to the dreaded shoot out, three kicks each.
The first penalty was scored and the remaining five were all missed. Alas, the only successful strike came from Cobblers and so Birmingham had come up short in cruel fashion, at the final hurdle.
Although this was a huge disappointment there were numerous positives to take from the day.
Mike Taylor-Lane made some unbelievable saves, often at crucial stages of games, to keep BWFC in front.
Stan Payne was the mainstay of the defence, ever reliable and solid in front of the Cat. He seemed to intimidate opponents by his mere presence.
Paul Harris put in an impressive display in an unfamiliar midfield role, scoring goals and also making important tackles when opponents were about to shoot.
Gibbo enhanced his reputation as a top sharp shooter with his ‘fox just outside the box’ skills rightly earning him the golden boot as top scorer. His winning goal in the semi is testament to his abilities.
Super sub and player manager Rob Castle chipped in with some goals, arguably running Gibbo close in the ‘goals per minutes played’ stats!
Special mention must be made of ‘Player of the Competition’ Paul Checkley’s tireless work rate. He covered more miles than anyone else, tracking back to assist the defence but also getting forward to register goals.
Every squad member scored (even Mike!) and the team played in a wonderful spirit, clearly enjoying the experience. There were compliments from more than one of the teams who have invited Birmingham to return to play in other tournaments in the area.
Peoples Cup 2019 Mens Walking Football
International call ups and work commitments meant that a very inexperienced tournament squad played in the Birmingham regional qualifiers of the FA People’s Cup at Star City on Saturday afternoon, only Captain Paul “Pod” Wilson and Gareth Edwards had appeared in BWFC colours before with Damian Mohan, Milan Mazic, Franco Fararrin and Mark Avrill making their debuts with veteran 78 year old Alan Bailey kitted up in case of injury, only 4 teams entered this year so 3 games of 20 minutes followed with the top team qualifying for the next round, in the 1st game against the Wolves Foundation the squad got used to each other’s play and once Pod found the bottom corner from a clever free kick routine the team eased to a 3-0 victory.
The 2nd game against The Roof Top Rascals proved to be a very one-sided affair with the Blues running out 11-0 victors, a complete team performance backstopped with a couple of fine saves by Damian Mohan and quality finishing from Mark Avrill and Milan Mazic.
These results meant that we met last year’s National finalists, Pele Pearls, to decide who progressed, needing only a draw to qualify on goal difference the Blues found themselves 1-0 down early on after getting caught cold from the ko. The Pearls fielding a number of ex pro players doubled their lead before Mark Avrill pulled one back following a fine move involving impressive defender Franco Fararrin and Pod, a case of mistaken identity led to Pod been sent off for 2 minutes, and during this time the Pearls scored another 2 goals, the Blues tried everything they knew to get back into it with a number of chances coming their way, the busy Gareth Edwards was particularly unlucky not to score when his fine drive was tipped over, the final 4-1 score line flattered the Pearls but the Blues can hold their heads high.
Manager Ian Gough said,
“I am very proud of the whole squad, the guys haven’t played together before and to have 4 players making their tournament debuts makes the results even more impressive. Pele’s Pearls will go a long way in the tournament again this year so there is no shame in losing to them in the final”.
Mark Avrill 6
Milan Mazic 6
Paul “Pod” Wilson 3
LADIES WALKING FOOTBALL – PEOPLES CUP 2019
Saturday 23d February 2019
Birmingham WFC Women entered three teams in the new Women’s Walking section of the FA People’s Cup. Birmingham Blues and Reds both received byes as there were insufficient entries at their venues but Birmingham Whites, entered at Nottingham, needed to play against Lincoln Ladies to secure their place in the Regional semi-finals next month … and they did so in style!
With only one game to play, their encounter against Lincoln was to be a 40-minute match of two 20-minute halves. The game was played in a cage which meant few breaks in play and the use of substitutions would be crucial in keeping everyone fresh.
Birmingham started fast with the first goal from Julie coming within the first minute, quickly followed by a hattrick from Jayne to give us a 4-0 lead within the first five minutes. Two further goals from Julie and Dee preceded the first personnel change after about 10 minutes with Denny replacing Jayne. Birmingham scored four further unanswered goals from Dee, Tracy (2) and Julie giving us a 10 – 0 lead prior to another substitution of Jayne for Dee with a few minutes left before half time. Two more goals from Tracy and Jayne resulted in a 12 – 0 half time lead and a welcome few minutes rest.
The second half saw Lincoln change their goalkeeper but not their fortunes. A strong throw-out from Alex in our goal sent the ball up to the other end of the pitch. The Lincoln goalkeeper was unable to control the ball and it ended up in their net giving us a bizarre goal and a 13 – 0 lead. Julie then scored again before Lincoln got their first of the day with a shot beating a partially unsighted Alex in the Birmingham goal. Another substitution saw Dee return to the pitch in place of Tracy and Birmingham added two more goals from Denny. Tracy then replaced Julie in another personnel change and she scored again with Jayne adding another two to increase our lead to 19-1 before Lincoln scored their second goal in the latter stages. Tracy scored what was to be the last goal of the game before replacing Alex in goal and Julie returned to the pitch in place of Jayne for the last few minutes.
Result: 20 – 2
Birmingham Whites therefore progress to the Regional Semi-final round in Peterborough where they will come up against the other midland/east entrants including Birmingham Blues!
An excellent training day warm up for England’s Over 50’s shadow squad took place at Solihull Football Centre last Saturday. The newly formed teams from the North West Region managed by Tony Hartley and Birmingham County FA League were worthy opponents as all six games ended in draws. Goals were hard to come by as defences and goalkeepers were in fine form. England’s shadow squad tried various formations and combinations to ensure the best preparation for the forthcoming international at St Georges Park against Wales. Goals from Nick Morris and Neil Carr against the North West were enough for two 1-1 draws and bizarrely all Birmingham CFA games ended as nil – nil.
After the games England’s Assistant Manager David Castle commented,
“This was a great work out for the lads and really good for the big game in two weeks, Dave Scotney and Rob Pass were particularly impressive for me and with the Neil’s upfront (Davey and Carr) we’ve got so many options. Today was all about looking at alternatives and other ways in which we can play. We only get together every other month so it’s important we use the time wisely. Our opponents were tough and well organised which was exactly what we needed.”
ENGLAND FRIENDLY – 4-1 WIN
In preparation for their forthcoming international against Wales at St Georges Park, England took on a Weston Select Team under the guidance of South West regional manager Lach Geddes. A 4 -1 victory for the National side was considered an excellent workout as the Weston Select Team showed their quality. Captain Neil Browne’s deflected shot put England ahead and goals from the impressive Paul Kirby and Neil Evans meant a comfortable 3 – 0 half time lead.
In the second half England played out various scenarios to ensure their preparation was complete. Andy Billingham latched onto an uncharacteristic mis directed Browne pass to give the visitors a worthy goal. Mark Hooper and David Harris also went close as the visitors pressed hard, a Neil Evans goal with 10 mins left confirmed the victory and ensured their unbeaten run continued, as Paul Walton finished with three impressive unselfish assists… After the game Manager Paul Murtagh commented,
“With missing Brads (Darren Bradley) and Milly (Mike Milligan) it gave us a perfect opportunity for a couple of the guys to have some effective game time. I thought Paul Kirby had his best game for England and Trevor Hanson took his opportunity really well to prove how valuable he can be.”
ENGLAND V EVERTON
ENGLAND OVER 60’S
ENGLAND OVER 50’S
England’s Over 50’s travelled to Goodison Park last week in a Prostrate Cancer awareness day and finished the day with 5 wins from 5 games and with 17 goals for and none against. Wins over two Everton and Wigan representative sides and the England Over 60’s meant a clean sweep for the impressivequinquagenarians.
Goals from Neil Evans 6, Nick Morris 5, Paul Walton 2, Mike Milligan 2, & Neil Brown 2, were testament to their free-flowing passing game. Debutant Milligan was particularly impressive with his break up play and organisation. Darren Bradley was his usual commanding self at the back as England once again kept a clean sheet with goalkeeper Trevor Hanson only called upon for a limited amount of times as England’s positional play kept all opposition at bay.
After the match Assistant 50’s Manager David Castle said,
“Seeing these guys play together more and more is beginning to reap rewards, we were impressive throughout today, sometimes the opposition were simply blown away, I think with work on our finishing we would have scored even more. I love how solid we look, apart from a couple of shots our defensive work from the halfway line was so impressive, we need to keep improving and the ability of the players and the self-belief will continue to grow”.
BWFC V COUNTY FA
Birmingham Over 50’s took on the best that the County FA League had to offer in a round robin tournament and ended up winning on goals scored after all the keenly fought matches ended in draw.
Missing some key players due to injury and unavailability Birmingham started against the reds and immediately fell behind to an opportunist goal from Brendan Maxwell after an uncharacteristic mistake from Ian Ward as he dilly dallied on the edge of the box. A fine Dave Wright effort brought the Brummies level on the stroke of half time with a trademark turn and blistering left foot shot easily beating the forlorn keeper. Scores remained at 1-1 despite Birmingham hit the metalwork three times through Ade Whitehead Darren Bradley and Ian Ward.
In the second game another 1-1 draw ensued as Birmingham finished the game as the walking wounded with only 5 fit men available. Dave Wright gave Birmingham the lead with a fortunate shot which hit keeper post and trickled over the line to give them the lead. A previous injury to the energetic John Mcgillan meant that they were already at the bare bones and in scoring Wright had damaged his thigh. David Castle and Heath Underwood in goal defended admirably but could not stop a Copeland drive been collected by Gough to make no mistake. Once again though he post denied Birmingham twice with Ian Ward and Ade Whitehead rattled the goals.
P W D L F A Pts
Birmingham 2 2 2 2 2
County FA Red 2 2 1 1 2
County FA Blue 2 2 1 1 2
Afterwards Skipper David Castle commented,
“It was great to get back to some competitive football after a bit of a weird year last year, we hadn’t played together for a long while I know all the lads really enjoyed it. It’s a shame about the injuries, but that’s the nature of football, we need to get everyone fit and ready to look forward to the future.”
B’HAM LEAGUE LOSS FOR OVER 60’S
Sunday saw BWFC over 60’s play Harthill in their next league match held at Boldmere. Birminghams depleted team weren’t strong enough for the well drilled Hartshill side but remain top on goal difference despite the 2-0 loss.
MIDLAND LEAGUE OVER 60’S WIN
The Over 60s completed a hard-fought win over Coleshill 2-0 in Round 4 of the Midland League with a brace of goals, one in each half from John McG both truly struck giving the keeper no chance.
The pattern of play was disrupted by injuries with Martin E and Roy W both having to leave the action early and the benefit of having subs available was a boon to the team. Paul Feeney came on to mark his return to competitive action and looked like he had never been away. Brendan and Dave W shared the forward duties and worked hard against a resolute Coleshill defence. Keith L also returned to the team with a solid performance going close with a couple of shots.
Coleshill created several chances but were thwarted by Man of the Match Les D in goal who pulled off some stunning saves. The team played better football as the game wore on are starting to get used to each other’s style of play and should really have taken more chances as game went on.
The team after 4 games are now top of the league as Hartshill lost to an ever-improving Bedworth. Next up top of the table clash with Hartshill.
OVER 60’S CHRISTMAS FRIENDLY
Well done to our BWFC team who yesterday in horrendous weather conditions, played in their annual Christmas friendly against Coleshill at the Solihull Football Centre. Particular mention of thanks to John Limbourne who stood in the rain and cold for an hour plus and ensured all the players had equal playing time.
They played some good football at times and coped well with the necessary changes of people not playing in best position to allow fair game time.
The Referee did well, was consistent with decision making and let game flow when needed and didn’t get in the way!
The 4-0 win yesterday means that we retained the Ray Usher Memorial Cup for another year. We have returned the trophy to Ray’s family for safe keeping and we will play again for it next year. After the match all the players from both teams shared a pint in the club!
OVER 60’S BCWFL MATCH WIN
Sunday 9th saw the over 60’s play their last Birmingham County Walking Football league match of the year away against Shard End. The team came home triumphant with a well deserved 3-2 WIN (Brendan 1 and Steve Evans 2). Congratulations to all who took part!
HARTSHILL STROLLERS 3 3 0 0 7 0 9 7
BIRMINGHAM WFC 3 3 0 0 9 3 9 6
BEDWORTH UNITED 3 2 0 1 5 2 6 3
COLESHILL STROLLERS 3 1 0 2 3 4 3 -1
SHARD END 3 0 0 3 2 7 0 -5
BOLDMERE ST M 3 0 0 3 1 11 0 -10
WESTON SUPER MARE +70’S TOURNAMENT
On Sunday Alan Hanbury took a team of our over 70’s to Weston Super Mare for a competitive tournament against Cirencester, Clevedon, Eastleigh, and the hosts Weston. The team drew two and lost two unfortunately, but this was the first time the guys had played together so not bad considering. Well done and thanks to the team for supporting BWFC.
…………………….P W D L F A Pts
CIRENCSTR 4 2 2 0 2 0 8
WSM 4 1 3 0 4 1 6
EASTLGH 4 1 2 1 4 2 5
CLEVEDON 4 1 1 2 4 6 4
B’HAM 4 0 2 2 0 5 2
BWFC V BEDWORTH 2-0 WIN
On Sunday BWFC took a team of Over 60’s to play in a league match against Bedworth.
BWFC had about 65% possession throughout the game and once they settled down both Barry and John put in great performances for the team.
Bedworth had an early chance in the first half but was superbly saved by Les’ legs! The team rallied and came home with a 2-0 win after an own goal from a Bedworth player and a free kick goal from John McGinnell on his debut.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION WALKING FOOTBALL FESTIVAL
Phil (defence), John (defence), Roger (midfeld), Jim (striker), Billy (goalkeeper), Steve (sub striker), David (sub goalkeeper), Mick (midfielder) and Paul (manager)
Last week BWFC took two teams to West Bromwich Albions indoor training pitch to take part in a walking football festival, a disability team and an over 50’s team. It was the first time BWFC had entered a disability team into any kind of competitive arena and the first time the team had played together!
Other teams had players who were predominantly younger than our team and few with any outward signs of physical disability. Our team went into the games fearing that they were going to get beaten. However, they won all their games and only conceded 1 goal. Superior passing ability, guile, Captain Billy’s ‘geeing up’ from the back, Jim’s goal scoring prowess and ‘years and years’ of experience saw us through in all the games!
Manager Paul Murtagh commented;
“Although disability walking football is a relatively new concept this is an area we at BWFC want to develop and support in line with our clubs inclusion policy. Hopefully this type of festival will encourage others to try this new sport and open the game to as many people as possible.”
Over 50’s Team
In a turbulent day at West Bromwich, Birmingham’s Over 50’s came away with a successful day without conceding a goal. They started with two comprehensive 2-0 wins against Weston and WBA with a brace apiece from David Wright and Martin Evans. This was followed by a tight affair with Hartshill A where the deadlock could not be broken.
Local rivals Aston Villa were next up boasting former European Cup winner Des Bremner in their ranks. Two more from Wright ensured they were dispatched with some ease. Great work in the midfield from Kev Mann, Rod Thompson and John McGinnell provide the prolific Wright with numerous opportunities. Heath Underwood had had little to do in goal but made two excellent saves to deny the Villa forward line.
Their final fixture in the round robin saw them dominate possession as they beat Hartshill B 1-0 with yet another Wright goal. In the semi finals, the two Hartshill teams were to meet and Aston Villa were drawn against the unbeaten and seemingly impregnable Birmingham side. In the first minute David Castle fed Wright to once again slot home with a comprehensive finish. With Bham 1-0 up the game was then interrupted following an altercation between players, after an agreement between both teams and the tournament organiser, it was decided the game was to be decided with a penalty shoot out which Birmingham won.
The final was therefore between Birmingham and Hartshill B who triumphed in a penalty shootout in their semi final against their own A team.
In a day of continual surprises Hartshill’s Manager decided that his team did not want to play the final much to the amazement of both the organisers and Birmingham.
Player Manager David Castle said,
“It was a bit of a strange day. We had a team that had not played together before and we gelled well but for me Martin Evans was the stand out player, I’d never seen him play before and thought he was quality. The incident in the semi final was blown out of all proportion but an amicable resolution was agreed and concluded by all parties concerned. We were all genuinely surprised by Hartshill’s decision not to want to play the final”
OVER 60s SEASON GETS OFF TO A FLYING START!
Last week saw BWFCs over 60’s play their first league game of the season against Boldmere. The first half of the game was fairly evenly matched score wise but Birmingham missed a lot of chances.
The second half was a completely different story with Birmingham turning their second half possession into goals running out 4-1 winners with Dave Whatmore (2), Martin Evans (1) and man of the match by a shade Roy Williams (1) all getting on the score sheet. A great start to the season guys!
NATIONAL FIRST FOR OVER 70’S
Last Sunday BWFC sent a team of over 70’s to Nottingham to play in the first ever over 70’s walking football tournament. Although the team didn’t progress as well as they’d hoped it was an enjoyable experience for all concerned, as well as a learning curve for a possible future tournament in Cirencester in March. This was only the second time the team had played together and big thanks goes out to Bill who didn’t get to play but took up the role of manager. Scores were as follows;
BWFC 1-1 with Sheffield United – Draw
BWFC 0-2 Portsmouth (the eventual winners) – Loss
BWFC 0-0 Eastleigh – Draw
BWFC 0-0 Wales – Won that in a penalty shootout (Goalkeeper Geoffrey Harman saved 3 out of 4 pens)
Players – Geoffrey Harman, Alan Bailey, Dave Adams, Derek Adderley, Jim Murtagh, John Robb, Billy Pears, Roy Atkins, Steve Cash.
OVER 65’S TOURNAMENT SUCCESS
BWFC hosted their first Over 65’s Walking Football Festival at Solihull on Tuesday 9th October. With one team pulling out at fairly short notice, Birmingham, Abbeymead Rovers from Gloucester and Aston Villa were left to compete for the Champions spot. Each team played each other twice, in matches consisting 20 minutes each straight through.
B’ham and Abbeymead contested the first match which ended in a spirited 0 – 0 draw. Both sides played some excellent passing football but were unable to break each other down. There were however a couple of chances created by both sides but the two opposing goalkeepers excelled to keep the score at 0 – 0. With only a few minutes left to the end of the match, B’ham were awarded a penalty when a Rovers defender encroached into his own area. Unfortunately for B’ham the Abbeymead goalkeeper got down smartly to his right to keep out Birmingham’s well struck penalty.
Match number 2 was contested by Abbeymead and Aston Villa. Again chances were at premium and the defences and midfields were in charge although both goalkeepers had to make one or two superb saves to avoid defeat for their teams in the early stages of the Tournament.
Villa took the field again in Match 3 against Birmingham. This time Birmingham got off to a more secure start. A change of formation from 3 – 2 – 1 to 2 – 3 – 1 enabled them to take charge of the midfield area and create chances for Dave Whatmore 1 and Decca Thorp 3 to score the goals to give B’ham a comfortable 4 – 0 win.
Next up for B’ham were Abbeymead in the reverse fixture. Again this was a closely contested affair. B’ham spurred on by their 4 – 0 win over Aston Villa in their previous match attacked Rovers from the start and pinned them back in their own half for considerable amounts of time. Decca had one shot that was destined for the back of the net magnificently saved by the Rovers goalkeeper and at the other end, Bart O’Shea making his debut in the team, kept B’ham afloat with a tremendous flying save to palm the ball away to safety. Final score B’ham 0 – 0 Abbeymead.
Match 5 was contested between Abbeymead and Aston Villa. This time comfortable 2 – 0 win for Rovers. Villa were not a very mobile team but showed a lot of skill and determination in their play. Their passing was accurate and crisp for the most part but they just lacked the cutting edge up front which may have brought them some success their efforts deserved.
Final match was B’ham v Aston Villa. Needing only a draw to win the competition B’ham went again with the same attacking formation that had served them well in previous matches and this resulted in a comfortable 3 – 0 win with the goals being scored by Dave Whatmore 1 and Decca Thorp 2.
There were some very good performances by a number of players from all sides that took part, but everyone agreed that special mention should be made of the three goalkeepers.
So well done to all three and in particular Bart who stepped in to replace unavailable Keith Phipps doing a magnificent job of keeping 4 clean sheets. Well done Bart.
The whole competition was played in magnificent spirit and was very well refereed by Doug Carroll from Mansfield.
BWFC LADIES WIN IN NOTTINGHAM – 30/9/18
*REPORT TO FOLLOW*
ENGLAND SLAY WELSH DRAGONS 8/9/18
England’s Over 50’s and 60’s First team and shadow squad completed excellent victories over the newly formed Welsh squads at Jenner Park, the home of Barry Town.
In only the second minute they opened the scoring with a retaken penalty by Herne Bay’s Neil Davey. For long periods England dominated and a string of fine saves from Wales’s keeper and man of the match Gareth Richards kept a Nick Morris pile driver and attempts from Davey and Jefferson Simon from them doubling their lead. Peter Henry was creating numerous chances from midfield with great nervy and tenacity and on the stroke of half time a deflected shot from Paul Derbyshire saw the Leggy Mambo’s defender open his international account. The second half was much the same as Wales had no answer to the slick passing and movement of the well drilled England team. Two fine saves from Heath Underwood in the England goal kept out any threat and then twice Wales were penalised for overzealous challenges. The England side took full advantage with Leeds Titan’s Nick Morris finishing off a fine 5 man move and the impressive Dave Scotney converting another for a 4-0 lead. Captain Simon Sheppard rounded of the scoring with a superb long range effort finding the corner. After the game Coach David Castle commented,
“It was an excellent all round performance today, they lads gelled so well together, there is such a great attitude here with everyone working for each other. It’s great for these guys pressing for inclusion in the first team squad with I guess the Euros in June next year being the real target.”
In the main event, England were unchanged following their impressive 2-0 victory over Italy in Brighton and started with two goals in the first 10 minutes, first a Paul Walton shot from a rebound opened the scoring and then Leggy Mambo’s teammate Neil Evans made it two nil. Darren Bradley was once again controlling the play from deep as he linked superbly with Captain Neil Brown and Dave Norton to supply chances for the forwards. Norton tested the keeper with a number of well hit shots which were well saved by keeper Ed Allan. The Wales team were struggling with the passing and movement and had trouble controlling the rampant English. Employing some rather aggressive tactics the game became a little disjointed as the referee struggled to keep a lid on proceedings. As the away side made several changes their flow was interrupted and Rob Keating was called on to make two excellent saves before half time. Leading two nil at half time Manager Paul Murtagh continued to use his rolling substitutes, Paul Kirby and Ian Ward coming in for some particularly rough treatment from the Welsh defenders. With seven minutes remaining Bradley fed Norton on the left and a smart turn and shot put the game beyond doubt. Ian Ward had an excellent opportunity to make it 4-0 but his shot struck the crossbar, the last few minutes were about England keeping possession and ensuring their winning run continued. Dave Norton was duly named man of the match and afterwards Paul Murtagh commented,
“I thought it was another assured performance from this ‘young’ team. We picked up from where we left off against Italy with a dominant display of possession walking football. Subsequently creating a number of good opportunities and scoring from 2 of them early on, really settled the team down. We tinkered a little bit with the team during the middle period which allowed Wales to come back into it momentarily as they employed a more physical and robust style to try to unsettle us. I still never really thought the result was ever in doubt and we finished as strongly as we’d started. Probably should have had more goals to show for our efforts but we gelled again nicely overall and look forward to our next opponents, whoever that maybe. Confidence is high in the camp with us yet to concede a goal so, whoever the next challenge is, we’re up for it.”
EFL TRUST WOMEN’S WALKING FOOTBALL CUP
Held at St Georges Park on Saturday 4th August
BWFC Women were approached by Birmingham City Community Trust to represent the Blues in the first ever EFL Cup for women. We were invited because one of our members, Sue Hector, was recently involved with Birmingham City Women in organising their 50th birthday celebrations.
The tournament was for over 40s and over 50s teams and, due to holiday commitments, we decided to send just an over 50s team to take part.
We arrived at St Georges Park to find six clubs were entered; Birmingham City, represented by ourselves, Bradford City represented by Rothwell Old Boars over 50s, Lincoln City represented by Lincoln Lady Imps over 40s, Preston North End represented by Preston over 40s and Crawley Town who were represented by Crawley Old Girls over 40s and over 50s. The EFL decided to make the tournament a combined age event with all teams playing each other in a round-robin league format. The top three teams would then play off against each other for the Cup and the bottom three play each other for the Plate, the outcome of each mini-tournament being decided on points and possibly goal difference.
Our first game of the day was against Preston over 40s. BWFC got off to a slow start, taking a few minutes to settle and Kelly O’Donnell in goal was called upon to make a smart save but as time went on, we had more of the play and had a couple of good chances ourselves. However, the allotted 10-minute game finished at 0-0.
Second up were Crawley over 40s and we were one up in a minute with a goal by Sue Moogan. BWFC were dominant throughout with our goalkeeper hardly involved and a second goal from Dee Reade after 7 minutes completed the scoring, the game finishing 2-0 to us.
