“Our aging squads did us proud and it’s interesting to note that on a combined basis for each Club we came out top.”
Chris Lund & John Myatt - Team Managers
For the first competitive event of 2018 the Wanderers made the short journey to Football World, Leeds to take part in an over 50s mini-tournament organised by our good friend Eddie Gibson at Leeds Titans.
There were 3 Clubs involved - Leeds Titans, Neath and Wakefield with each Club entering 2 teams. The fixtures were so arranged that the individual teams for each Club did not play each other, leaving each team with 4 games to play.
The games were refereed by Eddie Gibson and our own David Holbrow, and great thanks are due to both for their ability to ensure the games were given the chance to flow and played in a good spirit.
Having discovered that the guys from Neath travelled up on Saturday, and were staying overnight again on Sunday before returning to South Wales, everyone marvelled at the lengths they would go to in order to get an hour of competitive Walking Football. Surely a case for a separate award for services to Walking Football perhaps?
With an expanding membership, and no less than 44 members having represented the Club during 2017, the Wanderers have made some structural changes for the new season. Anxious to ensure that members at all age levels have opportunities to take part in competitive events, Chris Lund is now firmly established in the role of Team Manager for the over 50s. Sadly, the Club still has fewer players under 60 than it would like, and with several unavailable or injured Chris had to supplement the over 50s with the more active members of the 60+ brigade.
We also decided to put out a further team in order to make the tournament logistics work and this was managed by John Myatt. The average age for our teams was 61 and 63 respectively - well above excess of the average for other Clubs on the day.
Chris’ team became Wakefield Blues with John’s team as Wakefield Oranges.
Wakefield Blues Team Report
On a cold, wet Sunday afternoon, the "troops" gathered at the Leeds Football World where it was colder inside than outside, and the manager had to devise ways of keeping the players warm rather than motivating them to play football. A good pre match warm up followed for both squads which at least managed to warm them up a bit!!!!!. A few "hot toddies" would not have gone amiss.
It was agreed amongst the 'Blues' pre-match that there would be a squad rotation to ensure everyone would get equal playing time. The squad was John Perrins (GK), Chris Lund, John McClelland, Mike Thompson, Steve Caven, Laurence Watkins and Mark Fielden.
Their first game was against Titans "B", and despite going one down, the blues recovered well and finished 3-1 winners with goals from Mike Thompson (2) and John McClelland on his return scoring the other.
Game 2 saw us come up against a very strong and determined Titans "A", who were clearly keen not to repeat the performance of the last time we met in November 2017, when we matched them all the way. On this occasion they came out flying and despite our best efforts, and particularly those of John Perrins in goal, we suffered a 4-0 defeat.
Game 3 was against the "A" team of our visitors from Neath, who proved to be a decent footballing side and a very close game ensued, but a Mike Thompson goal was the difference giving us a 1-0 win.
John Perrins in goal ensured that everyone in the centre knew who Mike was by shouting at the top of his voice "THOMPSON" every time he threw the ball to him. (Managers Note: Ensure everyone brings earplugs next time out!).
Game 4 against the Neath "B" saw a very relaxed and competent performance. Good possession, passing, movement off the ball and scoring 4 goals with none conceded was a perfect way to end the day. Goals from Steve Cavan (2), Mike Thompson and Mark Fielden.
Mark only managed the one goal on the day but kept reminding us it was all about "Quality" not "Quantity". If you want to know how good it was - Ask Him, the rest of the team are fed up of hearing about it.
So Nine points in total, finishing second to Titans 'A', with 8 goals scored and 5 conceded.
Another good day out for the Wanderers who show how football should be played in a good spirit, competiveness at the right level, and respect to officials and other teams/players.
Wakefield Oranges Team Report
Debuts were given to Michelle Walker (who strode around like Kevin de Bruyne) and Tony Baker (our own version of Edin Hazard) in a 6 person squad that comprised: Mick Wilde (Goalkeeper), Tony Baker, John Myatt, Stephen Stoker, Paul Waggett & Michelle Walker.
John emphasised that we were likely to face tough opposition with teams with a much lower average age than our squad. This was borne out in our first encounter against Leeds Titans A who were the eventual winners of the tournament and were victorious in all their 4 games. We fought hard and were well in the game until the final stages losing 3-0.
Next up were Neath A - how cruel was this draw that saw us matched against the stronger A teams before we had any opportunity to really work on formation and team tactics? The team was now starting to gel and performance was greatly improved leading to us earning a well earned point from a very closely fought contest.
Game 3 saw us take on Neath B and we wondered if it was a mistake to allow their seriously under age keeper to play outfield due to an injury that prevented him remaining between the sticks.
Despite going behind twice our team spirit held up and we then secured victory with 2 further goals. Some great play in this match with Paul Waggett taking to the striker role like a duck to water. Both Paul Waggett and Stephen Stoker each producing a brace. Paul showed great determination in following up a rebound from a long range effort from John Myatt and later finding the corner with a great strike.
Stephen’s second saw him stumble but retain his footing to slide home, but perhaps the most memorable was his first - a left foot curler that should have been captured on video for him to play to grandchildren in his twilight years ( is that from 2019?)
In the final game for the Oranges confidence was growing and after taking the lead against Titans B midway through the game there was no way they were going to let the Titans back in. Effective game management saw us hold on to the lead and ensure the Titans had no chances to wipe out the deficit. Paul Waggett again found the net, this time showing determination to take the ball from a tussle involving Michelle and a couple of opposing players.
FINAL LEAGUE TABLE
|1||Leeds Titans A||4||4||0||0||12|
|2||Wakefield Blues||4||3||0||1|| 9|
|3||Wakefield Oranges||4||2||1||1|| 7|
|4||Neath Dragons||4||1||1||2|| 4|
|5||Leeds Titans B||4||0||1||3|| 1|
|6||Neath Communities||4||0||1||3|| 1|
Updated 10:47 - 16 Mar 2018 by David Holbrow
Chris Lund & John Myatt - Team Managers