Semi Final Heartbreak for Local Walking Football Clubs

Semi Final Heartbreak for Local Walking Football Clubs
Winners - Norwich 'A'

They think it’s all over, well actually it isn’t.

A County Over 60’s Walking Football tournament took place in Hunstanton on Saturday, 18th May and proved to be a huge success. Teams travelled from across the breadth of Norfolk to attend the event which was organised by King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, in conjunction with Heacham Walking Football Club.

The tournament, which was covered by BBC Radio Norfolk, involved seven teams - Norwich Soccer Seniors A’ and ‘B’, Cromer Strollers, Sheringham, Heacham WFC, King’s Lynn and Erpingham - who all converged to vie to for the Trophy on Hunstanton’s Recreation Ground.

Both Heacham and King’s Lynn managed to weave a path through tough groups. Heacham started slowly with a humbling 3-0 loss to Norwich ‘B’. However, they recouped and upped the ante in a must win game against Cromer, where a sublime Colin Chilvers effort was enough to secure a semi final berth for the hosts. King’s Lynn also prevailed from their group, with a hard fought final group game draw against Norwich ‘A’ proving crucial.

In the semi finals, Heacham put up a good fight against favourites, Norwich ‘A’, where an early goal from the latter was all that divided the teams in the end. King’s Lynn were beaten 2-0 by Norwich ‘B’ in the other semi final. A tight final between the two Norwich sides exploded late on as the ‘A’ team scored what, they thought, was a late winner, before the ‘B’ team were awarded a penalty at the death. Cue Norwich ‘A’ celebrations as the penalty was saved.

WEB 598

Woe betide any player who should dare break into a run as international WF referee, Dick Plowman, and his colleagues would come down on them like a ton of bricks ! Three offences and you are sin binned. Serious stuff this, no messing about ! Dick, in fact, recently refereed the Over 60’s Walking Football World Cup Final at the FA’s National headquarters, St. George’s Park, which saw England defeat France 3-0. He said, “the Hunstanton event was great to referee. It was played in the right spirit and we did not have any major incidents to deal with”.

WEB 641

Referee Dick Plowman (right)

With a couple of youngsters watching it was pointed out they might be playing this game in thirty years time! Of course, to them, that is a lifetime away, but they seemed impressed with proceedings. Walking Football, along with walking versions of many other sports, is one of the fastest growing forms of sport, particularly in the older age group categories. A great means for improving and maintaining fitness, it also improves your mental wellbeing. Many players think they had kicked their last football when they hung up their boots, but Walking Football allows the elder connoisseurs of the game to re-ignite that deep ingrained passion for the beautiful game.

Event organiser, Roger Partridge, was delighted with the outcome, “to see more than fifty Over 60’s players turn out and play football in the true spirit of the game was fantastic. This was our debut event and we now aim to make this an annual tournament on the Walking Football calendar”.

Heacham WFC play every Monday at 5pm on Heacham FC’s 3G pitch. Heacham WFC manager, Steve Watson, added, “we really are a friendly bunch of lads, who enjoy playing as much as the social side. We have a number of tournaments planned throughout the Summer to suit all abilities and ages (over 50), so why not come down and give it a go”. Steve can be contacted on 07931 383401 .

The Latest News in North-West Norfolk