Our third game was against Bradford and a meeting with Rothwell Old Boars over 50s. We made a change for this game, swapping goalkeeper Kelly with Sally Barber, to allow Kelly to play as an outfield player. What followed was another dominant performance with Sue Moogan scoring 2 minutes in and following up with a further two goals to complete her hat trick and a good 3-0 victory.
Game 4 was against Lincoln over 40s and again, Sally played in goal with Kelly playing as a striker. Sue Moogan scored after 2 mins and Kelly followed up with a second two minutes later. Sue added a third after 7 minutes and a final goal from Kath Broadfield gave BWFC another victory – this time 4-0.
Our final game of this first stage was against Crawley over 50s and we reverted to our original line-up for what we expected to be a tight game. Crawley proved to be stiff opposition – this was a game between two well organised teams with neither giving anything away and it finished a 0-0 draw.
The final table for this part of the day saw Preston finish with 14 points, Birmingham with 11 and Crawley over 50s with 10. These three teams would play each other again for the Cup with Bradford, Lincoln and Crawley over 40s playing for the Plate.
The first game in the Cup competition was Birmingham against Crawley over 50s with an identical outcome to the game in the first part of the competition – a tight 0-0 draw. Immediately, we then played our second game against Preston. This proved to be another close affair with few chances either end but the game was finally decided when Lorraine Robinson scored, giving us a 1-0 victory and a total of 4 points overall. The final game of the day between Crawley and Preston to decide the overall outcome was a tense affair. A 0-0 score would mean we won overall, a Preston victory would mean we won overall, a win of 2-0 or better for Crawley would mean that they won overall and a 1-0 to Crawley would leave us and Crawley all square on points, goal difference and goals scored … and, of course, it finished 1-0 to Crawley!
The final destination of the Cup would rest on a penalty shoot-out between ourselves and Crawley. Dee won the toss and elected for us to go first. Sue Moogan had her shot saved but Crawley’s first penalty was wide so all square after round 1.
Second up for us was Lorraine – who scored to the keeper’s left and Crawley’s second penalty was brilliantly saved by Kelly – advantage Birmingham.
Our final penalty taker was Captain Dee Reade – who scored to the keeper’s right giving us an unassailable 2-0 lead
… and victory! A super day – undefeated and without a single goal being conceded, including in the penalty shoot-out. A brilliant effort from everyone.
BWFC WOMEN RULE!
Birmingham Walking Football Club entered two teams into this year’s Dick Kerr Ladies Cup held at UCLan, Preston on a very hot Sunday 8th July. This was the second year this 6-a-side competition has been held with last year’s being the very first national women’s walking football tournament.
Our Over 40s squad of 7, comprised of Caroline Reid, Truly Griffin, Allison Wayley, Lorraine Robinson, Kelly O’Donnell, Sonya Compton and Alexa Davies, who competed with six other teams in a league format with the top four qualifying for the final playoffs. Birmingham opened with a 5-1 victory against Lancashire Law School and this was followed by a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United (last year’s winners) and a 1-1 draw against Bolton Ambassadors. The morning’s final game saw us run out 7-0 victors against Poolfoot Belles, leaving us in a strong position for a playoff place but with Alexa’s ankle swollen badly. The injury meant she could play no further part and the squad was reduced to a bare 6 with no substitutes for the remaining games and our final two league games after lunch to be played back-to-back. However, Birmingham were victorious in both games – a 3-0 victory against Sheffield United and a feisty 1-0 win against Phoenix. This saw us complete our programme in second place overall on goal difference and with a semi-final against Phoenix, who finished third, as our reward!
Birmingham went on to win this hard-fought semi-final against Phoenix 2-0 which meant a place in the final against Newcastle United who were defending champions. Birmingham’s Kelly O’Donnell scored first but Newcastle came back to equalise minutes later. Newcastle then scored again following a free kick move which allowed their leading goal scorer a long range shot. Caroline was unsighted by defending players and the ball flew into the net giving Newcastle the lead. Birmingham pressed hard for the remainder of the game and Caroline made some incredible saves to prevent Newcastle increasing their lead but it was not to be. Birmingham finished as Runners up.
Our Over 50s squad of 9 – Sue Insall, Dee Reade, Karen Sharman, Sue Moogan, Jan Trigg, Anne Ross, Tracy Dudwell, Sally Barber and Kath Broadfield were up against 3 other teams and played each twice, meaning 6 games in a league format.
Our first game was against Rothwell Old Boars and Birmingham ran out a 6-1 victory (goals from Tracy 3, Sue M, Dee and Sally). In our second match against Rossendale, we conceded two quick goals but found another gear and scored three ourselves without further reply for a hard fought 3-2 victory (goals from Sue M, 3). The final game of the morning session was a 5-0 victory against Preston (goals from Sue M, 3, Tracy, 2).
The afternoon session saw us complete a further three games against the same teams. First up again were Rothwell with Birmingham winning 4-1 (goals from Sue M, 2, Jan and Kath). Next up was the reverse fixture against Rossendale who had proved to be our stiffest opposition in the first round of games. We knew that anything but a loss would leave us in a very strong position and indeed this was the outcome with neither side being able to achieve a break-through and a 0-0 resulting. Final game was against Preston. They had lost their goalkeeper with a serious wrist injury earlier and asked if we would object to a ‘guest’ keeper playing as they had no substitute players. We had no issue with this and even with their young stand-in keeper playing, Birmingham finished with a 6-0 victory (goals from Sue M, 3, Kath, 2 and Dee). This completed the Over 50s competition and Birmingham finished up undefeated with 16 points from a possible 18 and WINNERS!
Over 50’s Manager Sue Thomas said, “Congratulations to EVERYONE who took part, the over 50s for bringing back the very first trophy for the Women’s section and the Over 40s for finishing runners up to a very good Newcastle side, and who played their last four games with no substitutes available virtually back-to-back. You were all brilliant; it was an honour and pleasure to be with you.”
Whilst England’s heroes in Russia bask in the winning of penalty shoot outs and banishing hoodoos from the past four Birmingham teams turned out for the County FA Cup competition at Bedworth United in blistering heat as x2 over 50’s teams and x2 60’s teams played a total of 16 games conceding only two goals between them.
Birmingham’s own Achilles heel came back to haunt them as they lost the finals in both age groups on penalties.
In the over 50’s injury and unavailability due to holidays and work had left both the Blues and Whites short of key men that meant two virtually untried teams lined up in the respective groups.
Blues completed three comfortable victories 1-0 2-0 and 3-0 Ian Ward going nap hand and a single goal from Mick Richards. The whites had mixed fortunes with a 1-0 win and a 1-0 loss, but still progressed to the semi final stage, their goal coming from Mark Gibbons, Mike Taylor Lane in goal pulling off some fine saves as they beat Wyndley.
The two teams then met in the semi final, a tight game ensued and only Ian Ward’s penalty putting the Blues through.
The final was always going to be tight, both Hartshill and the Blues hit a post before, the Blues eventually were beaten 3-2 on penalties.
Ward was top scorer on the day with his return of 6 (4 better than any other player.)
Steve White’s sixties managed a passage through to the semi final with a win and two draws and John Limbourne’s team were unfortunate as 3 0-0 draws meant an early exit.
A semi final against league winners Coleshill was won on penalties following the group campaign with 3 tight games with a 1-0 win v Shard End and two x 0-0 draws, Roy Williams striking a great shot past the keeper for the winner
The final against Hartshill was again very tight the seemingly inevitable 0-0 draw was again followed by penalties and once again we were more Henderson than Trippier so another 3-2 defeat followed.
Manager David Castle commented, “It seems unbelievable that both the 50’s and 60’s can go through a tournament and not let in a goal but finish runners up. There were so many people who made their debuts for the club today and they have all done us proud. Perhaps I need to speak to Paul about having a separate session for practicing penalties!”
WFA Over 65’s National Cup Competition. Birmingham WFC 1 Hartshill Strollers 3.
Birmingham Over 65’s went down to a disappointing defeat against Hartshill Strollers in the 2nd Round of the WFA National Cup.
On a scorching hot day at Solihull, Birmingham did not start well and found themselves 2 goals to nil down by half time, the first goal for Hartshill coming from a deflection off the arm of a Birmingham defender and the second as a result of some slack marking in defence.
At the other end Birmingham made at least three good scoring chances in the first half but could not find their way past the Hartshill goalkeeper who was in inspired form. Then, just after halftime, Birmingham pulled a goal back through striker Decka Thorp to give themselves hope that they may be able to salvage something from the match.
However another defensive mistake from a corner let in Hartshill for their third goal and the score remained at 1 – 3 until the final whistle.
BIRMINGHAM RETAIN COUNTY LEAGUE
Birmingham Over 50’s Blues retained the County FA Walking Football League on a blistering hot day at Tamworth FC.
A 2-0 success over Wyndley with goals from Ian Ward and David Wright, was followed by a hard fought 1-1 draw with Sutton’s Finest, where Sutton took the lead with a smartly worked goal. Heath Underwood had no answer in goal as he let in his first goal for the club after 5 consecutive clean sheets. Birmingham pressed hard as shots from Dave Norton, Wright and Ward all rattled the post and bar. Finally some great interlink play between Norton and John Mcginnell saw Mcginnell slot home his first for the club.
Knowing two wins in the last two games would mean retaining the title Birmingham seemed to settle down, a further two goals from the diminutive Ward and a single from Wright saw Bedworth United off with a 3-0 success.
The final game against an inexperienced Birmingham Whites was a fairly one sided affair. Darren Bradley continued his run of scoring important goals set Birmingham on the perfect trail and Wright’s smart finish confirmed their superiority and retention of the coveted shield.
After the game Manager Dave Norton said, “After a terrible start where we lost our first three games, we have shown a completely professional attitude and performance. Our aim was to qualify for the League of Champions Trophy which we won last year and that has been achieved. As a club we always need to move forward and with Heath and John as important new additions to the squad I firmly believe we have.”
Birmingham Whites finally ran out of steam in the heat in Staffordshire, ravaged by injuries with only Keeper Derek Hughes and defensive stalwart Stan the only players available from the original squad. Stand in Manager Gareth Edwards had players with individual quality but who had played very little football together. They acquitted themselves in very difficult circumstances and completed the 12 game season only letting in 5 goals, finishing only one point behind Coleshill Strollers in fourth place.
Club Captain David Castle commented, “I think overall the Whites have had a great season, it’s been really hard for Gareth and the guys today, some have played either no or very little competitive Walking Football, and we all know what a massive learning curve that is. They have more than held their own in every game and have done the club proud. There are no easy games here it’s a hard fought league. They missed the creativity of Pod and Buttons today but for work rate and endeavor they could not have done more. “
BIRMINGHAM LEAGUE MATCHES – SECOND ROUND OVER 60’S
Birmingham WF traveled to a blisteringly hot Castle Vale for the second round of fixtures in the Midlands League.
The team was buoyed by the return of a specialist keeper and striker and two debutantes who fitted in well.
The first game was against old rivals Hartshill and Birmingham were pleased that Les D was back in goal as in the early minutes he touched a goal bound effort from England squad member, John Cooper on to the post.
After this the game became very cagey with neither side able to carve out any further decent chances and the game ended 0-0. The second game was against Shard End and despite having most of the play Birmingham were unable to strike a goal and missed the opportunity to win their first game when a penalty struck the post. Another 0-0.
The third game was against a lively Bedworth team and both teams cancelled each other out and the game ended 0-0.
The final game was against Coleshill with two players succumbing to injury and heat Birmingham fielded their only seven fit players. The game started badly for Birmingham when a speculative shot deflected off Frank and wrong-footed Les in goal. Birmingham pressed for most of the game and were eventually rewarded when a long shot from Frank was fumbled into the net for a deserved leveler. 1-1.
Played 7, Drew 6, Lost 1.
Thanks to all the team for their efforts in tropical conditions with Phil R, Trevor and Gus acquitting themselves well against competitive teams.
The next round is at Tamworth on June 3rd.
BIRMINGHAM GET THEIR MOJO BACK – LEAGUE
Birmingham Blues Over 50’s climbed their way to the top of the Birmingham County FA League as they had their most successful day since the heady heights of becoming National Champions. Reeling from 3 defeats from 3 in their opening fixtures they completed their 5th 1-0 success on the bounce, to head the division and put themselves in a great position to retain their title. Table topping Hartshill Strollers were their first victims, as a Shane Ward follow up from Brother Ian Ward’s parred effort opened the scoring. Player Manager Dave Norton was hitting his straps as he pulled the strings in midfield continually creating chances for Ian Ward to show great skill in holding play up. A comfortable success to gain a massive 3 points on the league leaders was their just rewards.
Coleshill Strollers were the next opponents and a great spin and shot from Ian Ward settled it, John Mcgullian making his debut with impressive touches and movement inadvertently stepping into the area gave Coleshill a life line. New signing Heath Underwood showed his class with a great penalty save and followed it up with a last minute tip over to keep the Brummies winning streak intact. In their third game Bedworth had no answer to the now fast flowing football a Dave Norton wonder strike put Birmingham in command and despite x3 shots from Ian Ward hitting the woodwork, they were unable to extend their lead that their superiority deserved.
The final game was against the Birmingham Whites who were at the time the only unbeaten team in the league with 3 wins and 4 draws. Try as they might Blues struggled to break down Simon Dyer’s well marshalled defence, until with only moment remaining Dave Norton once again produced a blistering shot which beat a perplexed Derek Hughes in the Whites goal.
After their 5th 1-0 win a row, Manager Dave Norton commented “Skip (Dave Castle) and Ade (Whitehead) gave us a great platform, that is the most solid we have looked for ages, Heath made a really solid and assured debut in goal. John made a really good start he’s on a massive learning curve, but he’s got something we can work with. The Wardy’s just give us that little bit of class, we’ve turned it around so well, we were 7 points adrift today at the start and now we are two points clear, we couldn’t have wished for it to go any better”
BWFC DEFEAT HOLLAND BUT LOSE WORLD CROWN TO SCOTLAND ON SUDDEN DEATH PENALTIES!!
BWFC again represented England Over 65’s in the Super Veterans 5 a side Walking Football World Cup which was held in Bristol on May 12th.
The format was different from the previous year when BWFC won the Cup when they topped the table after a round robin of matches.
This year the two top teams had to compete in a playoff final.
England began their campaign against Wales in a bid to retain the Trophy they won 12 months ago.
After a slow start England settled into their pass and move game which stretched their opponents and the inevitable England goal arrived from the boot of Derek “Decka” Thorpe.
Result: England 1 – 0 Wales. A good steady start to the competition.
England’s second match was against Scotland, and this turned out to be a very tough encounter indeed with some very dubious tackles and overzealous challenges going unpunished by the referee who at times seemed to have no regard for the safety of the participants.
Scoring chances were scarce and when players from both sides did manage to get their shots away the two goalkeepers were at their best to frustrate the opposition. Because of this, it was probably no surprise that the game ended England 0 – 0 Scotland.
Next up for England were Canada who seemed to have recruited one or two players from the West Midlands area. Again this was a hotly contested match. Canada seemed to have done their homework on their opponents and targeted England’s strike force of Decka and Malcolm Thorp for special attention. This was a big mistake. With Barry Huntington in great form at the back, England’s John Crampton (BWFC’s answer to Martin Peters) ventured forward and ghosted in at the left side of the penalty box to sweep home the winning goal. Result: England 1 – 0 Canada.
Now it was time for the big one. England v Holland!!
Holland arrived at the competition with every intention of winning it and showed it by putting more than a little aggression into their play. They had four Dutch former full Internationals from their 1974 and 1978 World Cup Final team. One of them Kees Kist was the Winner of the 1979 European Golden Boot Award!!
England adopted a close marking strategy to the game by not giving the technically adept Dutch any time on the ball. It worked very well. England harried the Holland team out of possession time and again and then went about their own pass and move game and kept possession of the ball extremely well. Within 8 minutes England were 2 – 0 up courtesy of two goals from Decka Thorp ably assisted by every member of side. Shortly after, the Dutch pulled a goal back. Superb build up play allowed them to get within striking distance of England’s goal and Kees Kist added to his tournament tally by rifling an unstoppable shot past the England goalkeeper Keith Phipps into the far corner of the goal. The ball hit the net support and rebounded back into play. The referee pronounced no goal, much to the surprise and anger of the Dutch players. He appeared to think the shot had hit the goalpost. At this point a member of the media team from Holland covering the event appeared with a video camera and showed the referee evidence that the ball had indeed entered the goal. There was no mention in the rules of VAR being used at the Tournament but no-one in the England camp complained as they wanted to beat the Dutch fair and square. The referee then, quite rightly in everyone’s view, reversed his decision and awarded the goal to Holland making the score 2 – 1 to England. However within minutes another sustained attack by England resulted in Decka completing a well deserved Hat Trick after being on the receiving end of some rough treatment from ex World Cup team member Dick Schoenaker.
With around 3 – 4 minutes left on the referees watch Kist scored again to make it 3 – 2, but the England players did not let this deflate them and carried on fighting to the end to record a memorable victory.
Team Player / Manager John Limbourne said “This was probably the best performance I have seen from this side. We played very well last year to win the trophy, but had to be at our very best this year to beat the Dutch and qualify for the Final and that is exactly what we were”
Result: England 3 – 2 Holland.
The win over Holland guaranteed England a place in the Final against the Scots irrespective of the result against their last opponents Gibraltar. England took this opportunity to rest three players in this game, Malcom, Decka, and Barry Huntington who was nursing a sore knee from the first match against Wales. Although hampered by this he played a sterling part in holding England together at the back. Malcolm had been battered all through the tournament and deserved a rest. In came Player Manager John Limbourne, Del Whitmore and Dave Burgess.
England played very well defensively and in attack, but could make little headway against a surprisingly well organised Gibraltar team. Towards the end of the game a shot from John Limbourne was destined for the top corner but was deflected by the upraised knee of an opponent.
Result: England 0 – 0 Gibraltar.
FINAL: England V Scotland
And so to the final match of this year’s competition against the “Old Enemy “
The rules of this competition seemed to allow shoulder charges, heavy tackles from the side and also SLIDING BLOCKS!! Scotland took every opportunity to take advantage of this in an effort to knock England out of their impressive stride.
In what turned out to be a rather feisty match England matched their opponents desire to win the ball in all areas of the pitch and let their superior passing game take its toll on the Scots.
However, after pressure from England and one or two good saves by the Scottish goalkeeper, Scotland took advantage of some slack marking by England and their very agile centre forward took his one on one chance to put Scotland up 1 – 0.
England then made two substitutions with John Limbourne taking over from Malcolm Thorp and Dave Burgess coming on for John Crampton.
The fresh legs seemed to make a difference as England continued to attack and with 3 minutes left on the referees watch, John Limbourne was left in space and he made no mistake with a powerful left foot shot that beat the goalkeeper at the near post. 1 – 1 and all to play for but unfortunately Father Time caught up with them and the match went to penalties to decide the winners.
The penalties stage of the match finished all square at 2 – 2 with both sides having 1 penalty saved by the respective goalkeepers.
The match then had to be decided by sudden death penalties. England had their first penalty saved when the Scottish goalkeeper deflected a goal bound effort over the bar. Scotland converted their next kick to win the tournament and take the World Cup back north of the border.
Player Manager John said after the game “I am proud of all the players today. Everyone gave everything they had. We were unbeaten in the round robin stage of the competition for the second successive year and we were only beaten in the final on sudden death penalties. Well done to Scotland, but the trophy is only on loan until Paris 2019 “
Some consolation for England was that ironically, they beat Scotland 4 – 3 in the separate Penalty Shoot Out Competition to retain the Trophy they won in 2017.
ENGLAND SETS THE BAR
On a momentous day in Brighton, England won the first Walking Football International against Italy 2-0. The England Management Team of Paul Murtagh, David Norton, and Dave Castle were delighted as the hard work and planning came together.
After only one short training session the day before some of their link play was superb. A dominant first half display where Dave Norton and Leggy Mambos Paul Walton had both gone close on number of occasions as the England side laid siege on the Italian goal. Norton received a ball from Ian Ward and slotted home, but the supply from Ward was adjudged to be running. Two minutes before half time another Leggy’s stalwart Neil Evans turned smartly and made no mistake to give the home side the lead.
With plenty of rolling substitutions England continued to dominate, Captain Neil Brown from Herne Bay was running the show continually breaking up play and supplying passes to the dangerous trio of Norton, Walton and Evans as time and again they were thwarted by an excellent Italian keeper. Any momentary breaks by the Italian forwards were dealt with superbly by Darren Bradley whose commanding first half performance was continued by Trevor Hanson the Blackburn Rovers skipper. The only threat to and equaliser came as a deflected shot was superbly saved by Rob Keating.
With only one minute remaining a Norton pass set Walton free and he finished with a cheeky nutmeg to confirm England’s dominance and a 2-0 final result.
After the game Manager Paul Murtagh said,
“Taking into account the length of time this team has been together I was extremely proud of the way that the lads applied themselves to the match. I thought we controlled the game from the moment we kicked off and showed some good pass and move walking football throughout.
Brads was immense at the back keeping the Italians at bay on any rare attacks they mounted and the inter-linking movement of the midfield was of a team that had played together for years, not one that had been formed less than 2 weeks ago!
We never allowed the Italians to settle at any point with the forwards proving to be a constant menace, had it not been for the heroics of the Italian No 1 the score could have been more. This is a good start but it’s early days and we need to make sure we keep improving in order to build a bright future for English international walking football.”
The England over 60’s managed by Stuart Langworthy and his team followed suit with an equally impressive performance against their Italian counterparts. They took an early lead and then dominated the game which finished 3-0. WFA Ambassador Tommy Charlton even got to play some of the second half much to the delight of the fans and Sky TV!
WORCESTER TOURNAMENT WIN FOR BWFC Over 60/65’s – 2/5/18
A mixed team of Over 60 and Over 65’s returned to Worcester on Wednesday 2nd May to compete in the University of Worcester Walking Football Tournament.
Birmingham were runners up in this competition last year when it was played in sweltering conditions and they returned this year determined to win it this time round. This year the weather was the complete opposite and the matches played in a mixture of sunny, rainy and monsoon conditions which even included a hail storm!!
The first match was against newcomers to this competition in the form of a team called Freedom, a bunch of old boys from a local leisure centre who have got together and formed a team and went out to give it their all. Just what Walking Football should be about!
The matches were 8 mins per half and, as usual, Birmingham started slowly but soon got into their stride when Dave Whatmore scored his first goal of the day after 4 minutes play. This was followed by a Paul Feeney piledriver into the top corner. More neat play in the second half saw Dave Whatmore add the third and Tom Neale completed the scoring to make the final score
BWFC 4 Freedom 0
The second match was against Evesham WFC. This opposition were a step up in ability and aggression from the first opponents and Birmingham had to be at their best to contain them in the first few minutes with a couple of efforts on Keith ’The Cat ” Phipps goal flying high and wide. Then Keith showed what a good goalkeeper he has become when he came off his line to smother a one on one effort from Evesham after they had managed to break through the Birmingham defensive line. This would have put Evesham one up so it was a very important save!! From then on Birmingham stepped up the pace and a neat short passing move found Tom Neale on the edge of the box and the chance was despatched with aplomb. Final Score: Birmingham 1 Evesham 0
Last up in the group stage was the team from the University of Worcester. Last year in tropical conditions Birmingham ran out 8 – 0 winners, but this year the score line was not so flattering.
Once again Birmingham controlled the game from start to finish and again the passing, movement and covering was first class. The defence were never troubled due to the protection afforded to them by the midfield of Frank Hughes, Roy Williams and Paul Feeney who hounded Worcester at every opportunity and got forward to create the chance for Dave Whatmore to score his third goal of the competition. Paul Feeney completed the scoring to make the final score Birmingham 2 Worcester 0
Birmingham were into the final where they were to meet a very physical and aggressive Evesham side who’s tactics seemed to be to shut out Birmingham’s forward threat by fair means or foul. The first half was all one way traffic with Birmingham dominating the midfield area once again and they were unlucky not to be at least a goal up at half time. The match continued in the same vein in the second half when the referee finally decided to speak to Evesham regarding their overzealous tackling and running. Birmingham stepped up the pace even more at this point and a superb long range effort from Frank Hughes found its way into the corner of the Evesham net to win the game and competition.
Final Score Birmingham 1 Evesham 0
BWFC AT STAFFS WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT – 29/4/18
BWFC far from disgraced themselves at Keele University Sports Campus last weekend on a bitterly cold spring day. Four group matches in the preliminary round were safely negotiated before their brave run ended in a close-run semi final defeat.
First up for Birmingham was a tricky match against a skillful and mobile Manchester City team who had already commenced their campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Stone.
Birmingham were quite literally caught cold and succumbed to 2-0 setback.
Without panicking Birmingham steadied the ship with consecutive 1-0 victories over Port Vale and Stone. Steve Sale capped a fine performance by striking a crisp half volley beyond the Vale keeper, whilst Mark ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons poked a shot through a crowded central area and past a despairing dive to secure the points against his former team.
