WFA Walking Football National Cup Finals – Lilleshall – September/October 22
The Walking Football National Cup finals were held at Lilleshall – National Sports Center.
The venue worked well – yes the pitches were grass, but of a superb quality and we have received many positive comments about the quality of the pitches. Based on feedback from last year and given that this is the most high profile club competition in England, we deployed a referee and assistant to all the pitches in the finals. (50s, 60, 65s). In the main, this worked well and improved the consistency of officiating
Over 70s National Tournament – 23 teams participated with the winners being Norwich Soca Seniors for the 2nd year running, beating Winstanley Walkers 1-0 in the final. It really was a fantastic tournament – We have gone from 8, to 13, to 23 teams in the 3 years of running Over 70s and we think the time has come to Regionalise this age, with, maybe a south and a north tournament on the same day with the top 4 teams from each going through to the National Finals – watch this space.
Over 60s – a very competitive Final ended with Norwich Community beating Godalming 1-0 in the final. It was nice that both finals on day 1 were won in normal time without having to resort to the dreaded penalty shoot-out. It was certainly a good Saturday for the City of Norwich.
The Over 65s, on Sunday, ran very smoothly – a change in the format of the matches meant that every team got a one game break and no teams played back-to-back worked well (thank you for the suggestion) – it was great to have 8 teams in it this year so the format was the same as the 50s and 60s. There were not many goals and most games were very tight, with Eastleigh retaining their title beating Hemel Hempstead in the final on penalties.
The 50s tournament was very competitive – too much so in some cases. There were a number of reckless challenges that really have no place in Walking Football and the referees had to work extremely hard
The final was between Forest Vets and Winstanley Walkers. By the final whistle Winstanley were reduced to 3 outfield players but held on for a penalty shoot-out, which proved a tense affair with Forrest Vets eventually winning.
Generally – a fantastic weekend with numerous positive verbal and written comments with one or two areas that provide us with food for thought for future finals. Our sincere thanks to the following
- The staff at Lilleshall for preparing the pitches to a high standard and to the Duty Manager for his help over the weekend
- The army of referees who kept the games going with a smile – for 99% of the time and who applied the rules consistently
- The players – on the Saturday over 300 of them which makes it the 2nd biggest outdoor event held at Lilleshall and over 150 on the Sunday, the vast majority of whom played the game in the right spirit and enjoyed the occasion and prestige or reaching a National Final.