A mixed team of Over 60 and Over 65’s returned to Worcester on Wednesday 2nd May to compete in the University of Worcester Walking Football Tournament.
Birmingham were runners up in this competition last year when it was played in sweltering conditions and they returned this year determined to win it this time round. This year the weather was the complete opposite and the matches played in a mixture of sunny, rainy and monsoon conditions which even included a hail storm!!
The first match was against newcomers to this competition in the form of a team called Freedom, a bunch of old boys from a local leisure centre who have got together and formed a team and went out to give it their all. Just what Walking Football should be about!
The matches were 8 mins per half and, as usual, Birmingham started slowly but soon got into their stride when Dave Whatmore scored his first goal of the day after 4 minutes play. This was followed by a Paul Feeney piledriver into the top corner. More neat play in the second half saw Dave Whatmore add the third and Tom Neale completed the scoring to make the final score
BWFC 4 Freedom 0
The second match was against Evesham WFC. This opposition were a step up in ability and aggression from the first opponents and Birmingham had to be at their best to contain them in the first few minutes with a couple of efforts on Keith ’The Cat " Phipps goal flying high and wide. Then Keith showed what a good goalkeeper he has become when he came off his line to smother a one on one effort from Evesham after they had managed to break through the Birmingham defensive line. This would have put Evesham one up so it was a very important save!! From then on Birmingham stepped up the pace and a neat short passing move found Tom Neale on the edge of the box and the chance was despatched with aplomb. Final Score: Birmingham 1 Evesham 0
Last up in the group stage was the team from the University of Worcester. Last year in tropical conditions Birmingham ran out 8 - 0 winners, but this year the score line was not so flattering.
Once again Birmingham controlled the game from start to finish and again the passing, movement and covering was first class. The defence were never troubled due to the protection afforded to them by the midfield of Frank Hughes, Roy Williams and Paul Feeney who hounded Worcester at every opportunity and got forward to create the chance for Dave Whatmore to score his third goal of the competition. Paul Feeney completed the scoring to make the final score Birmingham 2 Worcester 0
Birmingham were into the final where they were to meet a very physical and aggressive Evesham side who’s tactics seemed to be to shut out Birmingham’s forward threat by fair means or foul. The first half was all one way traffic with Birmingham dominating the midfield area once again and they were unlucky not to be at least a goal up at half time. The match continued in the same vein in the second half when the referee finally decided to speak to Evesham regarding their overzealous tackling and running. Birmingham stepped up the pace even more at this point and a superb long range effort from Frank Hughes found its way into the corner of the Evesham net to win the game and competition.
Final Score Birmingham 1 Evesham 0