The Grimsby over 60s tournament was a great success in previous years and it seemed a shame not to partake this year, especially with all the hard work organising it by my fellow WFLA committee member and referee Mick Hill.
With many players now reluctant to travel any distance to feature in tournaments, an appeal for players who were willing to travel went out to the GMWFL clubs. Despite it being FA Cup Final day, thirteen players came forward and we entered two Manchester teams, Manchester WF and Manchester WFA.
The two teams were Manchester WFA playing in red and white striped shirts and Manchester WF playing in a luminious green kit.
The Reds were Ken Hitchell (Club Kingsmaid) in goals, Joy Mason (Manchester Citizens), Stuart Saint (Club Kingsmaid), Wai Hong Tsang (Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders and Manchester Corinthians), Chris Vickers (Salcom), Clint Walker (Fleetwood Town Flyers) and Graham Walton (Bury Relics).
The Greens were Dave Hunter (Manchester Corinthians), Stuart Greaves (Manchester Corinthians and Bolton Arena), Chris Kershaw, Colin Myers, Ian Thommason, Steve Walton (all Bolton Arena).
The Reds had a squad of seven but Sainty wasn’t sure of his fitness and his suspicions were well founded when he had to retire after the first fixture, so it was a bare squad of six for the Reds. The Greens had the same number and with Chris and Stuart still carrying injuries, the outlook didn’t look good. However both squads of six lasted the day and did Manchester walking football proud.
The Reds were drawn in Group A alongside, Boston Utd, Gainsborough Trinity, Grimsby Ancient Mariners, Grimsby Corinthians Blues and Hull Pace Makers. The Greens were in Group B alongside Boston Pilgrims, Grimsby Corinthians Whites, Long Bennington and Retro Rovers.
The Reds Results & Scorers:
Reds 1-0 Grimsby Ancient Mariners (Graham Walton)
Hull Pace Makers 0-1 Reds (Wai Hong Tsang)
Reds 4-1 Grimsby Corinthians Blues (Graham Walton 3, Wai Hong Tsang 1)
Boston Utd 0-0 Reds
Reds 0-0 Gainsborough Trinity
The Greens Results & Scorers:
Greens 0-0 Long Bennington
Retro Rovers 0-2 Greens (Colin Myers 2 Penalties)
Greens 1-0 Boston Pilgrims (Colin Myers)
Grimsby Corinthians Whites 0-2 Greens (Steve Walton 2)
With the Greens and Long Bennington both on the same points and goal difference in their groups, to find the group winner it came to a penalty shoot out and the opposition won that by a 3-1 margin. So the results meant that both our teams came runners up in their respective groups. The semi finals were the Reds versus Group B winners Long Bennington and The Greens versus Group A winners Boston Utd.
With both games played at the same time on adjacent pitches it was a case of needing eyes in the back of your head. The Reds absolutely demolished Long Bennington 5-0 with Graham scoring four and Wai one. The greens beat Boston Utd 1-0 thanks to a goal from Colin, so it would be an all Manchester final.
It couldn’t have worked out better and it really didn’t matter who won as Manchester were the winners, although the two teams didn’t see it that way.
It was a great game with both teams playing some excellent passing football. The Greens took the lead with a goal by Steve Walton and not long after Wai equalised. The game continued with neither side adding to the scoreline and with ten seconds to the final whistle Wai scored again with a cracking goal to give the Reds a 2-1 win.
As mentioned Manchester were the winners with both teams playing some great football on the day. Graham grabbed eight goals in this tournament with Wai getting five, Colin four and Steve three. Before the final both teams were unbeaten with seventeen goals for and one goal against.
I think everyone enjoyed the day, the organisation was superb, the buffet before the presentation was excellent, the refereeing was top class and venue was really good. Thanks to all our lads and lass who committed to this tournament and thanks to Mick Hill and his team for a really brilliant day. Hopefully, we shall return.
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