These victories set up what was in effect a quarter final ‘must win’ game against Staffs Moorlands. Moorlands sat back and despite excellent link play driven by a dynamic Andy Craddock from midfield, Birmingham were unable to break down resolute defending. However, with the clock ticking down a last gasp through ball reached Sale who, in trying to turn was impeded by his marker. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Gibbons slotted home the ensuing penalty. The relief was palpable as the ref soon blew for full time and Birmingham had secured a semi final berth versus Chesterton.
The last four encounters were an ill tempered ‘hard fought’ affair and was settled late on, ending Birmingham’s brave run with a 1-0 reverse.
This tournament was a genuine all round team effort. Our march through the group stages was built on our defensive dominance due to Ade Whitehead’s tenacious tackling and keeper Derek Hughes’ shot stopping, meaning only three goals were conceded in 5 games. In addition, the team’s hard work was epitomised by Roy Williams’ forays from the right flank. The midfield trio of Craddock, Gibbons and Williams superbly linked with the ever available Sale up front.
This was a solid and pleasing performance by a team who had rarely played together before and showed the strength in depth at the club.
MIXED FORTUNES FOR BIRMINGHAM
Contrasting days for Birmingham’s two representatives in the Birmingham County League Fixtures as The Whites and the Blues both started their campaign.
The Whites made a solid start with a hard fought 1-1 draw against Hartshill with Buttons late equaliser gaining a point, a 1-0 success followed with victory over Suttons Finest with Pod scoring the all important winner. A 0-0 draw against Wyndley and a 1-0 win against Bedworth with Pod once again on the score sheet meant that they remained unbeaten with 8 points from 4 games. Simon Dyer was delighted with the whole all-round team performance, “everyone did their job and chipped in, we’ve hardly ever played together before and acquitted ourselves really well”.
Conversely the Blues got off to a dreadful start as their 4 fixtures only reaped 3 points after 3 losses to Coleshill, Hartshill and Sutton’s Finest, their day improved slightly with a 1-0 win over Wyndley. Skipper David Castle said “I don’t think we have collectively played a group of games like that before, I know the size of the pitches were not conducive to crisp passing as they were so small for 7 a side, but it’s the same for everyone, we just didn’t adapt as we should have”.
BWFC OVER 60’S LEAGUE BEGINS
Birmingham Walking Football Club Over 60s travelled to Dudley on Sunday April 22nd for the inaugural fixtures in the Midlands Walking Football League. BWFC were depleted by four players being involved in the England trials at Solihull, injury and unavailability but managed to field seven players who did credit to the club. The first game should have been against Wyndley but they had dropped out to be replaced by a second team from Coleshill. The games were 15 minutes straight through on quite tight pitches for 7 a side. BWFC started with stand in goalkeeper, Steve Evans who was largely untroubled in this first game. Keith Laishley and John “Gus” Traynor, making his debut for the club marshalled the defence with the midfield trio of Paul Whitehouse, Frank Hughes and Roy Williams passing the ball confidently. Steve White continued in his role as stand in striker, not through personal choice but because there was no alternative. BWFC pressed for the majority of the game but apart from a couple of half chances and one shot the keeper pushed on to the post BWFC were unable to turn their dominance into a victory.
The second opponents were Bedworth who started brightly but became frustrated at being blown up frequently for running. BWFC again had the majority of the play and yet again hit the frame of the goal but were unable to find the net and the second game ended in a stalemate. The two games held on pitch 4 were well refereed by Bernard from our old friends Hartshill and helped the games to be played as they should be.
The third game was against the first Coleshill team and proved a game too far for BWFC. The game was played on another pitch with a different referee who was much more relaxed regarding physical contact and running. The game started cagily with Coleshill having drawn both their games as well but following a skirmish on the edge of the box Roy Williams ended up in the goalkeeping area and the resulting penalty was expertly dispatched. BWFC began to push forward in search of an equalizer but Coleshill took advantage of space left in defence to score a second which did appear that the striker had encroached in the area but the referee waved away the complaints and awarded the goal. BWFC were now looking shellshocked and despite carving out a couple of chances there was no way past the Coleshill keeper. BWFC let in a third and despite a change in goalkeeping personnel Coleshill tucked away a fourth to complete a comfortable win. BWFC ended the game with six as the stand in keeper Steve White decided the best way to stop a thunderbolt shot was with his face and was thankful for the medical attention from Mark from Hartshill.
The next round of games are in May and hopefully we will be able to field a team with a specialist goalkeeper and striker.
BWFC v Shard End 17th April – Solihull Football Centre – 2-1 WIN
BWFC line up:
Keith Phipps in goal standing in for Geoff Harman who was injured playing for Over 70s prior to the game.
Paul Foster, defence
Barry Huntingdon, defence
Roy Williams, left midfield
Steve Evans, right midfield
Paul Feeney, centre midfield
Steve White, striker
Roy Atkins sub
Both teams started the game at a very fast pace and the referee had to remind all players that this was supposed to be “walking football” with minimum contact.
During the first half BWFC had to ride a number of strong challenges from the away team, especially Paul Feeney in midfield. In the first half both teams created a number of scoring opportunities but were unable to beat some tight defending with Paul Foster, Barry and Keith looking assured in defence for BWFC.
The second half continued in the same vein but it was Shard End who opened the scoring taking advantage of some sloppy defending by Birmingham. BWFC renewed their efforts to get back into the game and were rewarded when Steve White in his new role as stand-in striker had kept the Shard End defence busy and his efforts finally paid off when with his back to goal he turned on a sixpence on the edge of the area and slotted the ball home with his left foot into the corner of the Shard End net. (Fortunately for his family and friends no video is available of his goal.)
BWFC began to move the ball around with more precision which kept Shard End pegged back in their own half as they strived for the winner. The referee again warned a number of players about running and for some unknown reason he seemed to single out Roy (Road Runner) Williams in particular. Roy explained to the ref that he had had 3 weetabix for breakfast but the referee was having none of it and Roy was shown a blue card earning him a two-minute breather in the sin bin.
BWFC continued to create some neat passing moves which resulted in several attempts on goal on from Paul Feeney, Steve Evans and Roy Williams but Shard End continued to stand firm.
Eventually Steve Evans received the ball in midfield and advancing on the Shard End defence scored a great goal with a low hard drive.
With a 2-1 lead BWFC decided to shore up their defence by bringing on the very experienced Roy Atkins (on loan from the 70s team) replacing Roy Williams in left midfield who was on his fifth strike and in danger of receiving a red card.
BWFC saw out the game to win 2-1 in a generally sporting game with consistent and fair refereeing. BWFC look forward to the return game but the sides will meet in the newly formed Midlands League in May.
OVER 70’S FIRST EVER COMPETITIVE MATCH
Tuesday 17th April will go down in the history books of Birmingham Walking Football Club (BWFC) as the date of the first Over 70s competitive tournament (one of the first in the UK).
BWFC hosted a team from Cirencester at the Solihull ground. Wednesday over 70s session has over 20 players. Therefore it was decided to put in two teams and play a “round robin tournament” of 6 fifteen min games, so that each team played each other twice.
BWFC comprised two teams Blue and Yellow. The Yellow team and Cirencester both had 2 rising 70s in their line-up.
The first game, Yellow v Cirencester resulted in a 1-0 victory to the home side. The only goal scored by Ray Homer (a rising 70). Cirencester were getting used to the pitch but were restricted to well- struck but off target shots.
The second game, Blue v Cirencester ended 0-0. Cirencester got into their stride following an early scare when Mike Baker was foiled with a good save.. At one stage Blue had only 5 men on the field with Roy Atkins and Alan Hanbury on a blue card.
The third game was a local derby, Blue v Yellow. Ending with a 1-0 win for Blue with a well struck effort from Alan Hanbury. This was nearly cancelled out after Alan gave away a penalty for encroaching the area to save a shot on target. Luckily the penalty was saved by Geoff Harman.
The return games commenced with Yellow losing 1-0 to Cirencester. Yellow were unlucky not to score as a saved shot rebounded into the goal but was not given by the referee as he was unsighted (a well-known advert comes to mind).
Blue v Cirencester also ended 0-1, Blues succumbing to a single goal after some sloppy defending.
The return derby ended with a 2-0 victory to the Blue team with goals from Alan Hanbury and Roy Atkins (the youngest over 70 at just 70) This result meant that BWFC Blue topped the table from Cirencester on goal difference scoring 3-1 to Cirencester’s 2-1.
Thanks to Cirencester for a very friendly and enjoyable tournament and they are looking forward to revenge at their site in September.
BWFC yellow 1 -0 Cirencester
BWFC blue 0 – 0 Cirencester
BWFC blue 1 – 0 BWFC yellow
Cirencester 1 -0 BWFC yellow
Cirencester 1-0 BWFC blue
BWFC blue 2-0 BWFC yellow
BWFC Blue; Geoff Harman, Alan Hanbury. Colin O’Brennan, Roy Atkins, Derek Adderley, Alan Bailley and Mike Baker.
BWFC Yellow. Keith Phipps, Ray Pedley, Roger Guise, Dave Marsh, Chris Barker, Harry Ford, Ray Homer and Ray Deeley.
BWFC OVER 60’S V WESTON-SUPER-MARE – 4-0 WIN
Birmingham Over 60s played Weston-Super-Mare on the last leg of their Midlands tour and posted an emphatic victory to banish memories of the cup loss at Matlock.
The game was 7 a side at Solihull was notable for the debut of “youngster” Geoff H in goal at the age of 72 who kept a clean sheet in a 4-0 win. Birmingham started strongly with excellent communication and support between the players and the Weston goal being peppered by shots from all angles. Paul F and Keith L kept the Weston attack quiet and kept a steady supply of ball to the midfield trio of Roy, Steve E and Paul Feeney. Dave W as ever worked hard up front and was a constant danger to the Weston defence. The constant pressure told and Birmingham rattled up four goals from Paul Feeney, Steve E, Dave W and Keith L to put themselves in a comfortable position by half-time. Weston took time to make some changes and worked hard in the second half to prevent Birmingham scoring again. Don R came on at the break for Birmingham and fitted in well in defence helping Geoff keep a clean sheet. Steve W replaced Roy in midfield as he was incurring the wrath of the referee. Birmingham continued in the same comfortable vein dominating the game but unable to add to the score. An excellent performance with the team beginning to gel and not looking like strangers meeting for the first time.
Thanks to the referee for clear and consistent officiating and to Weston who may have been feeling the effects of their tour of the delights of the West Midlands but participated in a sporting game played in the right spirit.
CONCLUSION OF THE PEOPLES CUP FOR BWFC TEAMS
It was a case of one stage too many for the 4 Birmingham teams that had qualified for the semi final stage of the Peoples Cup, 3 Walking Football Teams and our Ladies Walkers turned over 35 vets all put up spirited, if not totally successful displays . Our ladies team, with an average age of over 50 did themselves no disservice with a very credible showing against many players 20 years their junior. Finishing with one win one draw and two losses was unfortunately not enough to progress to the later stages. Goals from (Truley (2) and Alli) were simply not enough for the girls as they adapted their walking game to the normal 5 a side football extremely well.
With three teams in the mens tournament out of eight qualifiers Birmingham were hopeful of progressing to the finals day for the fourth consecutive year. Birmingham Whites started impressively as they beat Shrewsbury 3-2 with two goals from Richard Dawson and one from skipper Simon Dyer, unfortunately this was to be their only success as defeats to the two eventual finalists Peles Pearls and Heanor 2-0 and 4-0 respectively. In a largely inexperience tournament team a credible return against some extremely tough and in Heanor’s case a particularly aggressive opponents.
In the other group Birmingham’s over 65’s and Birmingham Blues were pitted against each other along with another team from Heanor and Holmes Chapel. The Blues started impressively as they hit the bar 3 times before going behind to a breakaway goal, a Dave Norton hat trick and one each from Dave Wright and Darren Bradley meant they were comfortable 5-1 winners. The 65’s played Holmes Chapel in a repeat of the final of the quarter finals at Stoke and unfortunately two sloppy goals put the Cheshire side ahead early on. A Derek Thorpe goal was just not enough to earn a point, in a game they dominated for long periods. Blues then dispatched Holmes Chapel in an end to end seemingly defenceless game 5-3 with Norton claiming all 5 of Birmingham’s goals. The game was marred with a major injury to stalwart Andy Struthers which left him collapsed and in need of a visit to hospital The 65’s ran out 3-1 winners against Heanor with an own goal and one each from Thorpe and Barry Huntingdon. In their final game they met each other and after the game been close at 2-1 the Blues were eventually flattered by the 5-1 winning margin, Norton and Wright both bagging a brace and a single from Bradley.
With only the Blues through to the semi finals with a 100% record, they met the extremely physical Heanor, and with several niggling injuries and no substitutes available due to Struthers hospitalisation they ran out of steam with a 1-0 loss to the Derby outfit. Norton was only able to be carried off at the end due to some ridiculous challenges from the overzealous opponents.
Afterwards skipper David Castle commented, “It’s been really tough today, Andy’s injury meant we played most the tournament with only 5 which is really hard and some of the challenges we faced in the semis were just beyond belief. It’s so difficult for the referees as the players just don’t help, ours told me he’d never refereed walking football before, it’s a shame because what should be one of the premier competitions and has great exposure on the BBC is not a great advert for the game“.
END OF THE PEOPLES CUP ROAD FOR THE LADIES
Our People’s Cup adventure came to an end today for our ladies. The girls did amazingly well against some very stiff opposition. We finished a creditable third in our group with both of the teams above us eventually qualifying for the finals at St George’s Park next month; we wish them both well.
We won one game, drew one game and lost two – both losses against the teams who qualified so I think we can be very proud of our achievements. 5-a-side is tough at any time but for a group of walking footballers playing running 5-a-side against much younger teams (our average age today was 52) it’s especially tough. However the girls never gave up and we are proud of every one of them!
Squad: Alli, Caroline, Dee, Jan, Sue H, Sue M, Truley. Goal scorers: Truley (2), Alli.
Inter Mi Thirties
Astley Tyldesley Vets
OVER 60’S IN MATLOCK – 27/2/18 LOSS
Birmingham Over 60s ventured up north to play Matlock in the first round of the National TRA Cup and after battling through snowy weather were met with alien playing conditions with the game being played indoors with boards and very large goal areas. The format was three games of 20 minutes and 6 a side.
Birmingham started the first game with Les D in goal, Keith L and Paul Foster at the back with Paul Feeney and returning from injury. Steve Dixon in the middle and Dave W up front. It was clear that Matlock were a well drilled and organised team who were used to the pitch. The opening minutes were very tentative with both sides checking each other out and Matlock were first to strike with a strong shot evading Les in the very wide goals. Birmingham fought back and equalized when the keeper was unable to hold a powerful shot from Paul Feeney. The game remained close until Birmingham gave away a penalty for encroachment but the strong, low shot struck the post and rebounded to safety. Birmingham were still trying to adapt to the ball remaining in play at all times and were caught out when Matlock found space to hit home the winner.
Birmingham replaced Keith L and Paul Feeney with Roy W and Steve W for the second game and Matlock seemed stunned when Roy W gave Birmingham the lead when finding space near the goal. The game ebbed and flowed with Les making some excellent saves but Birmingham were undone by bad luck when a Matlock player shot wide but the ball rebounded off the back wall and hit Les on his back and rolled into the goal. Both sides pushed hard for the winner and despite some sterling work up front by Dave W, Birmingham were unable to carve out any clear cut chances. Matlock punished Birmingham when their striker was allowed space and he calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net. Matlock played keep ball for the rest of the game and secured their second victory and passage into the next round.
The third game was still played. Matlock again prevailed with two good goals and some cracking saves by Les D.
The game was played in a good spirit with hardly a foul or running infringement and benefited from some consistent refereeing. Matlock were a good side with 2 ex professionals and surely will be difficult to beat with a home draw in the next round. Due to the nature of the pitch the games did feel more like 5 a side than walking football at times but Birmingham will hopefully learn from the experience particularly regarding ball retention and being patient. Thanks to all who travelled there and back in difficult conditions.
MATLOCK 2 V 1 BWFC
MATLOCK 2 V 1 BWFC
MATLOCK 2 V 0 BWFC
THE PEOPLES CUP FIRST ROUND – 24/2/18 FOUR TEAMS QUALIFIED!
This year BWFC entered FOUR teams into the Peoples Cup, Over 65’s, TWO Over 50’s & for the first time a Ladies team! The 65’s and 50’s were walking football but the ladies team was normal running football in the veteran catagory. We are pleased to announce that ALL FOUR TEAMS got through to the next round!!! Match reports for each location are below.
BWFC OVER 65’S MATCH REPORT – PEOPLES CUP 1ST ROUND – STOKE
Despite the M6 being closed, and traffic being redirected off the motorway, the Birmingham Over 65’s team arrived in Stoke in time for the kick-off in the FA Peoples Cup.
The squad consisted of:
Despite being informed that it was 5-a-side football, it turned out to be 6-a-side! Good job we’d invited Kevin Burton along!
All the matches were to be 10 minutes long (5 minutes each way). We were on second, against Port Vale Walkers, and thanks to a brace from Barry Huntington, Birmingham 65 got off to a great start – 2-0 and three points on the board.
Next up were Stoke City FC. A tight game, with some rough tackling, saw us sneak a 1-0 win, thanks to another goal from Barry Huntington. Where was Derek Thorp I hear you ask? Read on! In our third game we were up against Stoke City FC A team. Having raced into a 2-0 lead, we must have fallen asleep, because two quick fire goals from Stoke saw them draw level. However, Decka completed his hat-trick with a fine goal to see Birmingham gain their third straight win.
Our last group match was against Holmes Chapel Wanderers, who had also won all their group matches. So, it was this game that would decide who topped the group. It has to be said that we were played off the park in the first half. They played the ball off the boards far better than we did, and by half time we were 3-0 down! We then lost Barry Huntington with a thigh injury, and now had no substitutes left! Despite this, we played better in the second half, and prevented Holmes Chapel from adding to their score. Final score 3-0. We finished 2nd in the group, and were in the semi-finals.
We were up against Stoke City FC in the first semi, and were determined to do better than a 1-0 win this time. Derek Thorp, Malcolm Thorp and a bizarre own goal saw Birmingham 65 run out 3-1 winners. We were into the final!
The final, almost inevitably, was against Holmes Chapel. The whole team played well, coming close to scoring on several occasions, but unfortunately we lost the game by a single goal. It has to be said keeper Keith Phipps had an amazing tournament and saved some vital goals in important games. We all came away with our heads held high, delighted with our performance against all the youngsters!
BWFC BLUES MATCH REPORT– FA PEOPLES CUP 1ST ROUND – BIRMINGHAM STAR CITY
A bizarre and farcical situation at Star City meant only three teams turned up to contest the two qualification places. Both Birmingham and the Birmingham laced Pele’s Pearls with both Ward brothers Ian and Shane representing them progressed in strange circumstances.
Hartshill Strollers (the only other entrants) were comfortably beaten by both teams; firstly 4-2 by Peles Pearls and 6-0 by Birmingham before a somewhat meaningless fixture between the two victors was played out in great spirit in the cold in Aston, Pearls running out 5-2 winners. Goals for Birmingham on the day were from Dave Norton 4 and Darren Bradley and David Wright both picking up braces.
After the event skipper David Castle commented “ It was really odd with only 3 teams competing, seems strange that still 2 go through which made the last game a bit of a non event, last year we had ten teams at this stage. Pele’s Pearls will be a match for anyone this year with quality all over, with our own Ian and Shane in their ranks we know we will have to be focussed for the next round. We’ve come so close before and being disappointed and like any tournament we enter we would love to win it, but more importantly is great to see how the games developing, the standard is getting better every year as more and more players are getting involved’
BWFC WHITES OVER 50’S MATCH REPORT – SHREWSBURY
Shrewsbury our maiden / inaugural tournament – The BWFC Whites team comprised of Les Dawson, Simon Dyer, Stan Payne, Rob Castle, Gareth Edwards, Ian Gough & Kevin Mann.
Accident on the M6 scuppered any chance of a warm up / practice.
Straight into a match against the Shrewsbury “Oranges” 1st Team, Birmingham dominated the match but somehow came off the pitch with a 2 – 0 loss, not an ideal start but the players felt confident that the team spirit and positive play would shine through the next 5 games.
Twenty nine goals and five clean sheets later and thanks to an array of outstanding saves by Les Dawson and numerous superb goals from Kevin Mann (8), Ian Gough (3), Gareth Edwards (5), Rob Castle (6), Stan Payne (3), Simon Dyer (4) we progressed into the finals and secured a place in the next round of the FA cup.
The final was against Shrewsbury 1st (only team to score against us the tournament) we go 1 – 0 up unfortunately they equalised via a free kick in the last minutes and the game goes to a penalty “Shoot out”- Shrewsbury sneak through 5 – 4 winners.
Manager Ian ‘Razor’ Gough said; “The essence and character of the BWFC Whites during the whole tournament was a fantastic team ethos, where each member of the squad played their part in creating a winning and positive attitude.”
BWFC LADIES MATCH REPORT – BIRMINGHAM STAR CITY
With no Walking Football category in the FA Peoples’ Cup for women only, we decided to enter a team in the Female Veterans Section. This would involve playing full pace 5-a-side football – quite a difference from what we are used to on Friday nights! The squad was selected from women who play in a variety of sessions at the club and two practice games (thanks, Paul) were arranged to give the girls a chance to get the feel of full pace 5-a-side football. However, because of prior commitments on the two practice Sundays, the team had never actually all played together before Saturday! Non-the-less, the girls did us proud.
Only one other team was registered at our Goals Birmingham venue – Stratford Tuesdays. Initial thoughts were that they looked too young to be ‘veterans’ – our average age was over 50 – but undaunted, we decided to give it our best shot. We had one game to play; 20 minutes each way off boards. Our substitutes were going to be vital to managing a game which would be fast paced with little opportunity for rest.
The starting 5 of Caroline in goal, Truly, Sue M, Tracy and Alli made a solid start, moving the ball well and keeping things tight. Any nerves were settled by our first goal from Sue M and we went on to score a further 5 unanswered first half goals, scored by Tracy, Alli, and a further 2 from Sue M to complete her first half hat-trick. Both of our subs, Sue H and Dee, got into the game during the first half with Dee also scoring.
The second half brought a change of goalkeeper, Tracy taking over from Caroline, and regular substitutions throughout meant that again everyone had time on the pitch. However, the second half was a much tighter affair with Stratford pressing more and becoming more confident in their play. Tracy was called upon to make some crucial saves but our lead was extended by Truly before Stratford scored their first. Alli then restored our 7 goal lead before another from Stratford once again reduced the deficit. A break in play came after Truley took a ball in the face and required treatment but thankfully she was able to continue after a few minutes and not long afterwards, the final goal of the game came from Caroline to restore our 7 goal lead with the game finishing 9 – 2.
We therefore progress to the Regional Finals at the end of March. Many thanks to the squad and to all our supporters on the day – you were all great!
Squad: Alli Wayley, Caroline Reid, Dee Reade, Sue Hector, Sue Moogan, Tracy Dudwell and Truly Griffin.
Goals: Sue M, 3; Alli, 2; Tracy; Dee; Truly; Caroline.
BWFC V MANCHESTER CITY AT SOLIHULL FC
Birmingham WFC hosted Manchester City in three age groups and remained unbeaten as their Over 50’s progressed into the next stage of the TRA National Cup.
The Over 65’s got the Brummies off to a great start with a 5-0 thumping of their counterparts with all the goals coming from the impressive Derek Thorpe, Birmingham totally controlled the game and their superior fitness made a huge difference as the game entered the later stages . John Crampton ran the show from midfield as time and again he fed Malcolm Thorpe whose neat footwork continually set up his brother for scoring opportunities. Skipper Barry Huntington marshalled the defence superbly and they were rarely troubled.
The over 60’s was a much tighter affair with defences on top throughout, as the game became a somewhat disjointed affair. A couple of good saves from Rob Corp kept the scores level before a brilliant piece of control and snap shot from Dave Whatmore put Birmingham ahead. It looked a formality that this is how the game would end , but in the final stages a speculative shot from Man City guest 52 year old Dino Dicampo found its way to the net to level the scores at one a piece.
The Over 50’s TRA clash was set to be a best of three 20 minute affairs, with the winner progressing to the next round of the National Competition, a perfect start was achieved by Birmingham as Darren Bradley’s clever thinking from a free kick and a smart turn and shot from David Wright put them ahead after two minutes. In the remaining 18 minutes Birmingham were dominant as Man City keeper Robson made a string of fine saves to deny further goals. His counterpart in the Birmingham goal needing only one fine save to deny the sky blues.
