Walking Football's inaugural Christmas cup
Report from Paul Berg – Tayport FC Walking Football Co-ordinator.
On a dry, but cold afternoon, we made the journey to Raith Rover’s Starks Park, to compete along with 15 other sides, for the Raith Rovers Christmas Cup.
Our first game was against Dunfermline, and after only 5 minutes we lost our captain, Andy Blackburn, with a hamstring injury. He had had physiotherapy treatment earlier in the week from club physio, Andy Bell, and passed a fitness test on Friday, but didn’t feel right in the warm up, and had to come off.
Nevertheless, with one of our subs on, we re-jigged and went on to win 6-0. The highlight of the game being Colin Hardie scoring 5 goals!
Our next group opponents were the League winners, Dundee St. James who had previously beaten us in the league. With the game scoreless, we lost another player with a wrist injury after being hit hard by the ball. Although our player was down injured and despite our players going over to the injured player, the referee played on and St. James scored. The referee apologised, stating he didn’t see him, but the goal stood. After another substitution we lost our rhythm and conceded again to lose 2-0 but the score line flattered our opponents.
Our final group game was against Hearts, a very experienced side who won the South East League. They drew with St. James 2-2, so we knew it would be a tough ask, but we wanted to finish runners up in our group. Neither side had scored when Hearts were awarded a penalty, but the penalty taker shot wide! A few minutes later, still 0-0, Hearts were awarded another penalty. This time a different player took the kick but hit the post! These misses spurred us on and we outplayed our opponents to win 3-0, a great result.
That result put us in the playoffs for places 5-8, where our opponents were our friends from Fife Wanderers. Despite going a goal down early on, we came back to win 3-1 and get us into the playoff final for 5th and 6th place against Linlithgow Rose. Against the run of play we went a goal down and only the heroics of their goalkeeper stopped us from scoring, but with seconds remaining Colin scored with a fantastic shot, and it finished 1-1. That created a sudden death penalty shootout. Unfortunately, our first kick was saved, they scored theirs and we finished 6th. Cup winners were Stirling’s Braehead.
We had a great afternoon, just losing one game in open play. Tayport: – Jim McIlreavy, Alan Gray, Fergus Mann, Bert Valentine, Bill Lafferty, Paul Robinson, Colin Hardie.
To finish 6th out of 16 clubs in our first cup competition just over 6 months since we played our first competitive game, shows just how much we have progressed.
We are looking to increase our squad size, so anyone interested can get more details by emailing Paul at email@example.com