Hampshire FA organised this tournament as part of a national day of walking football events to raise money towards the Bobby Moore Fund, which in turn donates to Cancer Research UK.
With a convoy led by John Morgan and his print-out of Google Maps instructions setting out from WLP at 8.30 on a hot sunny Sunday morning, the first contest of the day proved to be John’s Google Maps versus Barry Ingram’s satnav in the car behind. Sadly for John, despite leading for much of the journey, he fell behind by having to ask Barry to take point. Right at the death John managed to equalise thanks to an assist by Stew Russell, who spotted that the venue was at a different complex to the one Barry had parked us at.
Initially we were a bit disappointed to find that we only had three matches in the 65+ group, but given the weather we were eventually quite grateful that that was all it was!
First up were our old friends Southampton DFA, and in a closely matched contest we came through to win 1-0 thanks to a great Rich Bishop finish past SDFA’s huge and very competent goalkeeper.
Our second match was against old rivals Pompey ITC, and that was settled by a further two Rich Bishop goals, although Pompey were quite upset about the second, which they felt should have been disallowed for either or both of running and too many touches. As it happened, we agreed with them, but the ref was having none of it and the goal stood. Clearly targeted as our danger man, Rich was later floored by a reckless slide tackle from behind that really should have resulted in a red card, but all we got was a direct free-kick instead. In the end it finished 2-0.
Finally we played Southampton Strollers, already secure in the knowledge that we had won the mini-league due to the other teams having mostly drawn against each other. Yet another Rich Bishop goal sent us on our way, although Rich won a prize for another shot he had in the game which cleared both the fence and a rather tall tree that was growing about 30 yards further on. Not content with “row z”, this was “row zz”! Making wholesale changes, including taking off star strikers Rich and Bobby De Ste Croix, the Many Shades maintained our shape, and were rewarded when John Hicks used a bit of magic to set up Stew Russell to steer the ball home inside the post and seal a 2-0 victory.
Taken from the pitch-side fence, Rich points out the tree his shot cleared
Congratulations all round for a very solid performance to your Many Shades of Grey squad (average age 66½ years young) made up of James McIlwaine (in goal), Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, John Morgan, Baz Carter, Stew Russell, Rich Bishop, Bobby De Ste Croix, and John Hicks. All of them put in a solid shift. We didn’t win any trophy as the mini-league champions, because it was a charity day and the whole idea was to have some fun. Instead James McIlwaine won a flat football for the speed gun challenge with a 58mph strike, and Rich Bishop won the shot of the day award for his “row zz” effort!