Birmingham now knew that to stay undefeated would mean their safe passage started the second game confidently, a cooly taken Wright penalty put them ahead then a blistering Dave Norton left foot drive doubled their lead, another Norton piledriver was brilliantly saved by Robson but this fell to Andy Struthers to smash home. Birmingham looked in total control until a skirmish involving skipper David Castle and a City forward meant both had to sit out for two minutes. Mark Davis took the opportunity to pull a goal back for City as he was left un-marked to slot home. Another lapse saw the City forward double his tally to make it 3-2. Birmingham then tightened up and almost went 4-2 as Wright once again bamboozled their defence but again Robson saved impressively. Winning both games meant progression for Birmingham and set up a tie against local rivals Hartshill in the next round
OVER 60’S WINTER SHIELD
BIRMINGHAM 1 HARTSHILL 0 (AGG1-1 WIN 3-1 ON PENS)
A disciplined and organised Over 60’s team overturned a 1-0 first leg deficit to retain the winter shield. Birmingham had started well as the impressive Paul Feeney hit the post after 5 minutes following a fine flowing move. The referee had cause to constantly pull up both sides for running infringements as the greasy surfaces seemed difficult for both teams to relax their movement. Dave Whatmore also came close before half time as Birmingham did the majority of pressing with Feeney pulling all the strings in Birmingham’s compact midfield, only a couple of John Cooper long range efforts were all Hartshill could offer in the first half, which were never likely to test keeper Les Dawson.
Shortly after the break Whatmore broke free from the shackles of the tight Hartshill defence to slide his precision finish under the body of the advancing keeper. There only looked to be one winner then as Birmingham still continued to press without actually creating many clear cut opportunities. Keith Laishey and Paul Foster had proven a solid pair at the back for the dark blues giving their midfield licence to go forward. As full time approached another blistering shot by Feeney fizzed wide and 15 minutes of extra time still continued to produce little in the way of clear cut chances, Whatmore, Feeney and Steve Evans all immediately volunteered for the penalties and their confidence was obvious as the all converted to win the tie and the Winter Shield 3-1.
BWFC VISITS ASTON VILLA – 30/1/18
RAZOR SHARP GOUGH HITS BRACE TO SINK VILLA
ASTON VILLA over 50’s – 1 BIRMINGHAM over 50’s – 2
Ian Gough’s brilliant finishing rescued Birmingham’s Over 50’s with a superb second half brace at Villa Park Academy. For much of the first half the decorated Blues had stuttered and failed to adapt quickly to a pitch with unusually square dimensions. Space was limited but their failure to use the width and create opportunities had frustrated Manager Paul Murtagh. Birmingham had an early warning sign as Mike Taylor Lane was called on to make a smart save before a slick move by the hosts and some sloppy defending saw them go One Nil up half way through the first half.
Gough entered the game five minutes before the break and immediately Birmingham’s shape improved, Ade Whitehead and Rob Castle linked well before Whitehead’s shot blazed over.
1-0 down at half time Murtagh’s team talk left no stone unturned and virtually immediately Birmingham levelled after a slick move Gough slotted home into the corner with a precision finish. He repeated the feat soon after as he swivelled the defender with strength and poise to smash in what proved to be the winning goal. Birmingham were comfortable at the back in the second half with little threat from the home side but improvement in their movement and ability to adapt to differing conditions will be needed in future games.
THORPEDO HITS 5 IN SECOND HALF BLITZ
ASTON VILLA over 65’s – 2 BIRMINGHAM over 65’s – 7
It was a similar story for Birmingham’s Over 65’s as they also came from a 2-1 half time deficit to beat their local rivals somewhat more convincingly. At the break they found themselves behind as similarly to their younger counterparts they found the pitch dimensions difficult to adapt to. Once again a half time team talk seemed to do the trick Thorpe brothers Derek and Malcolm combining brilliantly ably supported by Player Manager John Limborne to pick off the Villans time and again.
Derek Thorpe ran riot and went nap hand as singles from Malcolm Thorpe and John Limborne completed Birmingham’s scoring.
After the two victories Manager Paul Murtagh said, “Our first half performance simply wasn’t good enough, although we enjoyed most of the possession we didn’t do the simple things and conceded a very poor breakaway goal. Villa had a game plan and stuck to it very well packing the middle of the park and protecting their goal. We changed things round for the second half, stretching the Villa defence in both width and length, subsequently we were able to create space in which to play some football. Razor was superb in leading the line and 2 cool finishes rounded off some nice flowing football. Credit to the lads though in the end overcoming a new tactical challenge of 8 a side on a small awkwardly shaped pitch. Same can be said for the over 65’s, also taking control after being behind in the early stages but showing character to dominate once they had adapted to the conditions.”
HOME INTERNATIONAL – ENGLAND V WALES – OVER 50’s – 7/1/18 WIN
Birmingham’s Over 50’s continued their incredible season as they represented England in the Home International game at Pontypridd Stadium. Even with Home advantage the Wales side had no answer to the impressive England side. Chances were created right from the start as a first minute passing move from the kick off left Andy Struthers in front of goal only for a brilliant save to prevent him from scoring. Two minutes later Ian Ward’s left foot shot from a Darren Bradley pass put England ahead.
For long periods England played possession football, Bradley pulling the strings in midfield with Shane Ward. On ten minutes Struthers found himself in another great position and this time made no mistake in putting England 2-0 to the good. Birmingham briefly went a man down as Bradley received a two minute penalty for persistent running, but even with a man advantage Wales struggled to dispossess the impressive England outfit. Shortly before half time Dave Wright grabbed a brace before half time with cool finishing ensuring the lions went in at half time with a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The second half started with Wales putting England under more pressure, a couple of excellent blocks from skipper David Castle and a string of great saves from Derek Hughes kept the England goal enact. Bradley, Struthers and Shane Ward then continually put pressure on the Wales defence with smart intricate passing. From two free kicks Bradley’s smart thinking put in both Ian Ward and Wright to complete his hat trick as their lead went to 6-0. Ward then completed his only personal milestone to make it 7 with a fine individual effort. A lapse in concentration in defence as Dave Castle took a breather was the only blip as Wales scored to great delight of the home crowd, it was then appropriately left to the Birmingham stalwart Ian Gough to round off the scoring after a Shane Ward brilliant pass to complete a fine 8-1 victory.
Goalkeeper Derek Hughes was named man of the match for some excellent saves as Dave Castle lifted Birmingham’s third major trophy in as many months.
After, Delighted Manager Paul Murtagh said, “We played some lovely football today which was a joy to watch at times. It’s a fitting end to a fantastic season and I would like to thank all the players for all their efforts which has ultimately made my job very easy. A special mention to Norts who unfortunately was unable to play today, Norts has been part of everything good that has happened to the club this last season and instrumental in getting us to the final today.”
CHRISTMAS CHARITY MATCH
BWFC Santa’s 4 Coleshill Elves 4
Due to late withdrawals due to illness and injury, BWFC Santa’s Over 65’s were forced to call up Academy Graduate Paul Murtagh to play in the inaugural Santa’s Charity Trophy match versus Coleshill Elves.
The Santa’s started slowly and found themselves 0 – 1 down with eight minutes on the clock, the goal being scored by the Elf’s centre forward, Big ( Bah Humbug !! ) Bob.
However, Birmingham soon found their feet after this early set back, with young Paul Murtagh who was playing his first game for the Over 65’s, scoring two goals to take the Santas into the half time break leading the Elves by 2 goals to 1. However some naughty Elves were not playing the match in the spirit envisaged when the idea of a friendly Charity match between the two clubs was suggested. They did not appear to comprehend the words FRIENDLY and NON CONTACT.
Another goal from Paul to complete his Hat Trick put the Santas 3 – 1 ahead and he was withdrawn from the fray to rapturous applause from two old ladies and a dog who had wandered in from the park next door. Shortly after Coleshill levelled things at 3 – 3 and at this stage were looking likely winners, but the Santas dug in and began to play some good neat football again.
With 3 minutes to go young Paul Murtagh re-entered the arena and within seconds he scored with a shot from within his own half to put the Santas 4 – 3 up, but alas victory was stolen away from them in the dying seconds when the Elfs scored an equaliser that the behaviour of a small minority of their players did not deserve.
So the Santas and the Elves share the trophy for six months each and Paul Murtagh had the honour of taking the match ball home. Well he does own it so I suppose he’s entitled to !!
£130 Pounds was raised in match fees by our team on the day. A splendid effort. Thank you everyone for this. The money will be donated to the Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull in the New Year.
BWFC V HARTHILL – 1-0 LOSS – 19/11/17 Winter Shield
Due to injuries and unavailability Birmingham had a much changed team with 4 players Birmingham Over 60s travelled to Kingswinford for the first game in The making their first appearance in the series and with only 6 players had no subs. Birmingham took time to settle against a confident and well organised Hartshill side.
The game settled into a stalemate with both teams cancelling each other out and Les in goal well able to deal with any long shots that came his way. The Hartshill keeper also looked assured despite a pre-match injury that had left him with a bandaged head. Hartshill were pressing high up the pitch and a ‘comedy of errors’ or ‘balls up’ led to the only goal of the game. Frank H attempted a pass across the pitch but managed to connect with Steve W on the edge of the area who was poleaxed as the ball hit a ‘tender area’. Unfortunately the ball dribbled to one of the Hartshill players who poked it home.
Birmingham continued to work hard but chances were at a premium but some dogged defending kept the Hartshill attackers at bay keeping the game tight and all to play for in the second game. Well done to Steve E and Roy who competed well in midfield against their more experienced opponents and Dave W for battling hard to keep their defence occupied. The game was sensibly refereed by Barry and was played in good spirit.
BWFC OVER 40’S V TRINITY OLD BOYS – 3/11/17 – WIN
Following the recent successes of our over more senior teams, we are pleased to report that Birmingham Walking Football club has established an over 40’s team for players who may not quite have quite reached full maturity.
The newly formed team managed by the legendary Ian Crampton played their first game against a distinguished and fully sober team from Redditch, called Trinity Old Boys. The match was tagged as a grudge match, due to most of the Redditch team being ‘literally tagged’ and the fact that Ian has been playing with the TOB team for over 20 years.
Ian has been promoting the intensity and skill level of walking football to the Redditch team for some time, however the players from Redditch who did own a TV set and had seen the Barclays advert assumed that walking football was ‘a load of tripe’
A match was arranged for the Brick Kiln site for Friday 3rd November and after several Parole officers gave the go ahead, 7 players from Redditch were escorted in a secured vehicle to play against 7 of Solihulls’ finest for bragging rights in the first official over 40’s walking football for the team. The Birmingham team consisted of: Ian Crampton, Paul Murtagh, Dave Castle, Martin Griffiths, Andy Norris (Capt), Alan Deakin and Stephen Taggart.
There was a cagey start to begin with, but after the cage was raised the Redditch players made their way onto the pitch in confident mood.
Birmingham started on the front foot with intricate passing causing Trinity problems and created several chances to open the scoring. Andy Norris came closest to scoring but was kept out by Leopold Tevlin III in his sponsored Jacamo goalkeeper outfit and walking boots ensemble.
The game was fairly well balanced for the first 5 minutes however slowly but surely the experience of the Birmingham team started to show as goals started to flow. In the end the Birmingham team ran out worthy 11-4 winners. A Norris x 4, I Crampton x2, S Taggart x 2, P Murtagh x 2, A Deakin x 1.
An emotional and tearful Manager Ian Crampton choked back tears following the final whistle to comment: “I’m honoured and thrilled to be asked to take on the role of England Manager its every boys dream!”
The over 40’s team are keen to secure matches against other over 40’s teams in the local area and promote new teams to form to continue the growth of walking football for a younger age group
“Being in the over 40’s group, we feel we are the academy players for the more traditional age sectors of walking football team…. If we can add to the numbers of teams in the area it would be great to set up a league format in much the same way as the other teams at Birmingham enjoy” said England Manager, Paul Murtagh.
WIGAN WALKERS OVER 60’s Tournament – 9th November 2017 – WINNERS !!
Birmingham Over 60,s made the long trek “oop north” on the infamous M6 Motorway, seeking to win their first Tournament outside of their local area. The win was accomplished in impressive style by finishing second in the league group stage and going on to win the Semi Final and Final.
All of the matches were 12 minutes duration played “off the boards” & were 6 a side.
B’ham WFC 0 Wigan Yellows 0
First up for Birmingham were Wigan Yellows. It took five minutes to get into their stride but as the game progressed Birmingham took control and peppered the Wigan goal with shots but the opposition goalkeeper was in outstanding form and managed to keep a clean sheet. At the other end the Birmingham defensive pairing of Frank Hughes and Paul Foster kept things tight and only allowed Wigan one chance on goal which fortunately hit the post and rebounded to safety.
B’ham WFC 1 Mancom 0
Next up for B’ham was Mancom. Straight from the outset B’ham looked comfortable with Steve White partnering Frank at the back and Roy Williams and Tom Neale joining the fray. However, Mancon showed they were capable of producing some good football and once or twice looked dangerous around the B’ham penalty area, but they were kept at bay by emergency on loan goalkeeper Terry Coton who produced a couple of excellent saves to stop B’ham from falling behind. Then right on cue, Steve Evans came up with a goal following a good B’ham passing movement, and they went on to chalk up their first win in the group.
B’ham WFC 1 Southport 0
A change of personnel saw Frank Hughes and Paul Foster reunited at the back with Steve White dropping to the bench. Although Southport looked to be the weakest team in this group, they gave a good account of themselves and B’ham seemed a little nervous and tentative in their play. However, when Frank Hughes made an overlap down the right wing and scored a fine goal they relaxed and reverted to the confident team seen in the previous two matches and came through unscathed to claim their second win of the competition.
B’ham WFC 0 Northgate Strollers 0
B’ham only needed a draw to qualify for the semi final stage of the competition and Manager, Steve White, fielded a side that did just that. It was tight affair and Terry Coton had to make some fine saves to keep B’ham in the hunt for that semi final place. At the other end B’ham were still making chances of their own but a combination of bad luck and poor finishing contrived to make the final score 0 – 0. Semi Final qualification had been achieved.
Semi Final: B’ham WFC 1 Wigan Whites 0
B’ham went into this match with an unchanged team and settled very quickly to the task in hand. Wigan had qualified top of their group with 10 points from a possible 12 and with a goal difference of +10 so it looked like B’ham may have a battle on their hands, but straight from the outset they passed the ball around with purpose and skill. And then a peach of a goal from centre forward Dave Whatmore put B’ham in the driving seat. He had been working very hard, but up till this moment, had not had any luck in front of goal. He latched onto the ball in his own half and unleashed an unstoppable volley into the top left hand corner of the net to put B’ham in front. A contender for goal of the season if ever I saw one!! Thanks to more sterling work by Terry Coton in goal and every player in front of him B’ham were through to the final!!
Final: B’ham WFC 2 Huddersfield 0
By now Huddersfield were showing everyone what a good side they were by defeating Wigan Yellows, the winners of our Group B, in the semi final. Again it looked on paper to be a difficult game but again B’ham took the game by the scruff of the neck straight from the start, with a resurgent Dave Whatmore having two good efforts well saved by the Huddersfield keeper in the first few minutes of the game. At the other end Terry Coton made more super saves as the game ebbed and flowed. Then, after a neat passing movement involving the whole team, Dave Whatmore turned his marker superbly and placed his shot past the Huddersfield goalkeeper to put B’ham 1 – 0 up and soon after he did the same thing to make it 2 – 0. This came with 2 minutes left on the clock and B’ham saw out the match in style to claim the winner’s trophy!!
Terry Coton, Frank Hughes, Steve White, Paul Foster, Roy Williams, Steve Evans, Tom Neale, Dave Whatmore, John Limbourne
Well done to everyone involved and especially to Manager Steve White for a tournament win after the disappointment of missing out on the National Final on penalties.
Many thanks and a special mention to Coleshill Strollers for the emergency loan of their goalkeeper Terry Coton who kept six clean sheets in six matches. Well done and thanks Terry!!
BWFC IN TRA NATIONAL SOUTHERN LEAGUE – 5/11/17
Birmingham’s over 50’s had a solid start to the TRA National League with two wins and a draw. With four players missing from the side that lifted the WFA National Championships last week, they showed their strength in depth as Ade Whitehead, Andy Craddock and Rob Castle deputising.
Starting with a 4-1 victory over Stevenage with a Dave Norton hat trick and one from Andy Struthers, Birmingham were getting used to playing inside boards, something that isn’t akin to their flowing passing game. Following this result a 2-2 draw against home team Dagenham and Redbridge, once again a Norton brace completing Birmingham’s scoring.
Their final fixture against Laindon Athletic proved a purely one sided affair, shots rained in on their keeper and at one point the referee halted play for him to rest and get his breath, he produced some marvellous saves but could not prevent Birmingham septet of goals as another Dave Norton hat trick a brace from David Castle and singles from Struthers and Rob Castle completing the 7-0 score line.
After the game skipper David Castle commented,”It’s been a good experience for some of the players that have deputised today and everyone can be proud of their performance, we played against three teams that only play in the boards and not lost so we’d take that, I think Norwich, Watford and Bexley seem well organised and they will be the teams to beat in this competition.”
BWFC NATIONAL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS 2017
Birmingham Over 50’s confirmed their status as the leading lights in Walking Football as they took their second major National Trophy in as many months, as they were crowned National Champions in the most prestigious WFA Tournament.
Up against two previous winners and a three times finalist they took the spoils with an impressive all round display, their first game against Leggy Mambos from Barnsley was a cagey affair Darren Bradley and David Castle kept things tight at the back and only limited opportunities for Ian Ward and Dave Norton meant a statement 0-0 result . In their second fixture against Stroud, Birmingham totally dominated as shots rained in on John Hammonds in the Stroud goal, some incredible saves and the post kept Birmingham at bay, then an innocuous shot found its way to the back of Birmingham’s net. Mike Milligan was proving a handful for Stroud’s defence as he continually found Ward and Norton with superb passes, Andy Struthers and Dave Wright both went close when yet another Milligan pass slipped in Ward and his low shot beat the keeper only for the referee to have adjudged it as encroaching the area. With time ticking away Birmingham were staring their first defeat at impressive Solihull base, when a brilliant Bradley pass saw Dave Norton fire home .With the Brummies totally on top Norton scored again with only seconds remaining to mean only a draw was needed to qualify for the final.
Last year’s Champions Herne Bay stood in their way, another Dave Norton rocket put Birmingham in control and their flowing game meant a comfortable passage to their first ever WFA National Final as the Bradley and Castle partnership again proved solid. If their group stage game against the all conquering Leggy Mambos was cagey, the final was anything but, both teams had chances in the first few minutes with Derek Hughes making an excellent save in the Birmingham goal, Two minutes before half time Ward and Norton exchanged passes brilliantly and Norton coolly slotted home in front of the jubilant crowd to put one and on the cup.
Shortly after half time Norton swivelled and shot to put Birmingham two up with seven minutes to play, Leggy Mambo’s then threw everything at Birmingham and gave themselves hope with a goal two minutes from time, in a breakaway Norton had a chance to complete his hat-trick but blazed over from close range. Milligan calmed everyone’s nervous with a faultless display retaining possession for long periods and the referees whistle meant Birmingham were National Champions.
Dave Norton was duly named Player of the Tournament for his brilliant 5 goals and all round play, but the secret of their hugely successful season has been the journey they have made has been as a team with everyone contributing at important times. They now represent England in the Home Internationals in Wales in December with the hope of been crowned British Champions.
After the game Birmingham Manager Paul Murtagh said, “I can’t tell you how relieved I am that we finally won in this major tournament! These guys deserve it after all the near misses and disappointment they’ve had in the previous years, always a bridesmaid tag can now be officially removed! The team played tremendously well today and all got behind the ball and defended their lead when it really mattered. Respect goes out to our worthy opponents Leggy Mambos who battled till the final whistle.”
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS CENTRAL FINAL – 22/10/17 OVER 50’s WINNERS
Birmingham’s Over 50 ’s confirmed their place in the Prestigious WFA National Final for the second consecutive year, by overcoming Sheffield United, Norwich City and Hereford, they became the only team to qualify for all four majors in 2017 (Peoples Cup, EFL Trophy and Champion of Champions)
Their first fixture played at Solihull Walking Football Centre against Sheffield proved a tight affair, the ever impressive Ian Ward giving the Brummies the lead in the first minute as his shot slid under the advancing keeper. Birmingham looked solid and compact at the back with Darren Bradley, David Castle and Shane Ward rotating successfully to deny any threat from the Yorkshire men. On the stroke of half time, Bradley was adjudged to have encroached into the area and the resulting penalty was despatched with confidence to draw the scores level. The second half was much the same as the first as Birmingham seemed in control with their passing game working to great effect. From a free kick Sheff Utd were found napping and a brilliant short pass from Darren Bradley found Shane Ward in space and he cooly slotted home. Despite losing a player in the last two minutes Birmingham saw out the game with some resolute and effective defending. Derek Hughes in goal showing both confidence and great distribution.
The 2-1 victory against their perceived most difficult opponent had left Birmingham in great spirit , but realising they needed to be thoroughly professional they kept their shape and concentration during their next game against Norwich City who had lost their first fixture to Hereford, Manager Paul Murtagh continually using rotating substitutes to great effect , once again the perfect start was achieved as Dave Norton turned from a Andy Struthers pass to smash home the opener, then Dave Wright, used as an impact substitute, rolled his defender continually to score two sublime goals to give Birmingham a 3-0 half time lead. Struthers, Ward and the in-form Wright went close in the second half, but to no avail, the only blemish for Birmingham being a sloppy last minute consolation for Norwich. The 3-1 victory meant that only a draw was needed to secure their place in the National Final.
Hereford had proved to be a tough opponent but lacked a cutting edge, so Birmingham knew that a goal would probably be enough for them to confirm qualification, Norton, Castle and Ian Ward had all had chances but a goalless first half meant it was still in the balance. Dave Wright then produced some sublime skill as another inch perfect Norton pass was latched onto and he cooly dinked the keeper to give Birmingham the lead, this was soon doubled as Norton beat the keeper on the near post with a superb turn and shot a 2-0 victory confirming their advancement.
After the game Manager Paul Murtagh commented, “This was a very satisfying victory for us, having 7 outfield players of the quality we have gives me so many options with rotating the guys, giving them breaks and enabling them to stay fresh. At times our football was a joy to watch, Dave, Brads and Shane are developing such a good understanding at the back and in Norts, Andy, Dave and Wardy we have goals and skill in abundance. We know we need to stay focussed and we will have a chance in the final next week, the WFA Final has always been our focus, as we were not happy with our performance at last year’s event, this gives us a great opportunity to put it right ”
BWFC OVER 60’s AT CENTRAL REGION FINAL – 22/10/17 DRAW (BRAMCOTE THROUGH ON PENALTIES)
Birmingham Over 60s travelled to Leicester for the Walking Football Central Region Final. Unfortunately Wisbech withdrew so it ended up as a head to head with Bramcote from Nottingham area.
There were team changes due to injury and unavailability and Steve Evans made his debut in midfield with Malcolm Thorp who had recovered from injury in time to play. Birmingham made a slow start and Bramcote were gifted their only clear cut chance after a few minutes with their player one on one with Les in goal who as reliable as ever was able to parry the shot for a corner. The game settled into a stalemate with both sides cancelling each other out, chances were at a premium with large goal areas and lengthy pitch making it difficult for both midfields to support attackers.
Birmingham began to have most of the play but Bramcote were well organised and frustrated most of the attacks not allowing Dave W any real opportunities to hit the target. The second half continued in the same vein with Bramcote content to frustrate with some well drilled possession football in their own half. Birmingham worked hard but were unable to get the vital goal and at full time the score was 0-0. The game then went to a further 10 minutes each way with Birmingham continuing to be frustrated by Bramcote who appeared happy to settle for penalties. Eventually Dave W managed to get a one on one with the keeper who made an excellent save with his legs and a couple more half chances were thwarted by their impressive keeper. Les in goal for Birmingham had only had to make two saves in an hour of football but all credit to Bramcote who frustrated Birmingham and had put them in with a chance of going through to the National Finals.
Birmingham missed their first two penalties with their keeper again saving well. Bramcote scored their first but hit the bar with their second and Steve Evans coolly slotted home for Birmingham. The Bramcote captain had to score to win and his shot hit the bar but rebounded down over the line to send them through.
A disappointing end for Birmingham 60s who had knocked out last year’s champions Hartshill and progressed to this stage without letting in a goal. Thanks to all the players for their sterling performances.
Well done to Bramcote who reached the National Finals and finished 3rd overall.
BIRMINGHAM FA PREMIER LEAGUE TROPHY – 22/10/17 – OVER 50’s
BWFC had a busy day last Sunday with BWFC Blues playing in the National Championships Central Final at Solihull and BWFC Whites playing for the Birmingham FA Premier League trophy! The Whites who played away in Bedworth beat Coleshill Town 2-0, Bedworth United 3-0 and lost out in their last game to an active Wyndley side 3-2! Manager Simon Dyer taking the role of Goal keeper in place of the regular Martin Williams due to the sudden passing of his Mother, our thoughts and sympathies are with him and his family. Congratulations to the team who get to hold the coverted shield for the next twelve months!
KINGSMAID CUP TOURNAMENT MANCHESTER OVER 60’s – SEMI FINALISTS 8/10/17.
BWFC attended the Kingsmaid Cup tournament last Sunday along with 9 other over 60’s teams & were divided into two leagues.
