Manchester Walking Football December 2021
GMWF 60s League
Manchester Walking Football December 2021 saw the fourth and final session of the Autumn league Divisions 1 & 2 on the 2nd of the month.
In Division 1, Manchester Corinthians Reds were crowned champions. After topping the table every month from September, the final month saw the Reds win the title by a seven point margin. They started well and after the second fixture, they couldn’t be caught. Wakefield Wanderers were runners up after three 0-0 draws and one loss.
Rochdale AFC Strollers, always a difficult side to play against, came third two points behind Wakefield. The Strollers won two, drew one and lost one. Bury Relics after only picking up seven points in the previous three sessions doubled their total with two wins, one draw and the one loss.
Bolton Wanderers Walkers, a strong side and on level points with Bury after November, could only add three more points with the one win and three losses. Bolton will start the Spring 2022 season in Division 2 and would be a good bet to bounce straight back to the top division.
With the strong Club Kingsmaid winning promotion to Division 1 next season, this division contains sides that are a match for any in the country and has the prospect of many exciting fixtures. It also shows how the standard of walking football has grown over it’s short lifetime.
In Division 2 Club Kingsmaid, like the Corinthians Reds in Division 1, led the table from September and they finished with a nine point margin over second placed Fleetwood Town Flyers. Also on the day, again like the Corinthians Reds, they too couldn’t be caught after their second game and also suffered the one loss – a double case of ‘Resting On Laurels Syndrome’? Teams are always out to beat the champions in any level of football and who can blame them?
The Flyers had two wins, one draw and one loss and finished two points ahead of their local rivals Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders, who were on level points after the November session. The Seasiders, despite beating the Flyers in the head to head could only manage two draws and one loss in their other fixtures.
Manchester Corinthians Whites, in bottom spot after the November session but level on points with Purple Panthers, won the head to head and drew two and lost one to overtake the Panthers and escape relegation. The Panthers had one win and three losses and find themselves in Division 3 next season.
In September Divisions 3 leaders Rochdale Striders had a three point advantage over Preston North End Senior Whites. That lead was reduced to two points in October and in November they were both level on points and goal difference. So was the head to head going to decide the winners in December?
The Striders drew their first fixture while the Whites had a win. Next was the head to head which finished in a scoreless draw, so the Whites now had a two point lead. They both won their final fixtures so that two point advantage meant that the Whites were winners of Division 3 and would gain promotion in next years Spring league, while the Striders were runners up.
Maccabi Old Codgers came third in the division while Salcom finished bottom. Maccabi drew one and lost two, while Salcon won one and lost two. With more teams wishing to join us next Spring, Salcom will retain their place in Division 3, which will consist of at least five teams and possibly six.
Carlisle SOA won Division 4 with Moston Brook FC coming runners up. Carlisle’s winning the division is impressive as they forfeited all four games in September due to a Covid outbreak and found themselves seven points adrift of table toppers Moston and in bottom spot. In October, their first session, that seven point lead was reduced to one point and after the November session with both teams gaining the same points that lead stood.
So the head to head could very well decide the division winners. As it happened this was the first game on the fixture list and both teams looked good enough to win it. Play was fairly even but that old problem of team offences was to cost Moston dearly. Carlisle stuck away the resulting penalty and now had a two point lead over Moston. It was still all to play for as another six points could be added, however both teams won one and drew one, so the table positions remained the same. Carlisle will start next season in Division 3 and would be a good bet to win that one too.
Roach Dynamos finished in third position after one win, one draw and one loss, while Rochdale Wanderers came in fourth, seven points adrift of Roach, after one draw and two losses. With additional teams next season Both Divisions 3 and 4 will contain 5 teams and very possibly six teams certainly in Division 4.
GMWF 65s League
With only a goal difference of one goal separating the top two in Division 1, Manchester Corinthians and Bury Relics, this was always going to go to the wire and possibly be settled in the head to head in this final league session on 16th December.
Both teams had 2-0 wins in the 11:00 time slot. The Relics had no fixture in the 11:20 slot while the Corinthians drew with third placed Rochdale AFC Strollers. Two points dropped and in the 11:40 slot the Relics picked up three points after their 1-0 win over Rochdale AFC Strollers, to give them a two point lead over the Corinthians.
Both teams had wins in the 12:00 slot, which meant the Corinthians needed a win in the final fixture of the league season against the Relics. It was a tight affair with both teams sharing possession and the Relics probably had the more scoring chances but some superb saves by the Corinthians keeper, Graham Hall, kept the fixture goalless. With three minutes remaining it looked like the champions would be the Relics but a strong pass forward to the Corinthians striker, Ray Richards, saw him swivel round and hit a thunderous shot at the Relics goal. The ball struck a post, hit the opposite post and finished in the net.
