“Walking Football played in the right spirit, well done Rothwell Old Boars!!”
John & Niall, Team Captains
At the end of May the Rothwell Old Boars (ROB) moved out of their familiar Rothwell Juniors home and took residence next door at the West Riding County FA which has had a brand new 3G pitch installed recently.
To celebrate the move they arranged an invitation only Festival of Walking Football with 50+, 60+ and Friendly competitions. In addition to trophies for each of these categories, the main trophy was aimed at encouraging Fair Play across all categories, with teams asked to score their opponents after each game.
The Wanderers entered two squads to take part; a 60+ team and a Friendly team.
Our participants were:
Friendly Team: - Pete Bentley, Martin Burrell, Tony Hill, Derek Kelly, Derek Lee, John Myatt, Stewart Rosier & Mick Wilde.
60+ Team: - Dave Holbrow, Chris Lund, Mel Mitchell, Niall ODonnell, Mike Roberts, Stephen Stoker & Mike Thompson.
With the weather reports forecasting heavy rain all day, the fifteen intrepid Wanderers set out on one of their shorter away trips to the new home of the ROB at the West Riding FA headquarters in deepest Rothwell.
On arrival they found a long queue of cars waiting outside the venue, unfortunately not excited supporters arriving early to bag the best vantage points for the Festival, but organisers and players waiting for 'someone' from the FA to turn up and open the gates! (excuses included "holidays" and "poor communication").
Being a little too old to scale the fence, a brief, good humoured wait ensued whilst a representative of the FA was roused to give us access to the facilities. Fortunately the rain held off and like a conquering army the mass of Walking Footballers (what is the collective name for a group of Walking Footballers?) finally entered the sporting arena.
Friendly Team Report by John Myatt (Team Captain)
The Wanderers Team in the Friendly category enjoyed considerable success. Marshalled from the back by Team Captain John Myatt (and ably supported in defensive duties by Stewart Rosier) they managed to win all three of the games that were played on the day, without conceding a goal in an hour of tournament play.
Their first game was against Rothwell Old Boars and Wanderers ran out 2-0 winners, with goals from Stewart Rosier and Mick Wilde.
The second game was against the younger and much fancied Doncaster Retro Rovers. The Wanderers adopted a more defensive format and were delighted when Mick Wilde found the net to secure victory from a very hard fought contest.
The next game saw the return fixture against Rothwell and this time Wanderers enjoyed an easier victory by a margin of 3-0. The skipper was mightily relieved that victory had already been secured when his penalty kick was superbly saved by the Rothwell keeper!
It was great to see the obvious enjoyment of those taking part in their first tournament style competition with quality contributions from Derek (Ned) Kelly , the ageless Derek Lee and Tony Hill. Goalkeeping duties were shared between Martin Burrell and Pete Bentley and both managed to maintain clean sheets throughout. Also notable was the ease with which Mick Wilde converted from his usual role of stopper to striker, scoring in each of the games he played.
Not sure who had the biggest smile at the end of the games. Derek was absolutely beaming and Tony was clearly overjoyed at bagging a brace in the final game.
Rothwell Old Boars won 2-0 Rosier & Wilde
Doncaster Retro Rovers won 1-0 Wilde
Rothwell Old Boars won 3-0 Hill (2) & Wilde
60+ Team Report by Niall O'Donnell (Team Captain)
A strong Wanderers team struggled to convert their chances in the first game against ROB and Mike Thompson, Dave Holbrow and Mel Mitchell all hit the post while Niall ODonnell blasted 2 shots high and wide. Our defence though was impressive and Stephen Stoker relatively untroubled as Chris Lund and Mike Roberts provided ample cover and protection.
In the second game against Doncaster Retro Holbrow bagged 4 goals and Mitchell and Thompson all converted chances for a clinical 7-0 victory.
The third game was a return against ROB with the Wanderers once again having the bulk of the play and possession. Wanderers defence was very impressive and restricted ROB to one long range effort which Stoker caught diving to his right. We were still finding it a challenge to beat Steve Naylor in the ROB goal, until a late break saw the unselfish ODonnell pass to the prolific Holbrow who sealed the victory.
Unfortunately, due to a medical emergency during the 60+ game between ROB and Retro Rovers, the Wanderers final match with Retro Rovers was cancelled. The team look with optimism to a resumption or a replaying of the tournament.
During the penultimate 60+ match one of the Retro Rovers players collapsed and was given medical aid by a number of the attendees, whilst an ambulance was called.
in the circumstances the decision was taken, and supported unanimously by all, to abandon the Tournament and rearrange for a later date.
Thankfully we have since received an update that the Retro player has returned home last night, our best wishes for a full recovery has been extended to him from Wakefield Walking Football Club.
This is a copy of Facebook messages exchanged last night which reflects the camaraderie exhibited in a difficult situation:
Sent by Niall O'Donnell - All the Wakefield players over at the competition at Rothwell Old Boars at West Riding FA would like to wish the Retro player well and hope he makes a speedy recovery after his collapse today against ROB 60+ team.
The competition was quite rightly abandoned and matches will be replayed. Jan - please pass on our wishes to your player and indeed team
Chris - thanks to the ROB team and for your organisation of the event. Sorry it ended the way it did.
Response from Jan Milner of Doncaster Retro Rovers - Big thank you to all the Wakey boys love you all to bits. Friendships and mutual respect is always there between our clubs. R.O.B Wakefield Wanderers and Retro Rovers playing the game the right way. Baz got back home late last night blown away by the genuine love, respect and concern show by everyone yesterday xxxxx
A selection of photos taken throughout the day will be uploaded as soon as received
Updated 15:27 - 11 Jun 2017 by David Holbrow