League 1: Boston United, Barnsley Pals, Baslow, Wakefield Wanderers, Staffordshire Moor,
League 2: Birmingham WFC, Man City, Leggy Mambos, Bracknell Town, Preston North End.
Our first game was against Preston North End who we beat comfortably 3-0 with Dave Whatmore scoring a hat trick!
The second game we played Manchester City which resulted in another win for BWFC, this time 2-0 with John Cooper and Dave Burgess joining Whatmore on the score sheet.
Our third game was against the well organised Leggy Mambos. They scored straight from the kick off putting BWFC under pressure from the start!
They managed to do this against two other teams they played against later in the tournament!
Les had his work cut out in goal but really frustrated Leggy Mambos by saving numerous hammer shots. Despite John Cooper scoring a very good goal, we eventually lost the game 3-1.
In the fourth game we played Bracknell Town and although they passed the ball around very well they could only manage to score one goal.
We were huffing and puffing by now as we had no subs on the bench, but we dug in hard and eventually beat them 2-1 with goals from Keith Laishley and Dave Whatmore
The three wins earned BWFC a semi-final slot against Wakefield Wanderers from League 1.
Wakefield turned out to be a very good side that moved the ball very quickly. They scored two very lucky goals followed by a third goal which finished us off with a 3-0 defeat.
Leggy Mambo’s (from Barnsley) went on to win the tournament beating Wakefield Wanderers 1-0 in the final.
Although each of the five games were only 12 minutes in duration, we found it very draining as the tournament progressed into the later stages. The ball could be played off the side and end walls of the pitch, therefore stayed in play for most of the time. All the other teams had subs which were invaluable for a tournament of this size. The referees used were of a good standard and made fair decisions which was nice to see.
Our two new players Dave Burgess and John Cooper gelled into the BWFC team very quickly and both contributed in scoring excellent goals. The Kingsmaid Cup was a great experience which should stand us in good stead for future competitions.
BWFC team – Les Dawson, Keith Laishley, Paul Foster, Dave Burgess, Dave Whatmore, John Cooper.
RAY USHER MEMORIAL CUP (Over 60’s & 65’s)– 03/10/17 – WINNERS
BWFC 3 – 1 COLESHILL STROLLERS
BWFC and Coleshill Strollers Over 65’s completed this years series of matches in the Over 60 and Over 65 age groups for the Ray Usher Memorial Cup.
In the beginning it was agreed there would be a series of friendly matches played between the two clubs throughout the year, and to make it interesting, a trophy would be presented to the overall winners.
The competition began with the nickname of “The Biscuit Cup” but was later renamed The Ray Usher Memorial Cup in honour of a well respected member of Coleshill Strollers WFC who sadly passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest at home.
All of the matches played this year have generally been played in a competitive spirit with no quarter asked for and non given.
Tuesday’s final match in the series was no exception and once or twice players had to be reminded of the MINIMAL CONTACT rule.
It was a very competitive match from start to finish. Coleshill started well and took the lead after 10 mins play. Then after a fairly sluggish start, Birmingham got into their stride and played some very nice pass and move football and equalised with a superb team goal. Good work by Dave Burgess and Decka Thorp provided Tony Lilley with the opportunity to provide a slide rule pass to the edge of the penalty box where Andy Nelson finished with aplomb.
Two more well taken goals by Decka Thorp before half time put Birmingham 3-1 up.
Coleshill upped their game in the second half but could not make any headway against a strong and determined BWFC midfield and defence and the game ended as the first had at 3-1 to Birmingham.
Our thanks and congratulations go to everyone from the ranks of the Over 60’s and Over 65’s who have taken part in this years competition.
Well done and let’s do it again in 2018 !!
ROTHERHAM UTD WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT – Over 65’s & over 60’s – 27/9/2017 3rd & 4th place
BWFC sent two sides to the Rotherham United Walking Football Tournament on Wednesday 27th September 2017.
Both sides put in some good displays with BWFC “A” finishing 3rd and BWFC “B” coming home in 4th place overall.
It was a 5 a side competition, each match being 20 mins duration straight through, and was played off the side and back boards with no head height restriction!! This led to some fast and furious play and the use of substitutes was essential to alleviate the tiredness factor.
Our two teams were drawn apart in the two group stages, and both sides reached the semi final stage of the completion, avoiding playing each other by finishing 2nd in their respective groups.
BWFC A ( Over 65’s team ) were unbeaten in the group stage, winning 1 match and drawing 2, drawing again in the semi final 2 – 2 before going out of the competition on penalty kicks !!
BWFC B ( Over 60’s team ) containing a number of players making their competitive debuts for the club, Won 2 and lost 1 match in the group stage but unfortunately losing heavily in the semi final to the eventual winners Rotherham A.
Some very creditable performances for a side playing together in a competition for the first time.
BWFC A Won 2-1 Drew 2-2 Drew 2-2 Semi Final Drew 2-2 Lost 4-5 on Penalties.
BWFC B Won 4-0 Lost 4-6 Won 4-0 Semi Final Lost 1-6
EDWARDS STARS AS BIRMINGHAM MAKE IT 3 IN 15 DAYS
Birmingham’s over 50’s made it 3 trophies in 15 days as they took the Worcester Silver Cup. In a round robin first round, they beat home team Hindlip 2-0, Highley 3-1 and Retro Rovers from Surrey 1-0.
In short, ten minute games and small pitches it was difficult for Birmingham to totally assert their dominance, but all victories were comfortable with Derek Hughes in goal having little to do. Gareth Edwards gave them the perfect start with a well taken goal from a tight angle, and Steve Sale making his tournament debut pounced on a loose ball to smash home the second. Shropshire side Highly were comfortably despatched with a brace from the impressive Edwards and a pile driver from his midfield partner Andy Struthers. The only blemish a fortunate looping goal which beat the prostrate Hughes.
Having already qualified for the final a last minute goal again from Edwards secured their third win meaning a meeting against the only side to beat Birmingham in the last 4 months, Bedworth.
A second minute strike from the unusually quiet Dave Wright gave Birmingham a comfortable 1-0 victory against their rivals as once again David Castle and Adrian Whitehead kept the Bedworth forwards very quiet.
A meeting against home side Hindlip in the final ensued, once again a perfect start was secured as from the kick off every Birmingham player touched the ball before Struthers cut inside and planted his right foot shot into the corner. A totally bizarre un-characteristic goalkeeping error from Derek Hughes, meant Hindlip levelled against the run of play, then only 30 seconds later a ricochet from Dave Wright’s shin trickled towards the Hindlip goal where their keeper let it roll through his hands and legs to put Birmingham back in front. They then comfortably managed the game to ensure a perfect 5 wins from 5 and a third trophy in as many weeks.
After the game Dave Castle commented, “I thought we acquitted ourselves really well today, Gareth stood out for me, not just his goals but his all round performance. Ade broke up play really well enabling Andy and Dave some freedom and Steve Sale held the ball up brilliantly to bring others into play. I was really pleased for Derek at the end, he rarely makes mistakes and he would have been gutted if that had cost us. ”
WFA LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS TOURNAMENT – WINNERS 24/9/17
Birmingham finally land a major!
BWFC made it 2 trophies in 2 weeks following up from their Bham FA league success, the previous week. Winning the league meant that BWFC qualified for the WFA league of Champions trophy. The tournament brought together all the winners of their respective leagues and was to be held at the new walking football centre in Solihull. Teams from Hartlepool to Kent travelled to the new centre to play the tournament in glorious sunshine throughout the day.
First up for BWFC were the very solid Seaton Carew from Hartlepool. A cagey 0-0 affair was played out with the best chance falling to Seaton that brought out the very best of the Birmingham keeper Derek Hughes, diving at full stretch to keep out the Northerners. Notoriously slow starters BWFC soon found their groove and dispatched Derbyshire outfit, Risley Kicks 5-1, with goals from D Norton, A Struthers, I Ward, D Wright and goal of the tournament from Ian ‘Razor’ Gough. Next up for BWFC were Abbeymead Rovers, a very comfortable 2-0 win, Birmingham rarely troubled, looking comfortable throughout, Dave Norton and Dave Wright on the score sheet. As the tournament heated up Birmingham and National Champions Herne Bay were both unbeaten and faced each other next. Birmingham took the initiative but with Herne Bay happy to defend around their area, chances were at a premium. Best chance falling to Dave Norton in the final minute who chipped the keeper but unfortunately ‘over head height’! final score 0-0. Final game for Birmingham was against Derbyshire league champs Burton Albion. Due to tournament rules BWFC just needed to win and not concede (goals against taking priority over goal difference). A thoroughly professional job was done in emphatic style winning 5-0. (D Norton, D Wright, I Ward x 2, A Struthers). Birmingham now sat top of the league but with Seaton Carew and Herne Bay still to play. Seaton triumphed in an ill tempered affair which meant BWFC finished 2nd unbeaten, only conceding 1 goal. BWFC now faced Seaton in a repeat of the opening game in the final. Seaton took the upper hand in the early stages while Birmingham adopted to the larger pitch. BWFC grew into the game and it took a moment of quality from Darren Bradley to break the deadlock. Bradley latched onto an inch perfect pass following a free kick from Ian Ward and dispatched a superb strike into the bottom left corner of the Seaton goal. BWFC played out the remainder of the match without scare to seal their first major success.
Manager Paul Murtagh commented …
“I thought the lads were class today, every one of them played for each other and the team gelled as a result. It’s so satisfying to finally win a major trophy having come so close on so many other occasions, It’s extra sweet to do it on our new ground! Hopefully this win has broken the duck and is the first of many as we establish ourselves as a major force in the game”
League of champions 2017
BIRMINGHAM COUNTY FA WALKING FOOTBALL LEAGUE.
Qualification for the semi final of The WFA Central Final on October 22nd meant that Birmingham’s over 50’s had to go into the penultimate weekend of the inaugural County FA league having to fulfil their remaining four fixtures to ensure their name was on the trophy, as a fixture clash would have ensued.
Knowing that 3 wins from their remaining fixtures would be enough they were relaxed if not spectacular in their 5-0 win over Coleshill. A brace from Ian Ward and singles from Darren Bradley, Dave Norton and Dave Wright meant only two more wins were needed. Meantime Sutton Town’s team had failed to arrive which meant a 3-0 walk over left one win from two games would be enough to take the spoils.
Birmingham started brightly as shots rained in on the Bedworth keeper, Norton was denied with a brilliant save which was pushed onto the crossbar and both Ward and Wright were also thwarted by the woodwork. As Birmingham pushed for what would be the title winning goals they were caught out at the back, Dave Castle was unable to stop a three man break and Bedworth scored past Derek Hughes after 6 minutes. Press as they might the brummies were unable to unlock a solid and organised defence and then some brilliant goalkeeping. In fact but for a couple of outstanding close range saves from Hughes it could have been more as Bedworth’s counter attacking game was proving effective. A 1-0 defeat, their first of the whole tournament meant only victory against Wyndley would be enough to crown Birmingham as Champions and in turn qualify them for the Champions trophy to be held at Solihull the following week.
Normal service was resumed as a brilliant Andy Struthers pass for the first of Dave Norton’s hat trick and two from Dave Wright meant a 5-1 victory and another trophy for the bulging cabinet at Beechcroft Avenue.
Afterwards captain Dave Castle said, “At times today we looked flat , we have played a lot together now and should be able to adapt a little better than what we did when teams put men behind the ball. Sometimes though when we’ve gone so long unbeaten a defeat can do us good , perhaps bring some perspective and reality to the situation, but at the end of the day we have done enough to win the trophy and that’s the main thing.”
RAY USHER MEMORIAL CUP – 22/8/17
Coleshill Strollers 1 BWFC 0
The Over 65’s played their latest game away from home against Coleshill in the Ray Usher Memorial Cup on Tuesday 22nd August.
Both sides were evenly matched and a very good contest was played out in a good spirit on a warm and humid day.
Birmingham, resplendent in their oversize kit, started on the front foot and closed down the opposition in all areas of the pitch which enabled a number of scoring chances to be created. Unfortunately the Coleshill goalkeeper was in excellent form and produced some very good saves to deny Birmingham taking a deserved first half lead.
The second half also saw Birmingham pressuring the Coleshill back line and midfield area but inevitably the energy levels began to drop and Coleshill came more into the game.
Goalkeeper Rob Wood kept Birmingham in the match with two good saves but was unfortunate not to stop the winning goal for Coleshill. The shot was destined for the top corner of the net, Rob did well to get his hand to the ball but unfortunately could not prevent the goal being scored.
In the 10 or 15 minutes that remained Birmingham threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Coleshill, but just could not breach a very well marshalled defence.
SOLID BIRMINGHAM PUSH FOR TITLE – Birmingham County FA league 23/8/17
Birmingham’s over 50’s continued their long unbeaten run with two solid if not spectacular performances, with two games against Hartshill and Coleshill in the inaugural Birmingham County FA league, Dave Norton gave them the perfect start with a pin- point shot into the top corner to breakdown the Coleshill defence in the third minute. From then on Birmingham were able to relax and and settle into their passing game as Adrian Whitehead making his competitive debut for the club was giving nothing away, normally a combative midfielder he slotted in well alongside skipper David Castle in defence. His fine debut was capped with a superb strike which found the bottom corner of the Coleshill net and victory by 2-0 was complete.
Their second game against Hartshill was a fairly tight affair, whilst once again Birmingham’s keeper did not have a shot to save, chances were generally at a premium. David Castle then found himself in space from a excellent pass from David Wright and he finished with aplomb to score the only goal of the game. Birmingham now top the division and also have a game in hand on their rivals , their record of Played 5 won 4 drawn 1 with only one goal conceded meaning they could clinch the title in mid september with two further wins.
After the game Manager Paul Murtagh commented, “I thought we played some good football today without really getting out of second gear, we are adapting to new systems really well and everyone is contributing, I was really pleased for Ade making his debut, and scoring , we are developing a strong squad with good quality players . The standard of other teams is getting better and we need to make sure we stay ahead of the game, our strength in depth is going to be so important when it comes to the latter stages of the major tournaments”.
OVER 60’s WFU NATIONAL TOURNAMENT REGIONAL STAGE – NUNEATON – WINNERS 13/8/17
Birmingham Over 60s marched on in the Walking Football National Competition at Nuneaton on Sunday with victories over Coleshill and Leicester to reach the Central region final.
Birmingham played the first game against local rivals Coleshill and in a hard fought match were victors by 1-0. John Crampton scored the only goal in the first half when he found space near the opposition goal and slotted his shot home. Birmingham created a number of good chances particularly in the second half but due to some good saves and some wayward shooting were unable to make the game comfortable. Coleshill battled well to get back into the game but were unable to carve out any clear cut chances and all shots on target were calmly fielded by Les Dawson in goal. A good team performance with players working hard and supporting and encouraging each other. Coleshill then played Leicester an in an uncompromising encounter Leicester emerged victorious 2-0.
Birmingham then played the final match against Leicester with the winner going through to the Regional Final.
The match at times was quite physical but Birmingham settled better than the previous game and began passing the ball well and were rewarded when some excellent trickery by Steve Dixon found space near the goal and scored. Les Dawson was able to deal with any shots that came his way without any panic. Birmingham continued to work hard and not allow Leicester any space or time on the ball and were again successful when the team took advantage of the opposition being a player down because of a “blue” card and Malcolm Thorp was left in space and in typically cool fashion scored the second and decisive goal. Birmingham weathered the storm of the last few minutes with Leicester pressing and coping with a couple of “blue cards” to win the game.
A great team performance with hard work and graft from all the players and everyone will look forward to the next round.
Les Dawson, Barry Huntington, Keith Laishley, John Crampton, Malcolm Thorp, Steve Dixon, Dave Whatmore, Paul Foster, Steve White.
OVER 50’s WFU NATIONAL TOURNAMENT REGIONAL STAGE – NUNEATON – WINNERS 11/8/17
IMPRESSIVE OVER 50’S PROGRESS TO REGIONAL FINALS
Two thoroughly convincing performances saw Birmingham’s over 50’s progress to the Regional Final of the prestigious WFA Tournament. In the three way round robin they beat Coleshill and Leicester 4-0 and 2-0 respectively. With precise passing and excellent movement they proved far too strong for both opponents. A well work free kick between Dave Norton and Darren Bradley saw Bradley tuck in the opener into the corner of the Coleshill net. Norton then helped himself to a second before debutant Ian Ward’s beautiful dink finish made it three. Andrew Struthers then completed off a superb team goal where every Birmingham outfield player was involved to seal a comfortable victory.
After Leicester beat Coleshill 4-2 (coming from 2-0 down) it meant a winner takes all finale! Birmingham kept their nerve and whilst not appearing to get out of second gear totally controlled the play with Norton first, then a trademark Bradley thunderbolt saw off the East Midlanders.
Once again solid performances from David Castle at the back and Les Dawson in goal kept their opponents at bay , but Birmingham’s organisation and free flowing passing game was a joy to watch. Ian Ward slotted in to their system perfectly and with the Norton, Bradley, Struthers and Wright quartet, Birmingham have a goal threat everywhere.
Dave Norton said after the game, “We won it today as a real team, no individual person won the game, and collectively we were as good today as we’ve ever been. We need to keep learning and working with each other. Our attitude and understanding of what we are trying to achieve is getting so much better, and that’s so important if we want to take all the times where we have been found a little wanting (at finals) days to win a major national tournament.”
OVER 65’s TOURNAMENT RUNNERS UP – ROMFORD 11/8/17
Our Over 65’s Team took part in the Dagenham and Redbridge WFC Tournament in Romford, Essex on Friday 11th August.
Eight teams from Essex and East Anglia took part, and the competition was played on a round robin basis with the League Winners being crowned Champions.
Our first game was against Norwich “A” who were the eventual winners with a 100% record. It was a very close game and we can count ourselves very unlucky not to have won. Decka hit a post with one shot and had a goal disallowed for running by a Norwich defender, the referee having blown up for the offence a second or so before Decka struck the ball !!
The other results were as follows:
BWFC 3 Dagenham 0
BWFC 0 Walton Swifts 0
BWFC 7 Norwich “B” 0
BWFC 6 Southend United 0
BWFC 2 Chelmsford City 1
BWFC 4 Barnet 1
It was a great team effort all round on a hot and sunny day, but special mention must go to Derek Thorp who scored 16 Goals in the competition and Keith Phipps in goal who restricted the opposition teams to only 3 goals in seven matches.
Competition Goalscorers: Derek Thorp 16 Malcom Thorp 3 Billy McKee 1 John Limbourne 1 OG. 1
BIRMINGHAM GO TOP AS BRADLEY SCORES EIGHT!
Birmingham’s over 50’s went to the top of the county FA league as Darren Bradley went goal crazy, the former defender turned goal poacher scored 6 in an 8-0 victory over the hapless Shard End, further goals from Simon Dyer and Dave Norton completed the rout as keeper Les Dawson barely touched the ball all game.
In their second fixture another comprehensive 6-0 win over Stratford, with a brace from Bradley, singles from Simon Dyer, Andy Struthers, David Castle and a superb goal direct from a corner from Dave Norton. Once again Shay Flaherty ensured keeper Les Dawson had very little to do.
Assistant Manager Ian Gough commented “I thought the performance and the attitude of the lads was superb, the new system worked really well, once we play better opposition it will be the true yardstick of how successful it will be, We are learning so much about each other’s capabilities in these games, which can only help us when it comes to the bigger National Competitions, the only thing missing at this club is a major National trophy, we need to stay focused and I’m sure its achievable “
OVER 60/65’s TOURNAMENT – CHELMSFORD 10/7/17 – 3RD PLACE
BWFC headed down south to Essex yesterday for an over 60/65’s tournament, they played 8 games, won 4, drew 2 and lost 2 with only 2 goals getting past keeper Keith Phipps. Well done to all the gents who played!
Results as follows;
BWFC v Shooters 1-0 WIN (Derek Thorpe)
BWFC v Chelmsford Whites 0-0 DRAW
BWFC v Chelmsford Clarets 0-0 DRAW
BWFC v Norwich 1-0 LOSS
BWFC v Southend 2-0 WIN (Malcolm Thorpe & Derek Thorpe)
BWFC v Stevenage 1-0 WIN (Paul Feeney)
BWFC v Beccles 1-0 LOSS
BWFC v Norwich A 2-0 WIN (John Crampton & Derek Thorpe)
OVER 55’S GO ACTIVE GOLD TOURNAMENT – OXFORD 5/7/17 – RUNNERS UP
On Wednesday an over 55’s BWFC team headed to East Hagbourne Pavilion to meet 17 other teams for the Go Active Gold walking football tournament.
Results were as follows;
BWFC v Abbeymead Rovers 2-2 DRAW (Dave Wright 2)
BWFC v Brackley Senior Saints B 2-0 WIN ( Kev Mann 1, Dave Wright 1)
BWFC v Cherwell Strollers 1-2 WIN (Dave Wright )
BWFC v Eastleigh FC 1-1 DRAW (Dave Wright)
BWFC v Wiltshire Combos 2-2 DRAW (Dave Wright 2)
BWFC v Abingdon Almost Athletic 1-0 WIN (Dave Wright)
BWFC v Chalgrove Caveliers 3-0 WIN ( Dave Wright 3)
BWFC v Southend 2-1 WIN (Roy Atkins, Rod Thompson)
BWFC v Portsmouth 1-0 WIN (Kev Mann)
BWFC v Abbeymead Rovers 4-1 LOSS (Dave Wright)
BWFC LADIES OVER 40’S ATTEND FIRST EVER LADIES WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT – PRESTON DICK KERR CUP
FIRST EVER BWFC LADIES TEAM 2017
A team of BWFC ladies took part in the inaugural Dick Kerr Ladies Walking Football Tournament in Preston at the weekend. Teams from all over the country took part to celebrate the centenary year of the famous women’s football club. Heading into the unknown BWFC entered into the over 40’s category.
The first two games were pitched against two good teams, Blackpool (Non Runners) and Liverpool (Liverpool Feds A). Giving a good account of themselves BWFC lost both games 2-0 a piece with Caroline Reid being outstanding in goal in both games. It wasn’t long before their nerves disappeared and BWFC found their groove and registered a 1-0 win against Football United courtesy of a Sue Moogan corker.
Needing to win their last game to qualify for the shield semi final, the team played No Balls from Preston and brushed aside a 4-0 win with Alexa (2), Truley & Sonya getting on the score sheet. The win secured the ladies a 3rd place finish in their group and took them into the semi final for the shield. It was here they played Liverpool Feds B team.
After completely dominating the game playing some lovely football the ladies found themselves 1-0 down after a long range shot found itself in the back of the Birmingham net. Birmingham continued to press with Liverpool content to sit back and protect their lead. A string of fine saves from the Liverpool Keeper (awarded Goal keeper of the tournament) kept the Merseysiders in it. Birmingham considered themselves unfortunate after the referee erroneously called time early while Birmingham were pressing. BWFC ladies played some lovely stuff throughout the tournament considering the team hadn’t played any competitive matches before.
BWFC Chairman Paul Murtagh said, “Our girls should be immensely proud and consider themselves pioneers in ladies walking football.”
BWFC (over 60’s) attend Worcester Uni Tournament – WIN
Birmingham over 60s travelled to Worcester University for a three team tournament in what turned out to be sweltering, tropical conditions.
The games were 9 a side for 35 minutes which became a real test in the conditions. Birmingham started against Hindlip who were very mobile and strong but the defence kept them at bay for the first half and an excellent piece of goal poaching by John Limbourne grabbed the lead following an error in the Hindlip defence. John nearly added another goal on the stroke of half time but were thwarted by a good save from the keeper.
Hindlip started the second half in determined fashion and their pressure brought about a couple of errors in the Birmingham defence which they took advantage of to take the lead 2-1. Birmingham pressed for the leveller but were unable to carve out any further chances. Hindlip sealed the victory with an unstoppable shot from a free kick to win 3-1. A hard working performance from all the team was made more credible when we realised that this was Hindlip’s Over 50s team.
Hindlip then defeated Worcester to win the mini tournament and Birmingham played Worcester University to decide runner up spot. Birmingham won 8-0 with four from Dave Whatmore. Thanks to the team particularly the debutants Tony L and Steve who performed with credit and Brendan for his advice and time keeping.
Birmingham over 50’s Walking Football League
Birmingham’s Over 50’s made a solid if not spectacular start to the newly formed Birmingham FA league, ten local teams will fight it out over 4 separate mini tournament days over the next three months to be crowned Champions. Birmingham first fixture produced a 5-1 victory over Bedworth as Dave Norton’s early strike set them on their way. An Andy Struthers free kick and further goals from Darren Bradley, Ian Gough and Norton meant a comfortable victory with Bedworth scoring a late consolation in the last minute. The Blues second opponents were Hartshill, who once again decided that to sit back and defend a 0-0 was their best option of gaining anything from the game. Birmingham bombarded the Hartshill keeper who performed miracles in goal, with at times sublime goalkeeping. Bradley, Norton and David Castle all went close but to their credit the Hartshill tactics worked, after 20 minutes of continual pressure they held out for a credible draw.
