Wigan Over 60’s Tournament April 2018
The Wigan Over 60’s Tournament April 2018 was the first venture for Manchester Corinthians in tournament walking football. Despite only having played together a few times in friendly matches, hopes were high that we could do well in this event.
With a few important players missing, we still had a strong enough squad capable of achieving it’s first trophy win. With nine teams involved and some very strong opposition amongst them, it wouldn’t be an easy day with eight nine minute games with just one ten minute break.
The first fixture was against Wigan Blues, a team unknown to us. We started with some fast paced, accurate passing and were soon one goal up. Three more were added, and to score four goals in nine minutes gave us some optimism that we were going to progress in this tournament. Dave Wilde, Wai Hon Tsang, Paul O’Neil and Kevin Williams got the goals.
Next up were Blackburn Rovers, a very strong team who we recently met in a friendly at Heywood. The Rovers took the lead and were looking a good bet for the points but a terrific long range shot from Dave Wilde equalled the score. We gradually took control and Wai Hon Tsang added another to give us another three points.
The third fixture pitted us against Crosby, another team new to us. Crosby played some excellent football and looked a decent side, although never really threatening Ron Blakeley in goal. Despite a good few attempts to beat their keeper, we just couldn’t find the net and it finished in a disappointing 0-0 draw.
Fourth on the fixture list was Northgate, a team from Chester who some of us had played against before in the Cheshire Walking Football League. This is one game we should have won comfortably but once again just couldn’t score. It finished 0-0 and we felt we had dropped unnecessary points in this game.
By this stage we were beginning to show some tiredness, as were other teams. Wigan Yellows were the next opponents and another draw ensued, with Dave Wilde adding another great long range shot to make the scoreline 1-1. Three draws on the trot were looking to have damaged our hopes of progressing in this Wigan Over 60’s Tournament April 2018 tournament.
The next fixture added to our woes with some very biased refereeing decisions. We were up against Wigan Whites, who later won the tournament, the strongest of the three Wigan teams and one of their members was the referee. His decisions were inconsistent and strongly favoured the Wigan side. We went down 2-0 to further add to our doubts of progressing.
Sheffield, the other eventual finalists were our next opponents, another strong physical side. We were certainly not outplayed in this one and looked the team more likely to score. Their keeper denied us a goal with many excellent saves and as often happens in football they grabbed a late goal to give them a 1-0 win.
The final opponents were Preston, a team from the Greater Manchester Walking Football Over 60’s League. Preston at this stage were unbeaten but lost that record thanks to a well taken goal from Paul O’Neil who slotted the ball into the corner of the net to give us a much needed 1-0 victory. Dave Wilde, who had played terrifically in defence all day, scored three goals and had given his all, asked to be subbed as he had nothing left in the tank. Fortunately this didn’t make any difference to the final result.
The question was had we made the semi finals? It had been a hard day, playing seventy two minutes of football with hardly a break. Unfortunately we had missed out by one point and those three draws came back to haunt us. To add to our misery two of the semi finalists were teams we had beaten in the round robin format. It was a disappointed squad who trooped back to the dressing rooms, feeling we had not got the rewards our football deserved.
On a negative note, our downfall today was trying to walk the ball into the net instead of shooting when we had the chance. Plus holding on to the ball up front when swift passing would have been more beneficial and giving us better scoring opportunities. With three goals from a defensive position, Dave Wilde showed how shooting when the chance occurred, gained it’s rewards.
Thanks to the Manchester Corinthians lads who turned out today, John Bee, Ron Blakeley, Walter Lane, Alan Morton, Paul O’Neil, Wai Hon Tsang, Dave Wilde and Kevin Williams. A special thanks to Walt, one of our over 65’s squad, who turned out at short notice and didn’t get much playing time. He accepted the need to play our more experienced players at this level to try to progress in this Wigan Over 60’s Tournament April 2018 tournament.
A great attitude, which I am sure all the players appreciate, and why it’s such a pleasure to be involved with a great bunch of lads who form these two new teams.
As we play together more often, hopefully we can improve and start to win these tournaments and put some trophies in the cabinet. It’s the Fleetwood tournament next, so let’s see if we can do better in that one.