Birmingham Walking Football Club entered two teams into this year’s Dick Kerr Ladies Cup held at UCLan, Preston on a very hot Sunday 8th July. This was the second year this 6-a-side competition has been held with last year’s being the very first national women’s walking football tournament.
Our Over 40s squad of 7, comprised of Caroline Reid, Truly Griffin, Allison Wayley, Lorraine Robinson, Kelly O’Donnell, Sonya Compton and Alexa Davies, who competed with six other teams in a league format with the top four qualifying for the final playoffs. Birmingham opened with a 5-1 victory against Lancashire Law School and this was followed by a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United (last year’s winners) and a 1-1 draw against Bolton Ambassadors. The morning’s final game saw us run out 7-0 victors against Poolfoot Belles, leaving us in a strong position for a playoff place but with Alexa’s ankle swollen badly. The injury meant she could play no further part and the squad was reduced to a bare 6 with no substitutes for the remaining games and our final two league games after lunch to be played back-to-back.
However, Birmingham were victorious in both games – a 3-0 victory against Sheffield United and a feisty 1-0 win against Phoenix. This saw us complete our programme in second place overall on goal difference and with a semi-final against Phoenix, who finished third, as our reward!
Birmingham went on to win this hard-fought semi-final against Phoenix 2-0 which meant a place in the final against Newcastle United who were defending champions. Birmingham’s Kelly O’Donnell scored first but Newcastle came back to equalise minutes later. Newcastle then scored again following a free kick move which allowed their leading goal scorer a long range shot. Caroline was unsighted by defending players and the ball flew into the net giving Newcastle the lead. Birmingham pressed hard for the remainder of the game and Caroline made some incredible saves to prevent Newcastle increasing their lead but it was not to be. Birmingham finished as Runners up.
Our Over 50s squad of 9 – Sue Insall, Dee Reade, Karen Sharman, Sue Moogan, Jan Trigg, Anne Ross, Tracy Dudwell, Sally Barber and Kath Broadfield were up against 3 other teams and played each twice, meaning 6 games in a league format.
Our first game was against Rothwell Old Boars and Birmingham ran out a 6-1 victory (goals from Tracy 3, Sue M, Dee and Sally). In our second match against Rossendale, we conceded two quick goals but found another gear and scored three ourselves without further reply for a hard fought 3-2 victory (goals from Sue M, 3). The final game of the morning session was a 5-0 victory against Preston (goals from Sue M, 3, Tracy, 2).
The afternoon session saw us complete a further three games against the same teams. First up again were Rothwell with Birmingham winning 4-1 (goals from Sue M, 2, Jan and Kath). Next up was the reverse fixture against Rossendale who had proved to be our stiffest opposition in the first round of games. We knew that anything but a loss would leave us in a very strong position and indeed this was the outcome with neither side being able to achieve a break-through and a 0-0 resulting. Final game was against Preston. They had lost their goalkeeper with a serious wrist injury earlier and asked if we would object to a ‘guest’ keeper playing as they had no substitute players. We had no issue with this and even with their young stand-in keeper playing, Birmingham finished with a 6-0 victory (goals from Sue M, 3, Kath, 2 and Dee). This completed the Over 50s competition and Birmingham finished up undefeated with 16 points from a possible 18 and WINNERS!
Over 50’s Manager Sue Thomas said, “Congratulations to EVERYONE who took part, the over 50s for bringing back the very first trophy for the Women’s section and the Over 40s for finishing runners up to a very good Newcastle side, and who played their last four games with no substitutes available virtually back-to-back. You were all brilliant; it was an honour and pleasure to be with you.”
Click on the following link to see the official photos ; https://www.facebook.com/UCLanArena/