After the game skipper Castle commented, four points is a decent start for us, I don’t think we could have done much more, their keeper was incredible, we have to give Hartshill credit, they have a game plan and stick to it, and it’s up to us to break them down. We know this league will be tight there were lots of draws today we just need to be a little bit more clinical.
EFL Tournament Bodymoor Heath 17/6/17 – Runners Up
Birmingham’s over 50’s took the runners up medals home in blistering heat at Bodymoor Heath as they became the only team in the country to qualify for the three major tournament finals (National Championships, Peoples Cup and EFL Trophy).
Goals were at a premium as defences proved difficult to breakdown, their first two fixtures against Dagenham and Redbridge and Sheffield United producing two goalless games. Plymouth were then beaten 2-1 and Gillingham 1-0 with goals from Dave Wright 2 and Andrew Struthers. Needing only a point from their final fixture against Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham totally dominated and took a 1-0 lead with another class finish from Wright. Just before the final whistle Blackburn sneaked an equaliser, but the Blues had made it through to the final remaining unbeaten.
Holders Blackpool stood in their way, once again Birmingham totally dominated but were unable to breach the Blackpool goal, extra time ensued and still no deadline could be broken. Penalties would decide who met Sheffield United in the final, after 28 successful conversions Blackpool were denied by a brilliant Rob Castle save, this left David Castle to slot home the winner and put his side through to the final 15-14 on penalties
Before the final Paul Murtagh and Ian Gough took part in an exhibition game for prostate cancer against former Aston Villa players including Ian Taylor, Sean Teale and Brian Small. The two gave a good account of themselves despite the pedigree of the opposition, in one such move Ian Gough laid a perfect pass to Murtagh who turned Ian Taylor but unfortunately hit the post. Aston Villa’s experience shone through in the end and ran out 3-1 winners in a deserved victory.
The final took place shortly afterwards and a game played in excellent spirit with two strong teams Sheffield United finally breached Birmingham goal and Rob Castle was finally beaten after a string of fine saves.
Manager Paul Murtagh commented that “we gave an excellent performance throughout today, Dave Wright was as usual a threat to all the defences, Andy Struthers worked tirelessly supported by Kev Reid and Simon Dyer, Shay Flaherty never lets me down and Dave Castle was his usual brick wall at the back, but for me Rob Castle, a reluctant goalkeeper, was our man of the tournament. We have qualified for every major final which no other club in the country has done, we just need that little bit of luck and I’m sure one of them will be ours soon.”
Use this following link to read the write up – http://www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk/
Worcester Uni Over 60’s 16/6/17
A good performance in the first half against Hindlip to be leading 1-0 at half time but we were worn down by what turned out to be their 50s team with a couple of 60s to lose 3-1 to a couple of sloppy goals and an unstoppable shot from a free kick. Hindlip then beat Worcester 4-1.
In our second game we beat a wilting Worcester team 8-0 with a comprehensive victory.
Ray Usher Memorial Cup 14/6/17
BWFC 3-1 Coleshill Over 60’s – WIN
BWFC came out on top in the next round of the Ray Usher memorial cup which was played at Beechcroft in sweltering heat. Dave Whatmore opened the scoring to give BWFC an early lead which was doubled with a fine finish from debutant Mark Evans. Dave Whatmore was again on hand to pounce on some poor defending to further the lead for Birmingham. Coleshill pulled a consolation goal back towards the end but it was too little too late. Birmingham had Tommy ‘gun’ Harrison to thank for pulling off a clutch of fine saves throughout the match.
WFU NATIONAL TOURNAMENT WEST MIDS REGIONAL FINAL 60+
BWFC 1 – 0 Hartshill Strollers – WIN
Birmingham Over 60s travelled to Walsall Wood for the first round of the National Cup and following a very tight game won the game 1-0 to knock out last year’s champions, Hartshill.
The game as predicted was close with two well matched teams ably kept in check by referee Steve Dredge. Hartshill started the stronger and hit a couple of long shots which were expertly dealt with by Les. Both teams appeared restricted by the large goal areas which encouraged shooting from distance and did not allow for a great deal of passing football near the opposition goal. The first half became a war of attrition which chances at a premium. Both teams were quick to close down and there were a few hefty challenges by both sides.
Birmingham began to stretch Hartshill and get more support to Dave W up front and were rewarded when an opposition player gave the ball away and Dave W was quick to seize the opportunity to strike the ball home. Hartshill seemed stunned by the goal and took a while to regain their composure with Birmingham failing to convert a couple of half chances. Hartshill came back strongly in the last ten minutes and despite carving out a couple of good chances were wayward in their shooting or thwarted by Les in goal.
The whole team played well with Barry and Keith keeping it tight at the back, Malcolm and John working like trojans in midfield in a physical battle and Dave W putting in another combative display up front. Steve D came on as a sub and worried the opposition with his mobility and Paul F also came on to beef up the midfield. A great team performance but Man of the Match was Keith L who curbed his attacking instincts to be rock solid in defence.
All credit to Hartshill who were worthy champions last year and a shame that one of us had to exit the competition at such an early stage.
BWFC IN ALICANTE – DAY 3
It has to be said, after yesterday’s achievements, today was disappointing for BWFC from the football perspective. Several players were unavailable due to injuries picked up over the first two days and others were carrying knocks and strains into games when really they shouldn’t have been playing at all.
First game of the day however was eventful to say the least. Monte Mentals, our hosts, faced another local team Lo Crispin. What ensued was a feisty encounter, played at pace! and with full-on contact. The game needed a strong referee – which it didn’t really get. Spectators also had something of a wrestling match to enjoy which resulted in one of the Lo Crispin players being pulled by the feet, out from under some of the opposition players. Needless to say, the main protagonists were ejected from the game for a time! The final result was 3-2 to Monte Mentals. The next game involving BWFC against Monte Mentals was nothing if not an anticlimax. And we lost. Two goals down early in the first half left us with a lot to do. A much better second half performance gave us hope but another goal from our opponents saw the game finish 3-0 to Monte Mentals. Our second game of the day was against Lo Crispin and saw us suffer another heavy defeat. Again, the second half display was better and a penalty, scored by Brendan, helped cut the deficit but the game finished 4-1 to Lo Crispin. Our last game of the day, played in considerable heat, was against Coleshill. Everyone was suffering with the heat and injuries at this point and the game remained close at 1-1, with Brendan again scoring for BWFC, until the latter stages. Late on in the game, Coleshill were forced to make a change in goal due to another injury which meant Coleshill’s Bob coming out of goal to swap places with Jimmy and resume his role as their striker – and yes, he scored their winner with only minutes remaining. Another defeat for us! Not a great day’s football but I think I can speak for all of us, including the boys from Coleshill, in saying we all had a great time. Stan from Monte Mentals and the rest of his team were wonderful hosts and the organisation for the trip has been great. We’ve enjoyed good food, great company and the odd drink along the way.
All I can say is … see you again next year!
MM 3-2 LoC
BWFC 0-3 MM
Col 3-2 LoC
MM 0-0 Col
LoC 4-1 BWFC
BWFC 1-2 Col
Winners of the daily trophy for today and of the overall trophy for all games between ourselves, Coleshill and Monte Mentals were Monte Mentals.
BWFC OVER 60’S IN ALICANTE – DAY 2
Alicante 2017 Team Pic
A better day!
Our first game of the day was against local team, Monte Mentals. They fielded probably their strongest team and we again went behind in the first half although our overall display was much improved from yesterday. We steadied the ship in the second half but still lost out by 3 – 0. Next up for BWFC were today’s invited team, Porta Bellows. A strong start from BWFC combined with strict application of the rules by the ref resulted in a well deserved victory with goals from Steve Hughes and two, including a penalty, from John Limbourne who played the game hampered by a hamstring injury which he aggravated in the first game.
Other results meant that the last game of the morning against Coleshill would decide the outcome of the day’s proceedings. BWFC went ahead with a brilliant goal from Billy McKee and Ken Scott made it 2-0 with a fine individual effort. Coleshill pulled one back before Chris Baker scored to make the final result 3-1 to BWFC. However, it wasn’t quite enough and we lost out for the day’s trophy to Monte Mentals on goal difference.
MM = Monte Mentals
PB = Porta Bellows
COL = Coleshill
MM 3 – 0 BWFC
PB 3 – 1 COL
MM 2 – 3 COL
PB 0 – 3 BWFC
MM 3 – 2 PB*
BWFC 3 – 1 COL
(*Both sides involved in the match between Monte Mentals and Porta Bellows were convinced it finished as a 2-2 draw which would’ve meant we only needed a win in our last game. However, the ref of that game was convinced it finished 3-2 to Monte Mentals and, as the ref, his decision was final! This meant we needed to beat Coleshill by a four goal margin to finish ahead on goal difference so our 3-1 win wasn’t quite enough).
BWFC OVER 60’S IN ALICANTE – DAY 1
(Matches played using new FA rules – direct free kicks and no pass-backs unless ball played by another player).
We arrived at the ground expecting to be playing the first game of the day against Coleshill. However, they were late arriving so the fixtures were switched and we played our first game against local side Monte Mentals. MM got off to a flying start and bwfc were 3 down within a five minute blistering start from the local team. The second half was much better from bwfc and a goal from John Limbourne pegged MM back briefly but they scored again to finish the game 4-1 winners.
Second game for bwfc followed immediate against the now arrived coleshill. Again, bwfc conceded two quick goals until they steadied the ship with a solid performance second half. However with no more goals, the game ended in a 2-0 defeat. Our final game of the day was against Moraira, the eventual winners of the day’s tournament. Bwfc went 2 down in the first half but fought back to 2-2 after two excellent goals from John Limbourne. The first of these a brilliant free kick curled left footed into the top corner. The second was from a first time finish from a corner played at pace across the box. However Moraira scored two more goals in the second half to see out victory. We may have lost the game but credit to bwfc for stopping the Moraira midfielders who had scored freely in their other games. They scored 6 in each of their other matches!
Bwfc 1 – Monte Mentals 4
Coleshill 2 – bwfc 0
Coleshill 4 – moraira 6
Bwfc 2 – moraira 4
Monte mentals 1 – coleshill 1
Moraira 6 – Monte mentals 1
ENGLAND WIN THE WORLD CUP!
Now there’s a term you thought you’d never hear again, for a while at least!
BWFC were invited to enter a team to represent England in the International Super Vets 5 a side world cup football tournament held in Swansea 12th May 2017. Games were scheduled against teams representing Scotland, Wales and Canada. The Over 65’s Walking football category was a first for the tournament organizers who have been organizing international tournaments all over the world since 2009. First up for England was Scotland, and England got off to a dream start when Derek Thorp slotted home to put the three lions 1 up after being superbly set up by his brother Malcolm. However, a few minutes later a mix up in the England defence allowed Scotland back in to level at 1-1. England struggled to find the fluency they showed in recent warm up games and Scotland (fielding BWFC midfielder Frank Hughes) were deserving of their point, Final score 1-1. Next up, England v Wales Vets, again Derek Thorp produced a fine strike to put England in the driving seat early on to go 1-0 up against the experienced Welsh. An even contest throughout with the Welsh causing problems for the English defence making good use of the aerial ball and the ability of the goalkeeper to advance out of his area. In one such instance the Welsh were lucky to have their goalkeeper on the pitch after deliberately handling a goal bound shot on the half way line!! Fortunately it didn’t prove costly for England and they ran out deserved winners, Final score 1-0. England v Wales (YMA O HUD), the People’s Cup finalists of 2015 proved to be no match for England 2 more from D.Thorp, 1 from M.Thorp and a deserved goal for John Crampton really cemented England as the team to beat at the tournament. The scoreline could have been by a greater margin after striking the woodwork twice and missing a penalty. Goals were now precious as England were only ahead of the impressive Scots by goals scored in the tournament table, Final score 4-0. England v Canada, getting their early tournament nerves well out of the way now the England team started to find their groove and brushed aside Canada with 2 further goals from D Thorp and a sublime back healed finish from M Thorp. Keith Phipps, who had never played in goal before the tournament warm up games, was proving to be a real find with a string of fine saves all afternoon. With Del Whitmore and Barry Huntington marshalling the defence superbly England looked secure at the back. John Crampton and Dave Burgess showed their versatility by doing the job asked of them in both Midfield and defence and John Limborne proved he can play in more than one position and was unlucky to hit the post with a fine strike late on. Final score 3-0. Final game for England were the host team representing Wales (Swansea City). It wasn’t long before any nerves we’re calmed when England were awarded a penalty after M.Thorp was clumsily brought down in the area, Derek stepped up only to have his spot kick saved but the impressive Barry Huntington was first to react to hammer home the rebound. A deserved goal for Barry who had been superb all tournament who had gone close several times. A hat trick from goal machine Derek Thorp put the contest beyond doubt and the team played the ball around like Brazil, in glorious sunshine, Final score 4-0. Scotland now needed to score 8 goals in their last match against Wales to overturn the English and a 0-0 draw confirmed England as ‘over 65’s 5 a side world champions’.
‘After the recent disappointments suffered by the over 50’s, this victory was even sweeter, I’m over the moon. I felt our preparation was good, the team adapted well to different rules and overcame some quality opposition. Every man played their part and did everything I asked of them. They can all be very proud of themselves and have proved they are a force to be reckoned with in the over 65’s category.”
copy and paste for results info http://faculty.educ.ubc.ca/hubball/worldcup16/tournament2016.html
CHESTERTON TOURNAMENT – OVER 50’S 7/5/17 (SEMI-FINALISTS)
DEJA VU FOR UNBEATEN BLUES
Birmingham’s over 50’s went out at the semi final stage on penalties for the second weekend on the bounce, after coming through the group stages comfortably with victories over Stone and Stoke City 1-0 and 3-0 respectively and a 1-1 draw against the impressive Sheffield United outfit where their only goal conceded being a penalty.
Dave Norton with 3 and Dave Wright with 2 had combined impressively whilst Andy Struthers creativity was proving a problem for the opposition. Birmingham had looked solid at the back with Kev Reid and Ian Gough being marshalled by Dave Castle, leaving Les Dawson with little to do.
A quarter final ensued against home Chesterton, a superb Dave Wright goal settled it as he stroked home a fine Struthers pass. A place in the final was up for grabs against rivals Sheffield United and Birmingham started well, Dave Norton latched onto a rebound to hit his shot into the top corner, the unbelievable two uncharacteristic errors in defensive saw their opponents take a surprise lead. As Birmingham pressed deep into their opponents half Andy Struthers smashed an unstoppable shot to take the tie into penalties. Thoughts must have gone to last weeks Peoples Cup exit and once again Birmingham went out 3-2 on penalties.
After the game Captain Dave Castle commented “ we acquitted ourselves really well today, I really can’t believe what’s happened again, we should never really have gone to penalties, once again we have left a tournament unbeaten but without the trophy. We need to take our concentration levels up a notch, the last two weeks we have switched off and its cost us dear.”
BWFC IN PEOPLES CUP FINALS – Birmingham 30/4/17 (semi finalists)
IMPRESSIVE BLUES PAY THE PENALTY
Birmingham’s Over 50’s impressed on Sunday in the final of the Peoples Cup and left the competition as the country’s only unbeaten team. Having reached the final stage of the Peoples Cup for the third consecutive year hopes were high as Birmingham we able to field their strongest ever squad. All six teams were to play each other in a round robin format and the top four were to qualify for the semi finals. In a frantic start Birmingham drew 3-3 with an impressive Leeds side after taking a 1-0 lead through Dave Norton early on goals were exchange at regular intervals with Mike Milligan and David Wright also getting on the score sheet. Their next fixture against Wokingham also proved to be a goal fest, but Birmingham never really looked in danger as they ended up 3-2 winners with goals from Norton 2 and Darren Bradley sliding in the winner. Needing only one more win from their last three games to qualify , the slick Brummies relaxed and were more compact , 2-0 victories over Plymouth and Manchester City and a 1-0 win against Bedford, as Bradley and Dave Castle kept opposition forwards at bay goals from Norton, Milligan , Bradley and Andrew Struthers, confirmed Birmingham as Group winners and a semi final place against fourth placed Wokingham.
The semi final started disastrously for Birmingham as with three minutes gone they found themselves 2-0 down, Norton had gone close with two well saved efforts and Wright had hit the bar, before both scored to make it 2-2 . Birmingham pressed as the clock ticked down, there only looked to be one winner as shots reigned in on the Wokingham keeper, with 10 seconds left Wokingham broke away and Les Dawson made a fine save and the game went to penalties. Unfortunately Birmingham’s long journey in the competition ended here as Wokingham ran out winners 3-2 on penalties, The Blues record of P 17 W 14 D3 L 0 should have been enough to bring home the silverware.
After the game Manager Paul Murtagh commented , “I just can’t believe it, I’m gutted again, I know we were the best team here today and all the lads did the club proud, you need a little bit of luck to win these big tournaments and lady luck was just not with us in the end, To get so far, not lose a game and fall at the final hurdle again, is gut wrenching. We have to learn from it and move on, we are learning more each tournament about each other and our capabilities, as I say we need to get back in the saddle as soon as possible and next Sunday at Chesterton, gives us that chance”
BWFC (OVER 65’s) v COLESHILL 1-0 WIN
Birmingham triumphed in the second game of the over 65’s element of the Ray Usher Memorial Cup. John Limbourne player/Manager scored the only goal in the game, set up superbly by Barry Huntington. Birmingham lead the series having played two won two.
STEVE BRAGG TOURNAMENT
Birmingham over 50’s sent a representative team to a tournament to celebrate the life of Hartshill player Steve Bragg who unfortunately lost his life 12 months ago.
Drawn in group against Chesterton, Bedworth and Leicester, Birmingham found it difficult to breakdown the oppositions defence losing to Bedworth 1-0 and drawing their other two games 0-0, Birmingham looked solid enough at the back with Dave Castle and Shay Flaherty protecting Les Dawson’s goal effectively enough. Without a natural striker in their side it was always going to be difficult, a post denied Andy Craddock’s left foot shot, Andy Struthers and Gareth Edwards also had shots blocked as they dominated possession but created little in the way of clear cut chances.
Birmingham eventually went out in the quarter finals to the eventual runners up, a side made of friends & family of the late Steve Bragg, after yet another 0-0 draw, on penalties.
Skipper Castle commented, the lads from Hartshill did Steve proud, they had obviously worked hard to organise a well run tournament, scoring goals was always going to be an issue for us, as it proved.
BWFC over 50’s v REDDITCH UNITED 9-0 WIN
Ian Gough and Kevin Mann both struck hat tricks as Birmingham comfortably beat Redditch in their first competitive game, after 10 minutes Gough had helped himself to a hat trick and an assist as Birmingham led 4-0, further goals before half time , A Rob Castle brace and Mann’s second meant a comfortable 7-0 half time lead. The second half started in similar fashion as once again Mann scored with a superb finish to leave the Redditch keeper with no chance.
Paul Wilmott making his debut was pulling the strings in midfield as Birmingham were in total command, Dave Castle and Simon Dyer renewed their partnership at the back and looked very solid and when called upon Derek Hughes made some fine saves. Birmingham played out the second half with their usual passing game and this was rounded off with a Dave Castle penalty with a couple of minutes to go.
Next challenge for the over 50’s is the People Cup Final on Sunday in Birmingham where they take on Manchester City , Leeds United and Plymouth Argyle amongst others in a bid to win Walking Football’s equivalent of the FA Cup
THE RAY USHER CUP – BWFC (OVER 60’S) V COLESHILL 4-0 WIN
Birmingham travelled to Coleshill to play a 9 a side game in The Ray Usher Cup series on the impressive Packington Avenue all weather pitch. Due to last minute drop outs, Ewan and Roger were recruited from the Tuesday session at the club for their competitive debuts and both acquitted themselves with credit. Coleshill started in dominant fashion building up attacks from the back with some slick passing moves and were close with a couple of efforts. Birmingham began to get into the game and were awarded a penalty following a pass back infringement which was coolly despatched by Dave W. Following a tactical discussion at half time it was decided that we would press much higher as a team and disrupt the possession enjoyed by their defenders. This change did the trick and Birmingham dominated much of the second half and scored three more times from Dave W, Frank and John C. Coleshill threatened at times but the defence stood firm and worked hard to keep their skilful players under control. A game played in good spirit with very few fouls with a good performance from the referee. Excellent team performance from Birmingham once they gelled as a team and sorted out tactics. MOM Larry Hackman for cool display in defence with excellent distribution.
Tommy B, Paul F, Ewan K, Roger M, John C, Steve W, Frank H, Dave W, Larry H
A game that was a credit to both sides and to Over 60s Walking Football with hardly a foul and played in great spirit and well refereed.
Hartshill started strongly, clearly smarting from losing the previous game. Les in goal made a couple of excellent saves and kept Hartshill from taking an early lead. Both teams took a while to adapt to the bigger pitch and most of the play was taking place with patient build ups from the back with front players being tightly marked. Birmingham began to get more into the game in the second half and were better able to support Dave up front. Hartshill seemed to be disrupted by injuries and running penalties and the pressure told about 8 minutes from the end when Malcolm found himself in space on the edge of the D and managed to squeeze the ball home for the lead. As expected Hartshill came back strongly and Birmingham were defending deep for the last five minutes. A misplaced pass from a Birmingham player gave the Hartshill danger man a good chance with minutes to go but the ball was blazed just over the bar with penalties looming. MOM Malcolm Thorpe
A great team performance and well deserved victory after we seemed well out of it after a comprehensive defeat in the second game of the series.
Les D, Barry H, Keith L, John C, Malcolm T, Dave W, Paul F, Steve W.
EFL WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT – RUNNERS UP (QUALIFIED FOR NATIONAL FINALS) 19/4/17
Birmingham’s over 50’s travelled to Derby Arena to play in the English Football League Trust competition invited by Kidderminster Harriers as winners of their Christmas tournament, the major National tournament with over 70 entrants from League sides has a prize of playing in the final at Bodymoor Heath in June.
Drawn in a really tough group with Notts County, Burton Albion , Derby County amongst others The Blues knew they would have a difficult task to qualify for the final, hosts Derby were their first opponents and after going 1-0 down to a very dubious penalty a late goal from a well worked corner saw Dave Wright smash his drive into the roof of the net for a 1-1 draw, a 3-0 victory over Walsall with goals from Wright, Andy Struthers and Mike Ternent and a 1-0 victory over Port Vale meant at the halfway stage the Brummies led the group. Their fine form continued as a 0-0 draw against Notts County and two 1-0 victories against Burton and Shrewsbury with goals from Wright and a piledriver free kick from Struthers saw them top the group and qualify for the semi finals against Coventry City. Birmingham’s defence had stood firm with Rob Castle in goal making his tournament debut keeping five clean sheets with Dave Castle, Shay Flaherty and Simon Dyer negating the opposition forwards.
Coventry were comfortably beaten with Wright and Dyer on target and excellent game management saw them qualify for the National final, the virtually meaningless final with Notts County was played out with great spirit as both teams had already achieved qualification with County running out 2-1 winners.
After the game skipper Dave Castle said “Our general attitude and commitment today was exceptional , we had some guys that hadn’t played a lot of tournament football and I thought everyone fitted in well ,Rob a had a steady tournament in goal and I thought Mike T gave us so many options, his strength and awareness was key. We sometimes have to pinch ourselves here as to what we are achieving, we were missing several key players today but it just shows how much strength in depth we have at the club, and recently with the 60’s and 65’s doing so well too its really exciting times for us at the moment. Could we dream of Peoples Cup, EFL Trophy and National Championship Treble?”
COMEBACKS, SHOOT OUTS AND INTER CLUB RIVALRIES – PEOPLES CUP
Birmingham Over 50’s had two representative in the semi final of this year’s peoples Cup semi final, but with only one team allowed to progress to the final, something had to give. Birmingham Blues started their fixtures against the Port Vale, a dream start with goals from Kev Reid and Simon Dyer, meant they were able to relax and ran out comfortable winners 3-1 with another goal from Reid. Unfortunately it proved a false dawn, as the side then narrowly lost their remaining fixtures to Pele’s Pearls 1-0, their counterparts from Beechcroft Avenue 2-1 and Heanor Strollers 3-1 with goal contributions from Richard Dawson and Rod Thompson. Manager Ian Gough commented later “ I thought we did really well , we competed in every game, I though Rod Thompson was superb and Andy Monk made some great saves, we really missed Kev Mann upfront and Simon Dyer has played with a nasty injury, I really think the lads can be proud of their performance”
BWFC V BWFC BLUES
BWFC V HEANOR STROLLERS
BWFC V PORTVALE
A bizarre start for Birmingham Walking FC, against Heanor Strollers from Derby saw them 3-0 down within 2 minutes of the start of their first game, the usually reliable Birmingham keeper Les Dawson, by his own admission being nervous as normally he would have saved all 3 of the reasonably tame shots. Birmingham knew the chips were down and their long unbeaten record in danger of being broken. An Andy Struthers pass saw Dave Norton claw one back on the stroke of half time and shortly after the break, Mike Milligan made it 2-3. Half time substitute Dave Wright then cut inside and sent a left foot drive into the corner to restore parity. A fine save from Dawson in the last minute meant Birmingham’s “get out of jail free card” had been played. Knowing that only 3 further victories would guarantee to put the Brummies into the final they tightened up at the back and were comfortable in beating Port Vale 2-0 (Norton 2) Birmingham Blues 2-1 (Norton , Wright) and Pele’s Pearls 2-0 (Norton , Milligan) to top the group and set up a final against Pele’s Pearls.