Time ran out for the Relics and the Corinthians were the champions. There are some excellent teams in this Division 1 with no easy games and it will be even harder next season with Club Kingsmaid being promoted.
Rochdale Strollers came third after only picking up a single point today but it was enough to give them a seven point advantage over Manchester Senior Citizen who finished fourth after two wins and two losses. Salcom finished in bottom spot but added three points to their seasons total after one win and three losses. Salcom will start the Spring 2022 season in Division 2 but there will be no easy games for all their opponents.
In Division 2 the top three teams were all in with a shout to win the division. Preston North End Senior Whites had a two point lead over Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders, who in turn had a three point advantage over Fleetwood Town Flyers.
In the 11:00 time slot both Preston and Blackpool had scoreless draws and in the 11:20 slot Preston had another scoreless draw while Fleetwood picked up three points. The 11:40 slot saw Blackpool and Fleetwood meet and this ended scoreless. Blackpool then beat Preston in the following fixture, which meant that they led the division by one point.
Preston had a win in their final game to now give them a two point lead over Blackpool. With Fleetwood unable to catch either of the other two, a win for Blackpool in the final game against Rochdale Striders would give them the title. It wasn’t to be as it ended scoreless, so Preston were the champions with Blackpool taking the runners up spot.
Fleetwood finished third, seven points ahead of Purple Panthers in fourth spot, who had one win and three scoreless draws. Rochdale Striders could only add two points to their seasons five with two draws and two losses. They will play in Division 3 next season.
Division 3 leaders in November were Club Kingsmaid, with a six point lead over Bolton Arena. Today, 23rd December, they increased that margin to seven points to become the divisional winners. Kingsmaid won two, drew two and lost one while runners up Bolton won two, drew one and lost two.
Rochdale Wanderers remained in third spot, adding seven points to their November total after winning two, drawing one and losing two. Fifth placed in November, Chester Northgate jumped up a place with two wins, one draw and two losses. Moston Brook finished in fifth spot with one win, three draws and one loss.
Wakefield Wanderers, bottom of the table in November could only manage to pick up five points from one win, two draws and two losses. If there are four divisions of the 65s in the 2022 Spring season, Wakefield could be relegated to Division 4 and possibly Moston Brook as well.
GMWF 70s League
Rochdale AFC Strollers, already champions in November were a couple of their normal team players short today but still managed to maintain that margin over runners up Bury Relics. The Strollers drew all their three fixtures, while the Relics did likewise.
Preston North End in third spot, leading Blackpool FC Senior Seasiders by two points in November, also maintained that margin with three 0-0 draws. The Seasiders also had three draws, two of them scoreless. Depending on how many new teams join us next season in the 70s league, the Seasiders may retain their Division 1 status.
In November Manchester Senior Citizens had a two point lead over Tameside Striders at the top of the table. That margin was increased to four points to make the Citizens winners of Division 2, with the Tameside team runners up.
The Citizens had one win and two draws while the Striders had three draws.
Salcom and Moston Brook FC remained in third and fourth spot respectively and Salcom’s nine point margin was increased to ten points. Salcom drew all their three fixtures while Moston drew two and lost one.
Despite the constant threat of lockdown due to the rise in Covid infections, we managed to at last complete a full league season, the first since the Autumn 2019 season. Thanks to all the teams who participated, some travelling long distances, and of course to our squad of referees, who are arguably the best set of officials in any of the countries walking football leagues.
Thanks to first the league Chairman and Co-Founder, Paul Gardner, for arranging the venue slots at the Heywood Sports Village, appointing the referees for each session and his work on player registration with the FA WGS (Whole Game System). Secondly Steve Colesby, our Treasurer and Fixtures Secretary, who has the unenviable task of arranging the fixtures to ensure no teams have too many fixtures without a break or alternatively no breaks that are too long. Having been responsible for that role before Steve took over, it’s no easy task I can assure you.
Also thanks to Garry Pearce, our Referees Appointment & Disciplinary Secretary, who ensures that we have a competent and reliable group of officials to maintain the leagues excellent reputation. Not forgetting Barry Woodburn, who together with Paul Gardner does an excellent job implimenting the FA WGS.
No league can run efficiently without the right people on board and thankfully we have those people, who will strive to maintain the GMWFL’s reputation as the largest and best in the country.
The full results and tables for all the December sessions are on the website drop down menu for each age category.
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