When it came to registration at the FA Peoples Cup over 50s Walking Football First round competition at the impressive Goals Soccer centre in Kirkstall Leeds, Battyeford SC's roll call was greeted with a murmur of who are they? from the County's Walking Football establishment, a bit like the Accrington Stanley advert from yesteryear.
Battyeford SC Walking Football team were the new boys on the block, taking part in not only their first ever competition but playing their first ever competitive game. Some of the other teams had been playing for over two years and play in leagues with other teams associated with Premier League teams.
The format was a set of matches with top four going on to Semi-finals and then Finals, with the winners going on to the National Semi Finals.
The Battyeford team of just five players were, Lloyd Buckle, David Pawson, Wayne Smith, John Windsor and Captained by Tony Bosah. All the other teams had their full contingent of seven players allowing for substitutions during the games.
Battyeford SC got of to a baptism of fire as the first game saw us up against Wakefied Wanderers. It was quickly apparent that the Walking Football that we were playing on a Saturday morning down at West Mills was nothing like the real thing. After a many touches and runs, or walks should I say, chasing shadows up and down and a couple of goals down, we were totally out of breath, I turned to the ref and asked how long to go and my heart sank when he said we've only been playing for four minutes out of the twelve.
We lost the first game 3-0 but towards the end we gained a confidence that we took into the next game against Harrogate WFC which we won 2-0, with Tony Bosah getting a brace.
The next game was vs the Leeds Titans. they were on another level, very organised, very physical, very good and they knew it. Some of their play just within the rules of the game and on some occasions Usain Bolt would have struggled to keep up with them. Lloyd Buckle made some exceptional saves during the match as he did do in all the matches, keeping the score down to just 3-0. Dave Pawson was awesome in defence putting his body on the line making some great blocks and tackles.
Wharfedale Wanderers were next up, this was more comfortable as we ended the match 2-1 winners with another goal from Tony Bosah and the forever green John Windsor slotting in the second after some great link up play with Wayne Smith.
The fourth and final group game was vs Wharfedale Strollers, which by now the team was on its knees, having no substitutes was taking its toll. The game was heading for a 1-1 draw after a wonder strike from Tony Bosah lodged in the top righthand corner. With just seconds to go the Strollers hit the winner.
Group matches over, with two wins and six points Battyeford SC, beyond all expectations made the semi-finals. With our bodies well spent and the freezing temperatures seizing the muscles up after waiting over half an hour we were up against the Leeds Titans. Lloyd Buckle again with some super saves, Wayne Smith and John Windsor with some solid defending and Dave Pawson, who was carrying a bad injury at this stage, still putting his body on the line with some great play. At the end of the day they were better than us and won the game but not before Wayne Smith made a fantastic save as replacement keeper for Lloyd Buckle. LLoyd then got on the end of a great move which saw Dave play a through ball down the righthand side to John Windsor who flicked it inside to Tony Bosah, Bosah crossed the ball to the on running Lloyd Buckle and swept pass the on rushing Leeds keeper to make the final score 5-1.
Game over, competition over. No more Battyeford who? Respect all round. Walking Football have gained another team. Emotional, well done guys.
Updated 08:33 - 19 Jun 2018 by Paul MacDonald