BWFC V PELES PEARLS
Birmingham had got their passing game going really well, but an unlucky ricochet from a Mike Milligan shot left a Pearl’s forward alone to slot pass Dawson in the Birmingham goal, Birmingham pressed throughout and were rewarded when Norton turned sharply and placed a shot passed the keepers left to take the final to penalties.
Cool heads and strong will were needed as supporters and players alike were on the edge of their seats as both teams scored 8 penalties on the trot. Dawson then got a touch to send Pearl’s ninth penalty over the bar. It was left to the hugely experienced Darren Bradley to step up and cooly slot home the decider and send Birmingham through to their third consecutive People Cup Final.
Afterwards Manager Paul Murtagh commented “I just couldn’t believe the start we had to be 3-0 down so soon was just ridiculous, I cannot remember the last time we let in 3 goals in a game. The lads showed so much character, it’s days like this when you don’t play particularly well but just grind out results, we know we won’t play that badly again. I was really pleased for Les at the end, keepers are either Hero’s or Villians, his save for the penalty effectively won it for us.”
Birmingham now go to the equivalent of the FA Cup Final in their attempt to win the illustrious and elusive treble of Peoples Cup, National Championships and Home Internationals. Captain Dave Castle commented “I believe we all know what we are capable of, we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground, Saturday was a reminder to us of how football can go, we showed incredible resolve to comeback against Heanor, after winning 8 consecutive tournaments everyone tries so hard against us which is understandable, we just need to keep doing the simple things really well”
Ray Usher Memorial Cup Over 60s v Coleshill 22/3/17 -WIN
BWFC 2 v Coleshill 0
A comfortable victory in the third game of the cup with goals from Rob Corp and Steve Dixon. Birmingham narrowly go ahead for the first time in the over 60s department of the series by one goal. Previous results 0-1 and 2-2.
Walsall Over 50’s Tournament 18/3/17- (TOURNAMENT WIN)
A seventh consecutive tournament win for Birmingham’s over 50’s proved excellent preparation for the Semi final of the FA Peoples Cup this Saturday, A competition to celebrate the life of one of Walsall’s Walking Footballers Dean Welborn saw two teams entered from the Beechcroft based club. Mixed fortunes ensued, Birmingham Whites lifting the trophy whilst Birmingham Blues were unfortunately knocked out in the qualifying stages. Birmingham Blues proved solid enough and had the most part of possession in all of their games, but their lack of finishing and crossbars and posts seemingly constantly denying them , a 1-0 defeat to Port Vale in the first game was followed by three draws ( two 0-0 and a one all draw , Andy Norris slotting home a Paul Murtagh pass).
It was a different story for Birmingham Whites, a team with the nucleus of their FA Peoples Cup team plus the addition of Alan Deakin and Stephen Taggart, a 4-0 victory over Wolves with a brace each from Dave Norton and the ever impressive Andy Struthers followed by a 3-0 win over Wyndley meant qualification for the semi finals was already assured before another comfortable 3-1 win over Hartshill Strollers.
Birmingham had totally imposed themselves on the tournament and had dominated possession throughout all their games. Skipper David Castle had returned from 6 weeks out and his partnership with Deakin looked virtually impregnable while the continued excellent form of Darren Bradley had watchers on applauding Birmingham’s impressive passing game.
After various play offs with other teams Wyndley qualified for at the dubious spot in the semi final to face the on fire Brummies. Four more goals from Dave Norton (taking his tally to 11) and an opportunist follow up from Taggart meant a 5-0 semi final win and a meeting with the aggressive but talented and previously unbeaten Port Vale.
Birmingham Whites started excellently and kept possession for long periods and their reward was an excellent goal from Stephen Taggart with every outfield player touching the ball in the build up. Shortly after Dave Norton’s seemingly telepathic partnership paid dividends as his superb pass was converted with a trade Struthers rocket which gave the keeper no chance. Birmingham then managed the game out comfortably as Vale were restricted to only long range efforts none of which were on target.
After the game skipper Dave Castle commented, “It was great to be back playing with the lads after injury, we seem to be developing nicely, with Brads and Norts we have leaders all over the pitch, Andy Struthers improvement has been nothing short of meteoric, with him and Dave (Norton) we have so much quality in front of goal, I thought Deaks and Tag were superb and fitted in to our style of play seamlessly. We need to ensure we don’t get complacent, we have played some unbelievable football recently but our target has to be the Peoples Cup and the Nationals this year. I’m sure if we keep our feet on the ground we are on the verge on something pretty special.”
BWFC v Coleshill Over 65s 8/3/17 – WIN
BWFC 5 v Coleshill 2
BWFC over 65s continued their fine form and maintained their unbeaten record with a comprehensive win over Coleshill, player manager John Limbourne got them underway with the first goal. Coleshill replied to draw level at one all at half time. Penalties awarded to both sides just after half time were despatched to make it two all but further goals from Malcolm and Derek Thorpe put the tie beyond doubt and finished 5-2.
BWFC v Hartshill Over 60s 5/3/17 – WIN
Hartshill 1 v BWFC 3
Birmingham Over 60s showed a much improved performance to keep the Winter Shield alive and now all square before the final game in April.
Birmingham started quickly and put pressure on Hartshill and this paid off with a shot from distance from Barry H that rocketed into the corner of the goal. The lead was increased before half time with a neat turn and shot by debutant Dave W. Another two debutants Paul F and Paul W came on before the break and fitted in well to the style of play, keeping the ball and simple passing. Hartshill came out for the second half determined to get back into the game but Les D in goal again produced some cracking saves to frustrate the home side. Hartshill were caught pushing up and Dave W was clinical to make it 3-0. All credit to Hartshill who renewed their efforts to get back into the game.
Eventually the toll of three different sin bin periods told and Hartshill scored with minutes remaining and then were awarded what looked a harsh penalty for a heel in the box but Les D again came to the rescue and saved well and prevented a nervous last few seconds.
Well done to the whole squad who all contributed to an uplifting victory against the National Champions.
Les D, Keith L, Barry H, Frank H, John C, Paul W, Paul F, Dave W.
Ray Usher Memorial Cup BWFC v Coleshill Over 60s 28/2/17 – DRAW
Coleshill 2 v BWFC 2
Coleshill raced into a 2 nil lead but BWFC fought back to a deserved draw with goals from Dave Whatmore and a fine effort from Don Russell.
FA Peoples Cup 2017 – First leg 25/2/17 – (TOURNAMENT WIN)
Andy Struthers heads the team into Goals Birmingham Peoples Cup 2017
Over 50s BWFC Whites in Shrewsbury
BWFC Blues in Birmingham
It was a dull rainy day in both Shrewsbury and Birmingham for our over 50’s in the attempt for us to go one better this year and win the Walking Football Category of the equivalent to the FA Cup.
Our forwards matched the weather as goals rained in from the word go, in Shrewsbury, Ian Gough managed to take the Birmingham Whites through to the semi final stage with a glut of goals.
Competing in a group including teams attached to Shrewsbury Town and Telford Utd the tone for the afternoon was set in the first second of the opening game against Telford Stags B with Kev Reid firing in a left foot thunderbolt straight from kick off. Birmingham were from then on in total control of a 10-2 victory, which was capped with a spectacular Shay Flaherty effort.
In the second fixture against an aggressive Shrewsbury Town team 2 early goals from Kevin Mann and a third from Kev Reid settled any nerves. Shrewsbury fought back and with the game poised at 3-2 the two Kevin’s combined again to see Birmingham home.
With qualification assured they went into the final group game against whipping boys Worthen & Brockton full of confidence and came out 11-1 winners topping the group with 27 goals in their three games.
The semi final against Telford Stags A was settled early again as Birmingham gained a two goal lead and were in total command as they strolled into a 5-1 lead. The only blemishes were two late goals from Telford giving them pure consolation in the last minute.
To qualify for the semi final Shrewsbury were once again the opponents. As before Mann and Reid, gave them the perfect start as they went into a 2 goal lead. A defensive mistake and a dubious penalty meant Andy Monk’s goal was breached twice and suddenly the game looked like it was slipping away. Birmingham needed some inspiration and Captain Simon Dyer took it on his own shoulders and rallied with two goals himself to see his side win the tournament with a 4-2 victory, and progress to the semi final stages of the FA Peoples Cup.
Manager Razor commented, ‘I’m so proud of my team, fine all round performance lead by Captain Simon Dyer with Andy Monk in goal, Shay Flaherty and Rod Thompson at the back and the 2 Kevin’s up front who terrorised the other teams all day with a fine display of attacking football linking up well to score 26 goals between them’.
In Birmingham a thoroughly disciplined performance meant the Birmingham Blues also qualified to the semis of the Peoples Cup, potentially setting up a inter club match in the latter stages! The Blues met Leicester in their first fixture and almost repeated their 7-0 success in the Midlands final with a comfortable 4-0 victory, two goals from Dave Norton and one each from Andy Struthers and midfielder Mike Milligan. Wolves, Walsall and Hartshill all found similar treatment, as Birmingham’s all-round superiority meant further victory of 4-0, 5-0 and 6-0. Defender Darren Bradley was imperious at the back, as he replaced the injured David Castle, and the ever impressive Les Dawson in goal Birmingham looked certain to qualify.
The semi final saw them once again meet Leicester who decided aggression was their best chance of beating Birmingham. Two brilliant saves from Dawson kept them at bay, then the impressive Mike Milligan scored a superb brace to calm any semi final nerves. A sending off for Leicester prompted Darren Bradley to comment that we needed more punch for the final. The 2-0 victory meant they had scored 21 goals without reply as they met Pele’s Pearls in the final ,a team put together on that morning but full of old professionals that had just reached the 50 mark.
Two brilliant Dave Norton strikes settled it for the Brummies as shots rained in, and whilst in total control a consolation goal with 20 seconds to go meant a brilliant double for the Birmingham club.
Manager Paul Murtagh commented, ‘The team today were a pleasure to watch, total dominance in every game made my job very easy! With two important players still to return after injury we’re looking in good shape for the latter stages. The performance capped off a brilliant day all round for all our teams.’
Goals scored in Shrewsbury – Kevin Mann 13, Kevin Reid 13, Simon Dyer 5, Shay Flaherty 3 and Rod Thompson 2
In Birmingham – Dave Norton 12, Mike Milligan 6, Andy Struthers 3 and Darren Bradley 2
BWFC v Bedworth United Over 50s 10/2/17- WIN
Bedworth United (A) 0 v BWFC 2
Bedworth United (B) 1 v BWFC 4
Birmingham’s Over 50’s took two teams to Bedworth United on a damp Friday evening, and both sides came out on top. Bedworth, an off shoot from Coventry City’s Walking Football set up, began defensively in the first game as they seemed reluctant to leave themselves open at the back, several players making their competitive debuts, Andy Craddock, Rob Castle, and Ex Everton and Norwich midfielder Mike Milligan took time to knit together. 0-0 at half time did not tell the tale of possession and territory which was dominated by The Blues.
Andy Struthers move to the centre of midfield in the second half and Mike Milligan taking up a deeper position seemed to have the desired effect in the second half, Struthers rattled the bar once and the post twice, before Ian Gough laid a ball into the path of Milligan whose 20 yard effort flew into the top corner. Any nerves were now settled and Birmingham began to dominate, Castle and Craddock both went close before Struthers capped a fine second half with a beautiful placed shot in the corner.
Manager Dave Castle commented “ we totally dominated the game , their keeper was superb and made some spectacular saves, I glad we kept our shape and composure the goals were only a matter of time away”
In the corresponding fixture on the adjacent pitch an impressive 4-1 victory was in a large part thanks to Richard Dawson who grabbed all of Birmingham’ s goals. Leading 2-0 at half time they always looked comfortable, a little too comfortable in fact and allowed Bedworth to pull one back at the start of the second half to make it 2-1. This seemed to stir BWFC back into action and woke up to take control once more. Two more Richard Dawson goals put the contest beyond doubt midway through the half with Kevin Reid also rattling the woodwork.
BWFC would like to extend their thanks to Bedworth for the warm welcome we all received.
BWFC v Hartshill Over 60s 4/2/17 – LOSS
BWFC 0 v Hartshill 2
Hartshill deservedly ran out two nil winners against a below par BWFC team in the second game of the four match series. Poor defending led to both goals in the first half and Hartshill never looked back as soon as they got their noses in front.Birmingham huffed and puffed in the second half without really troubling Hartshill who were happy to sit on their lead until the end of the game. BWFC will have to up their game if they are to be competitive in the remaining two games. The series currently stands at 3-1 to Hartshill with two games left to play.
BWFC v Hartshill Over 65s 15/1/17 – WIN
Hartshill 1 v BWFC 4
BWFC over 65s maintained their unbeaten record with a comfortable 4-1 win over Hartshill in Dudley. Goals from Barry Huntington and a hattrick from player manager John Limbourne sealed the win.
Over 65’s manager, John Limbourne, commented “It was a good team effort. Everyone played their part by supporting each other throughout the match and we deserved the win.”
BWFC v Hartshill Over 60s (Winter Shield) 15/1/17 – DRAW
Hartshill 1 v BWFC 1
Birmingham over 60s gained a creditable draw at Hartshill who are the National Champions at the age group.
The team started slowly and Hartshill peppered the goal with a succession of shots which were either too high or expertly saved by Man of the Match, Les Dawson. The pressure eventually told and Hartshill opened the scoring with John Cooper threading the ball into the corner of the net. There was very little room on the pitch and opportunities to play passing football were limited. In the second half the team began to gel and BWFC began to get on top. The referee awarded BWFC a penalty for encroachment in the area but unfortunately for BWFC the home keeper pulled off a great save. Birmingham continued to press and were rewarded 4 minutes from the final whistle when Brendan turned and guided the ball into the corner of the net.
The game ended on a positive note with BWFC showing promise for a team that had never played together before and look forward to the return leg. Thanks to Mark Grazier who expertly refereed and dealt sensibly with an outbreak of “handbags” between two of the players.
Romford Tournament 15/1/17 – (TOURNAMENT WIN)
Birmingham’s over 50’s made it 4 tournament wins in a row as they made the long journey to Romford to take on the best of the South East, In a ten team tournament with a round robin for all, Birmingham took on British Champions, Herne Bay and the highly rated Colchester and came out on top their only blip a 2-2 draw against Romford.
Birminghams football at times was sublime, with Dave Norton pulling the strings in midfield continually bringing others in to play Birmingham created chance after chance and in their first three games produced 5-1, 4-1 and 5-2 wins, after then seemingly taking the foot off the gas, a draw against Romford seemed to bring Birmingham back to life, next in their way were British Champions Herne Bay, two Andy Struthers goals and a Dave Wight penalty saw the Brummies exact revenge for their National Final defeat to the Kent seasiders,
All of the remaining games were won with ease and goals continued to flow, Dave Wright’s 14 and Dave Norton’s 11 were the top two goal scorers, Whilst Andy Struthers 4 goals all came at the optimum times in tight games, the ever improving Simon Dyer grabbed one and even skipper David Castle managed to squeeze one in the corner. Keeper Andy Monk produced a couple of sparkling saves and his reliable distribution set up many attacks, Afterward Manager Ian Gough said, “Thats is some of the best football Ive seen us play in ages, Dave Norton stood out for me, his strength and poise is just incredible, some of the goals we scored were amazing, we just blew most sides away”.
Birmingham s next fixture is at Bedworth on 10/2/17 their last chance to play prior to the Peoples Cup where they aim to go one better than last year in lifting their 5th trophy on the trot!
Ray Usher Memorial Cup BWFC (Over 60’s) v Coleshill 1/2/17- LOSS
BWFC 0 v Coleshill 1
Coleshill proved too strong for a Birmingham side giving debuts to a number of new players. Coleshill go ahead in the first game of the Ray Usher Memorial cup, named after the Coleshill player who unfortunately passed away recently, our thoughts and condolences go to all the players and families of our friends at Coleshill.
BWFC entered an eight team tournament at Goals centre in Dudley on Saturday and once again brought home the silverware, drawn against 2 sides from Hartshill and Kidderminster Harriers, Birmingham got off to a quick start two goals from Simon Dyer and one from Andy Norris saw off Hartshill comfortably with a 3-0 scoreline. Birmingham then totally dominated against Hartshill main side quickly going 2-0 up with a brace from Andy Cook before a fortunate long range pass eventually found the back of Les Dawson’s net as it evaded both attackers and defenders alike before nestling in the corner. Birmingham’s last group game saw them in total control against the hapless Kidderminster Harriers and ran out 5-0 winners again Norris and Cook scoring 3 and 2 respectively, Dawson was having a blinder as he made several quality saves and confidence was high going into the semi final against Hindlip, Gareth Edwards and Simon Dyer had forged an great midfield partnership and David Castle marshalled the defence with confidence and assurity in front of Dawson.
Birmingham were not troubled in the semi final as a good strike from Simon Dyer set them on there way and with further goals from Norris and Cook put them into the final to face the best of the Hartshill teams who had defeated the B side in the other semi final.
Against the run of play deflected goal by Hartshill A put them 1-0 ahead a a string of fine saves from the Hartshill keeper saw them deny Birmingham until half way through the game a typical left foot pile driver from Andy Cook ended their resistance. A fitting goal three minutes from time by top goal scorer Andy Norris mean another trophy was heading to Beechcroft Avenue.
After the game Captain David Castle said he was delighted with the attitude and performance of the team in general, “Gareth and Simon gave us great mobility in midfield and in the two Andy’s we have goals to spare, I know Les in goal was nervous before the start but his performance was incredible some of his shot stopping defies belief, as a team I can’t think of anyone who didn’t perform well, great to lift another trophy”
BWFC over 50s In Oswestry 24/10/16 (THIRD PLACE)
BWFC over 50s Oswestry
Over 50s BWFC played at the Oswestry Tournament last weekend and the results are as follows:
Lost 1-0 to Sheffield ,
Won 1-0 v Rochdale ,
Won 1-0 v Highley,
Lost 1-0 v TNS
Drew 0-0 v Blackburn
Drew 0-0 v Hartshill A
Drew 0-0 v Hartshill B
Finished in a credible third place overall, well done to all who played and represented our club!
Solihull-based walking football side gunning for national glory in Cirencester
A HALL GREEN-based walking football club will be aiming for national glory this weekend when they travel to Cirencester for the National Walking Football Final.
Birmingham Walking Football Club, previously known as Beechcroft, will tackle Gillingham, Gloucester and championship favourites Barnsley in the round robin tournament.
The top two sides from the round robin fixtures will then face each other in a one off grand final to decide the winners.
And the borough outfit will have experience on their side as Birmingham will field two former Aston Villa players in Darren Bradley and Dave Norton.
The club’s appearance in the national final comes just weeks after a comprehensive 7-0 victory over Leicester in the regional qualifier.
Though many people will associate walking football with various comical TV adverts, Birmingham skipper David Castle insists the sport is growing and played at an extremely fast pace.
David, who used to play for Bromsgrove FC before switching to walking football after retirement, said: “The standard of walking football right now is superb, the sport is nothing like you’d imagine it to be.
“Barnsley are the favourites to lift the title but we’re determined to give them a run for their money.
“Our first aim will be to make the final and from there we’ll continue to press hard to win the championships.
“Our club is booming right now with 250 members which is superb, I hope this weekend we can inspire more people in the borough to take up walking football.”
WFU NATIONAL FINALS OVER 50S (BWFC 3RD PLACE FINISH)
It wasn’t to be for BWFC on this occasion, too many missed chances and sending off’s were the order of the day for a Birmingham side that just simply failed to realise their potential at the finals of this tournament. Going into the finals with an unbeaten record and expectations high, a disappointing 3rd place was achieved with the following results:
BWFC 0 v 1 Leggy Mambos
BWFC 1 v 2 Hearne Bay
BWFC 1 v 1 Abbeymead Rovers
BWFC 3 v 1 Abbeymead Rovers (3rd place play off)
Central Final Birmingham 7 Leicester 0 in Rugby 24/10/16 (CENTRAL FINAL WINNERS)
BWFC V Leicester
Birmingham over 50’s reached the National Final with a comprehensive win over Leicester, to become Central Champions giving them a chance to represent England in the inaugural Home Nations in November. From Dave Wright’s third minute opener Birmingham never looked back, after a shaky start the new defensive partnership of David Castle and Darren Bradley kept Leicester at bay restricting them to long range efforts, unlikely to beat keeper Rob Corp. Man of the match Dave Norton scored the first of his brace with an unstoppable effort from the edge of the area. With Wrights second shortly before half time Birmingham were in complete control for the rest of the game, resting Bradley and Wright Birmingham continued to press and Ian “Razor “ Gough turned on a helicopter pad to have his shot brilliantly saved. Kev Evans linked with Dave Norton to increase the advantage to 4-0 . Leicester were now totally chasing the game and further strikes from Wright (2) and Bradley ensured their passage to this years Final at Cirencester on Sunday.
Manager Paul Murtagh said “we were at sixes and sevens for the first few minutes but adapted so well, I thought Dave Norton was man of the match, his energy and quality is clear to see”
Birmingham take on Leggy Mambos, Herne Bay and Abbeymead on Sunday.
Birmingham over 50’s Regional Final 30/9/16 (REGIONAL WINNERS)
A night of celebration ensued as Birmingham over 50’s reached the Central Regional Final to take on Leicester later this month, injury problems and unavailability had left The Blues short of key players, and in the warm up prior to kick off, Andrew Struthers gave Manager Paul Murtagh a further scare with a back spasm.
Visitors to Beechcroft , Hereford and Kettering had looked confident and the first fixture between Birmingham and Hereford proved to be a tight affair in the first half, on the stroke of half time, Struthers showing no signs of the earlier injury scare was running the game from midfield and then scored a superb individual effort to put Birmingham ahead. Shortly into the second half, Dave Wright who had been unusually quiet struck an opportunistic effort which evaded the Hereford keeper, from then on there was only one winner, David Castle and Shay Flaherty kept Hereford at bay, with Kev Evans playing the defensive midfield role excellently.
The second game of the mini tournament saw Hereford and Kettering play out and end to end 3-3 draw, which meant Birmingham only had to draw to progress to the last eight of the National Finals.
Kettering had no answer to Birminghams well blended individual talents as they were beaten 4-0 with some excellent finishing by Wright (3) and Struthers (1) as they totally dominated the Northants outfit. Gareth Edwards came close at the end with a brilliant strike which deserved a goal and other replacement Ian Gough held up play to continually allow Wright and Struthers so much freedom.
Birmingham 2 6
Herford 2 1
Kettering 2 1
Leicester await Birmingham in the Central Final, the winner progessing to the the National Final to be held on 30thOctober.
Manager Paul Murtagh was delighted with the performance he said, “ I never felt we were in danger, we were tight at the back and organised and with Dave (Wright ) and Andy we are always going to score goals, Our keeper Rob had one shot to save all night. “
BWFC over 40’s & 50’s friendly games update
It’s been goals galore for the Birmingham over 50’s and over 40’s in the past two weeks, The over 50’s enjoyed a crushing 21-2 win over the newly formed Telford United, and the over 40’s enjoyed similar success whilst beating Sutton Town 12-5. The usual suspects, Dave Wright and Andrew Struthers were instrumental by scoring 15 of the over 50’s goals, whilst Ian ‘Razor’ Gough, had more assists than Arsenal’s Ozil and also helped himself to a hat trick. Thorp also bagged three quality strikes, and a rare David Castle strike completed the rout.
Not to be outdone the over 40’s had a similar tale to tell after a visit to Sutton Town, using the space excellently on a large pitch, Paul Murtagh’s 5 goals led the way, whilst four and three from Kev Reid and Andy Norris respectively completed their 12-5 win, Alan “showboat” Deakin and David Castle’s partnership at the back kept Sutton to just a handful of chances but for Sutton’s clinical finishing the score could have been even more emphatic. Sutton Town’s goalkeeper made some excellent saves, as he time and again he thwarted Norris and Reid, who had more shots than a student on freshers week, a late penalty miss by Castle meant as usual he had to get the drinks in!
BWFC V SUTTON TOWN 15/9/16
15/8/16 Manchester over 50s (TOURNAMENT WIN)
BWFC Manchester over 50s
Birmingham Walking football over 50’s, triumphed at the Etihad Stadium to qualify for the final of the champions trophy, after their now seemingly inevitable slow start they produce some excellent football to win this qualifying group. An energetic Wigan Athletic side romped to a two goal lead which left Birmingham too much to do before eventually overcoming the slow starting brummies 3-2 , goals from Dave Wright and Andy Struthers were not enough to claw back the deficit, In their second game a brace from both Wright and the ever impressive Dave Norton had given Birmingham a comfortable 4-1 lead before the they took their foot off the gas to beat Gillingham 4-3 . After a short break to recoup and discuss tactics a change in personnel saw Shay Flaherty, join David Castle at the back, this gave Birmingham a far more solid look, Flaherty was superb in stopping the threat of home favourites Man City, and with some excellent inter play and finishing Birmingham produce some sublime football to romp to a 5-0 victory. As Man City had beaten Wigan earlier this meant going into the last game they need to only beat Wakefield to qualify , the goals continued to flow and by half time qualification was assured with a 4-0 advantage, and they eventually ran out winners by 7-0, 7 tournament goals a piece from David Wright and Dave Norton, meant they also finished joint top scorers in the competition. An impressive debut from Keeper Martin Williams and contributions throughout the team means that the ever improving over 50’s are in good shape for the next round of the National competition in September. Skipper David Castle said ” I can’t believe this is my first tournament win with Birmingham, I felt we were destined to keep being runners up, we are starting to look impressive now, we just need that consistency right from the start of tournaments and Im sure major trophies are well within our grasp”
Kingsmaid Cup Over 50s
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2/8/16 BWFC V COVENTRY (WIN)
BWFC 1 Coventry 0 (Over 60’s)
A ‘friendly’ friendly was carried out at Beechcroft last Tuesday for the over 60’s with Birmingham winning 1-0. In a largely one sided encounter Coventry defended well and the Coventry keeper pulled off a couple of great saves to keep his team in it. Frank Hughes scored the only goal midway through the second half , finishing off a fine move involving debutant John Randle and Brendan Glynn. The game was played in good spirit throughout and we look forward to the return leg in the future.
RAINBOW CHILDRENS HOSPICE WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT – NOTTINGHAM OVER 60s 31/7/16 (3RD PLACE)
Big thanks to the over 60s Birmingham walking football team who yesterday headed off to Nottingham to fly the flag for Beechcroft in the Rainbow Childrens Hospice event. The team finished 3rd overall with victories over Stamford and Lincoln. The low spot of the day was a defeat to locals Hartshill. BWFC went on to play well in their opening defeat to eventual winners, Leggy Mambos 0-2, but in the final match only lost 1-0 after hitting the bar in the toughest game of the tournament. Thank you one and all for representing the club and well done to Les Dawson – Keeper for receiving player of the tournament!
RAINBOW CHILDRENS HOSPICE WALKING FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT – NOTTINGHAM OVER 50S 31/7/16 (RUNNERS UP)
Nottingham over 50s July 16
RESULTS GROUP STAGE
BWFC V Smiths News won 5-0
BWFC V Hartshill won 2-0
BWFC V Leggy Mambos lost 1-0
BWFC V Burton Albion won 7-0
BWFC V Middlesbrough won 2-0
BWFC V leggy Mambos lost 3-0
Birmingham over 50’s continued their improvement to confirm their status as a top 6 team in the country with a very credible runners up spot to the impressive double national championships Leggy Mambos from Barnsley.
At times their football was sublime, as the first half demolition of last years Runners up in the Nationals, Burton Albion. 5-0 up at half time their secured their semi final spot against Middlesborough, where a brace from Dave Norton secured a hard fought victory.
The final against Leggy Mambos, was just one game too far for the tiring Birmingham players, injury niggles and the excellent Mambos meant two first half goals saw off Birminghams challenge.
Goals for Birmingham were 8 from David Wright 6 from Dave Norton and 2 from Darren Bradley, Rob Corp kept excellently with some fine saves, Captain David Castle said ” I was really proud of the lads today all 8 of the squad played their part, we have a number of niggling injuries at present but the introduction of Darren Bradley and Dave Norton is encouraging us to take this to another level, Our main focus this year is the Nationals which we continue in September. We just need to stay fit and focused and you never know, On our day I am confident we can beat anyone”
Man City Tournament (RUNNERS UP)
BWFC V Man City Academy W 7-0
BWFC V Middleton FC L 1-2
BWFC V Oldham Athletic W 8-0
BWFC V Man City D 2-2
The Man City tournament saw Birmingham finish a disappointing second to the hosts Man City. After a promising start beating Man City academy and Oldham Athletic sandwiching a tough game against Middleton, Birmingham needed to win the last game against Man City to win the tournament unfortunately after taking a 2-0 lead they let it slip at the end to draw 2-2. Birmingham left feeling aggrieved as one of the Man City ‘goals’ went through the side netting but the referee saw fit to award the goal. Great effort regardless from all the lads.
Dave Wright 16
Kev Evans 3
Darren Bradley 2
BWFC Over 50s Kidderminster Tournament (RUNNERS UP)
Kidderminster Tournament Runners Up 28th May 2016
Last month BWFC visited Kidderminster Harriers, who hosted their first tournament. The tournament involved six local teams, BWFC’s results were as follows:
BWFC v Hindlip W 5-0
BWFC v Kidderminster B W 3-0
BWFC v Hartshill A D 0-0
BWFC v Kidderminster A W 3-0
BWFC v Hartshill B W 1-0
Amazingly BWFC, without losing a game or conceding a goal, ended up as the runners up on goal difference. Well done to all regardless.
BWFC Over 50s V Hartshill away 22/5/16 (WIN 5-0)
Squad – Ian Gough, Manager, Dave Castle, Assistant Manager, Dave Wright, Rob Corp, Kev Mann, Kev Evans, Andy Struthers, Keith Laishley, Shay Flaherty. We had a good all round team performance, with a close game for the 1st 15 mins with both teams having chances until Dave Wright pounced to make it 1-0. He quickly followed that up with another goal to see us into the break 2-0 up. Second half we were on top from the start, Dave Wright added another 2 including a magnificent volley from just outside the box before a fine Andy ‘Golden Boot’ Struthers strike made it 5. Rob Corp in goal made a couple of stunning saves to ensure he got a well deserved clean sheet! Excellent disciplined performance all round. Well done lads!
BWFC over 60s V Hartshill away 22/5/16 (DRAW 2-2)
Our over 60’S team had a disappointing ending to the game against Hartshill. After a spirited fight back, in a very tight first half, the teams came off at 0-0, with our lads coming close to opening the scoring from Gordon Davies. Shortly after the break Hartshill scored a breakaway goal that left keeper Keith Phipps no chance. Keith Laishley’s brace then put our vets ahead with a brace of goals with his trusty left foot. In the last minute a disastrous mistake led to an easy tap in for the Hartshill forward. Penalties ensued and this ended in a two nil victory for our opponents. All of the players did Birmingham proud. Keith made some marvelous saves and special mention to Barry Huntingdon, who played every minute in a commanding performance at the back.
Back row: Brendan Glynn, Ken Scott, Steve Huxley, John Limbourne, Rick Falcon
Front row: Bill Pears, Alan Guest, Sue Thomas, Jim Finucane, Del Whitmore, Alan George
BEECHCROFT ON TOUR – Alicante May 2016 (3RD PLACE FINISH)
A group of 11 from Beechcroft Multisports Club were invited to take part in a Walking Football tournament in Los Montesinos (near Alicante), Spain in May this year. There were no restrictions on who could take part – it was literally whoever was available on the dates. The squad ended up being a little unbalanced – no goalkeeper for starters and a slight excess of defenders but we’re nothing if not adaptable and a system was developed to give everyone game time in positions they were (sort-of) suited to. The other teams taking part were Mansfield Senior Reds, Monte Mentals, Moraira and Al Gorfa. The latter three clubs were based in Spain and made up of ex-pats.
On our first game day, we arrived early – our first match was scheduled to start at 10.35 but we wanted to check out the opposition and get a look at the ‘local’ rules in operation. These came as a bit of a shock – especially with regard to goalkeeping! No exclusive area for the keeper, bigger goals than we’re used to and keeper can run! If fact, not much difference from ‘normal’ football. We were extremely pleased to have Steve ‘volunteer’ to be goalie. I don’t think anyone else would’ve survived throwing themselves around like he did to keep us in some of the games that followed. Billy deputized for him in one game and did really well too! The local waist height rule wasn’t a problem but only shooting at goal from within the final third was harder to get used to. There also appeared to be quite a lot of running going on!
We selected our first starting line-up to face Moraira and off we went. Steve in goal, Rick, Del and Billy at the back, Brendan and Ken in midfield and John up front although everyone got some time on the pitch during the course of the match. We started off well, keeping it tight but eventually lost out by 3 – 1. Beechcroft’s goal from Alan Guest! Our second game was against Mansfield Senior Reds. Mansfield kicked up through the gears and before we knew it we were on the wrong side of a 5 – 0 defeat. Their centre forward – a big, strong, young (in comparison to the rest of us at 51) ex-police officer certainly wasn’t mucking about. Only slight consolation was that he did it to everyone. He scored 30 goals over the tournament, only coming off in the last game after hitting his self-imposed scoring target.
Our final match of day 1 was against our hosts, Monte Mentals. This was much closer, finishing as a 2 – 2 draw with both goals from John Limbourne. The day finished with us third overall – we even got a trophy – and everyone in the squad got to play a part.
That evening, we enjoyed a 3-course meal with the rest of the teams and some of their wives and partners at a local restaurant. The food was excellent and there was plenty of liquid refreshment too! It was a thoroughly enjoyable night to end a very busy, tiring but fun day.
Day 2 dawned on surprisingly few thick heads. We enjoyed breakfast at a local café and then walked to the sports ground. New tactics were agreed upon to try and counter the threat from Mansfield, our first opponents of the day – a back four with two midfield/forwards – and it worked … for a while! Our squad was already depleted – John was on the plane home after his holiday ended, leaving us decidedly short up front but we gave it our best shot. Needless to say, Mansfield did their thing and we lost but by a much smaller margin – 3 – 0. The other two games were much closer however. A 1 – 1 draw against Monte Mentals (goal from Jim Finucane) and a close-fought 3 – 2 defeat in the final game to Al Gorfa with goals from Alan George and Alan Guest. The worrying thing was the number of injuries we were picking up however – Del’s knee was swollen, Steve’s calf injury had been aggravated and Alan Guest was struggling with muscle strains. Thankfully, Billy was on hand with his physio skills and we survived. Then it was back to the hotel (via a local bar) for showers and a rest before meeting to have a meal together in the evening. Liquid refreshments were also enjoyed by all (thanks to John Limbourne for subsidizing this)!
Day 3 and breakfast was followed by the long trek to the sports ground. We really needed Bill’s help to even get a team on the pitch. Del was out with a badly swollen knee and everyone else was tired and aching after playing 6 games over the previous two days. Our first game was against Mansfield and again, we went with the 4 2 0 option to try and contain them. The first half saw us go 3 – 0 down but we rallied to hold them to only one further goal in the second half and managed to score ourselves, thanks to Alan George. However, we did pick up another couple of injuries with Ken and Rick suffering hamstring strains. Billy went to work however and a patched-up team went into the fray for our final match against Monte Mentals. And we won it! 3 – 2 with goals from Jim Finucane and two from Brendan. (I’m convinced we wouldn’t have gotten Brendan off the pitch if he hadn’t scored!) A great result to finish off the tournament then it was a quick trip back to the hotel for showers and to finish packing before being picked up by coach for our final lunch with everyone before departing for home.
Our final lunch was at a restaurant in Torrevieja – three courses with drinks provided and another excellent meal. It was unfortunate that we were unable to fully relax and enjoy this as we had to get to the bus station by 3.00pm for our airport shuttle. However, some of the Monte Mentals team provided lifts for us so we were there in plenty of time to catch the bus and our subsequent flight home.
All in all, we had a great time. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and I’m sure we’d all love to do it again next year if invited. Rumour has it, it will be an over 60’s next year which will be a much more evenly balanced tournament.
I think I see the sun!
BWFC WAGS (wives and Grannies) in Alicante
Worcester Uni Over 60s Tournament 11/5/16 (RUNNERS UP)
Birmingham Beechcroft were runners up at the first Worcester University Over 60s Walking Football Tournament on 11/5/16.
The team with a number of players making their competitive debuts acquitted themselves well beating Worcester A 2-0 in the first match with both goals coming from Keith L. They then played the eventual winners Coleshill Strollers and lost 1-0 in a very tight game when they did not take a couple of opportunities to score but the opposition did. Despite this they then beat Worcester B 4-1 with Dennis S and Dave B both scoring a couple each, but were on the receiving end of the goal of the tournament with a thunderbolt from one of the Worcester team.
Keith P did well on his debut in goal and the rest of team, Roy A, Chris B, Jim M, Dennis S, Dave B, Dave F, Keith L all represented the club in a positive manner in a well run tournament.
Over 50’s Chesterton Tournament – 24/4/16 (PLATE WINNERS)
A. Struthers Golden Boot Chesterton
Last week saw BWFC head to Chesterton for an over 50’s tournament. The guys got off to a slow start drawing in their first game & lo+sing in the second, to Stone and the hosts Chesterton, failing to score in either game. By the third game Andrew Struthers found the back of the net not once but twice to win 2-0 against Rugeley. The stream of goals flew in from there on, with wins against Walsall B, Walsall A (in the semi final) and Beaconside (in the final). Despite the team only conceding two goals in six games they didn’t qualify for the tournament cup, but were put through to the ‘Plate’ round which they went on to successfully win! As well as bringing the silver back to Beechcroft, Andrew Struthers our star striker of the day was presented with the ‘Golden Boot’ trophy for most goals scored in the whole tournament!! Well done to the whole team!
For additional pictures taken on the day by a photographer follow this link www.ccwf.club and look at the gallery for the tournament.
Results (Click on the image for better quality) –
Lilleshall Over 50’s Tournament – 9/4/16 (RUNNERS UP)
Lilleshall Over 50’s Team
On the anniversary of the 1966 England World cup victory BWFC head to Lilleshall to play in their over 50’s tournament.
The team managed by Paul Murtagh on the day won all their games bar one, and conceded just ONE goal in the whole tournament! Well done to all the players who finished runners up losing only to the National Champions Leggy Mambos!
2-0 win v Highly
3-0 win v Walsall
3-0 win v Burton Albion
1-0 win v Walsall A
1-0 lose v Leggy Mambos
3-0 win v Highly
Peoples Cup Final – Sheffield 20/3/2016 (3RD PLACE FINISH)
Beechcroft WFC had one team (BWFC Red) through to the finals of the FA Peoples Cup 2016 held at Goals in Sheffield. Steve Rogers went along and joined the BBC get inspired team to produce a live account of the game for Twitter to keep all of us at home up to date with the scores!
The first game was against Grimsby Ancient Mariners and after a nervous start the team lost a disappointing 1-0. The next game was against Walking Football League A, where the team settled down and won in an exciting 2-1. The third, and unfortunately last game for our guys, saw the team take on Westcott Vets and get a comfortable 2-0 win. However due to the loss of the first game hadn’t stacked up enough points to go through to the final. Well done to all those players who took part and represented our club, you did us proud!
Semi Finals of FA PEOPLES CUP – Nottingham28/2/2016
Beechcroft had two teams through to the semis of the Peoples Cup, BWFC BLUE and BWFC RED. Results are as follows;
Nottingham Semi Finals FA Peoples Cup 2016
BWFC BLUE 2 v 3 Shrewsbury Town
BWFC BLUE 3 v 0 BWFC RED
BWFC BLUE 2 v 1 Norwich A
BWFC BLUE 3 v 0 Norwich B
BWFC BLUE 1 v 9 Sheffield Utd
BWFC BLUE 0 v 1 Hereford Utd
BWFC RED 5 v 0 Norwich B
BWFC RED 3 v 0 BWFC BLUE
BWFC RED 3 v 0 Shrewsbury Town
BWFC RED 1 v 3 Sheffield Utd
BWFC RED 1 v 4 Hereford Utd
BWFC RED 1 v 1 Norwich A
BWFC RED were then third place in the semi finals and played Hereford Utd to cement their place in the finals at Sheffield next month!
BWFC RED 3 v 1 Hereford Utd
Worcester 0 v 4 Beechcroft (Over 60’s 15/2/16) (WIN)
Another game played in sunshine at Worcester University on the 3G surface. Goals from Dave Forder (2) Alan George and Roy Atkins saw Beechcroft run out comfortable winners against Worcester. Beechcroft should really have scored more but were happy with the day out and thank Worcester for their hospitality and hosting the game.
BWFC 3 v 0 Walsall FC (Over 50s 11/2/16) (WIN)
A hat trick from Dave Wright saw Beechcroft overhaul a spirited Walsall side at home in the sun. Beechcroft proved a little too strong for a Walsall side that are just finding their feet in competitive football. A commanding performance from Dave Castle kept things tight at the back and superb finishing from Dave Wright for his goals was the difference. All of Beechcroft players played their part in an entertaining game. The game was played in good spirits and thanks go out to Walsall for playing their part. We look forward to the return leg.
Hartshill 3 V 1 Beechcroft 7/2/16 (LOSS)
Beechcroft played away at Hartshill in the third leg of the Winter Shield in what proved to be an excellent advert for Over 60s football. The game was competitive and played in a good spirit on a tight pitch in the Black Country. The opening exchanges were cagey with both teams sussing out the new players from the last game. Hartshill struck first when they were gifted the ball from a Beechcroft defender’s miskick and they calmly took advantage. Beechcroft struck back almost immediately when Malcolm squeezed a shot into the corner past the impressive keeper. Beechcroft hit a post and squandered a number of other goal scoring opportunities as did Hartshill until their danger man was again given the ball and his mishit shot crept into the net. Hartshill followed up when one of their midfielders celebrated his 60th birthday with a strong shot to seal the game. Beechcroft battled well but could not break down the resolute Hartshill defence and in form keeper.
PEOPLES CUP NEWS UPDATE!
Congratulations to all THREE Beechcroft teams (Red / White / & Blue) for getting through to the semi finals in Nottingham later this month!
FA PEOPLES CUP 2016 FIRST ROUND
Last month saw the first round of this year’s FA Peoples Cup get under way around the country. After last year’s disappointing result at Manchester (lost in the final) BWFC were keen to make a comeback and so entered THREE teams into two of the most local tournament venues. Two teams led by Matt Corp and Steve White (Beechcroft Blue and Beechcroft White) attended at Shrewsbury’s Powerleague, and the third team led by Nell entered at Derby. Despite winning two of their games Beechcroft Blues journey ended in the semi final against hosts Shrewsbury Town in a 3-1 defeat. Beechcroft White fought hard but failed to get through to the semis, leaving all our hopes pinned on Nells Derby team!
Beechcrofts Derby entry also did us proud by performing well, winning three of their four games, taking them to the semi final against Burton. A 1-1 draw led the team to penalties where the practice paid off and they won 3-2! In the final against Sheffield Beechcrofts luck ran out and they lost 3-0, however the top two teams progress to the next stage so BWFC left victorious. Nell and his team now have the second round Nottingham semi finals to prepare for at the end of February! Good luck to all those involved, and please, stay injury free!
Today Beechcroft sent an over 50s (and one over 35 as per rules) team to Wales to play in a six game tournament. They had a by in the first game after one team pulled out of the competition then went on to play five games and won the tournament without conceding a goal!! The team beat Leicester city 1-0, Rochdale 2-0, Shrewsbury 2-0, hosts TNS 2-0 in the semi, and drew against Leicester City 0-0 in the final taking the game to penalties where it ended 3-2. Congratulations to the team and manager for bringing home the silverware!
Super Friday 5-a-side winners
Over 50s Bromsgrove Tournament October 2015
Beechcroft put forward an over 50s team to take part at Bromsgrove Sporting FCs tournament last weekend. Our guys played the hosts in the semi final with Dave Wright scoring 5 of the 6 goals to win 6-0 and Captain Brendan Glynn also appearing on the score sheet. In the Final they came up against a strong Kidderminster Harriers team but finished triumphant with yet another spectacular goal from Dave Wright, keeping Goal keeper Rob Corps sheet clean! Many thanks to Bromsgrove Sporting for holding the event and congratulations to our Over 50s team for bringing home the silverware!
BWFC over 50s Bromsgrove tournament October 15
BWFC V Bromsgrove Sporting FC
BWFC V Kidderminster Harriers
BWFC 50s/60s V MANCHESTER CITY FC
BWFC over 50s and 60s prepare to take on Manchester City Walking Football teams
A sprightly Beechcroft walking football team arrived at Manchester citys training ground last week for a friendly against their over 50s and 60s walking football teams.
The over 50s, struggling initially with a completely different rules format, found themselves 4-0 down in the first 10 minutes. Beechcroft quickly adjusted to the ‘new rules’ and battled back and were unlucky in the end to loose 5-4.
The over 60s – A scintillating start for Beechcroft Over 60s team with a resounding 12-0 success over their counterparts at Manchester City.
The team ably led by captain Brendan G quickly adapted to the different playing conditions and the unseasonal and unusual sunny Manchester weather and played controlled and intelligent football to overwhelm their opponents who may have been wishing they were already on their upcoming Spanish tour.
Alan H in goal was a calming influence and rarely troubled as most of the shooting was from distance and wayward. Del W and Pete B were solid in the heart of the defence and consistently supplied teammates with some crisp and accurate passing. Dave B, Phil N and Steve H played the wing back roles to perfection bombing back and forward to support defence and attack. Brendan controlled the middle of the pitch and created many chances for himself and the team. John L worked hard up front and again created numerous chances for the team with his support play. The culmination of their efforts was a nine pass move which resulted in a goal with the opponents chasing shadows. Mike B put in a spirited cameo performance with two assists in his short time on the pitch.
All the players were a credit to Beechcroft and the coaching of Nell and Paul with some excellent passing and disciplined positional play.
Thanks also to the referee for some consistent decision making and the sporting Manchester City team who may have been weakened by their impeding Spanish adventure but were admirable hosts and we look forward to the return match.
DUDLEY OVER 40s TOURNAMENT 26/9/15
Last weekend saw Beechcroft Walking Football Club enter two teams into the Dudley over 40s Walking Football Tournament. After winning all three group games, Beechcroft Reds lost in an unfortunate semi final 1-0 against Leasowes. Beechcroft Whites won two and drew one of their group games and then went on to win their semi final against Dudley Councillors 3-0. In a close Final Beechcroft Whites overcame Leasowes 1-0 to win the tournament. Congratulations to both Beechcroft teams who took part, but especially the Whites who won without conceding a goal in five games!
OVER 50s EASTLEIGH TOURNAMENT
**Tournament Runners Up**
Report to follow
WALKING FOOTBALL UNITED NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
June 6th 2015 away at Hartshill * Report to follow*
BWFC V RACING BLYTHE
* Report To Follow*
Friendly 7-1 Win @ Home
FA PEOPLES CUP 25/5/2015
* Report to follow *
The FA Cup
Our Over 40s Beechcroft Walking Football Team 2015
The FA Peoples Cup Support
BWFC V YMAOHYD Won 3 – 0
BWFC V Grimsby Mariners Won 4 – 0
BWFC V Codnor FC
Here is a shortcut link to the BBC get inspired video of the Peoples FA Cup highlights http://bbc.in/1GhwR9v we are in it (briefly) from around 11 minutes in.
RUGELEY TOURNAMENT 25/4/15
*Report to follow shortly*
Won 6-0 v Hartshill
Won 12-0 v Rugeley B
Won 4-1 v Hartshill
Won 8-0 v Rugeley B
Won 5-2 v Rugeley A (Semi-final)
Lost 0-1 v Hartshill (Final)
Harthill Strollers 7/3/15
Saturday saw the return away fixture between Beechcroft and Hartshill Strollers. Two teams from both sides were organised to play concurrently and in glorious sunshine both Beechcroft teams ran out worthy winners 4-1 and 3-1. Hartshill were great hosts to our two teams who put on a superb show on a lovely pitch with sandwiches and samosas after the game. It seems our club goes from strength to strength. Heres hoping they do as well in the next round of the FA Peoples cup!
V Hartshill 7/3/15
BWFC V Hartshill Strollers 7/3/15
BWFC FA PEOPLES CUP
On Saturday 21st February Beechcroft sent three over 40s walking football teams to Shrewsbury to take part in the FA Peoples Cup. All teams did incredibly well considering most of the ‘walkers’ hadn’t played competitively in years! After playing 5 games each Beechcroft Red were into the Semi final with 15 points, winning all their games. Beechcroft Blue were also Semi finalists with 9 points. Finally, Beechcroft White came joint 5th with 3 points. Beechcroft Reds went through to the Final with a very convincing 4-1 win over a physical Stoke City side. Beechcroft blue took on Shrewsbury in the other semi but unfortunately lost on penalties to put an end to a potential all Beechcroft final. Beechcroft Reds took revenge for their defeat with an even more convincing 7-1 win in the final and therefore being crowned FA Peoples Cup West Midlands Region Champions. We would like to thank all those men and women who took part (in their new kits) to make this a resounding success for our club! The next heat of the competition will take place at the end of April.
Beechcroft Walking Football Club BWFC hosted their first ever competitive game on December 20th 2014 against Hartshill Strollers. A great debut match was had by all and despite going 1-0 down in the first few minutes BWFC fought back to win 5-1. The opposition keeper got man of the match for his tremendous skills in goal. Well done one and all!!
BWFC kits have now been ordered to make us look more professional 9/1/15