AFC Rushden & Diamonds Walking Football Brackley 2016
Sunday 8th May, the hottest day of the year so far, saw the walking footballers of AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Brackley for this year’s walking football tournament hosted at St James Park where they joined 11 other teams from across the region.
The first game of the campaign saw R&D drawn against last year’s beaten finalists Cherwell, who were widely tipped as one of the leading contenders to secure a top place in this year’s tournament. Diamonds were no strangers to Cherwell who had dismissed them 4-0 in last year’s quarter-finals. The game got off to a lively start with some great passing football by R&D who opened their account early in the first half when Alan latched on to a loose Cherwell back pass and swept the ball past the Cherwell keeper into the net. Cherwell threw everything at Diamonds but superb goal keeping by Jamie, and stalwart defending orchestrated by Dick thwarted the opposition’s onslaught. A second goal seemed on the cards for R&D when the ball again broke for Alan who was unlucky to see his shot ricochet off the opposition’s crossbar. Despite the ferocious heat the lads dug deep to see out the game as 1 – 0 victors.
Our second game saw a closely fought battle with Aylesbury ‘B’. The two sides had also met one another in the group stages of the 2015 tournament. On that occasion Rushden & Diamonds had run out comfortable 4-0 winners so this was an opportunity for the ‘Ducks’ to redress the balance. The game got off to a lively start but it was Diamonds who soon found themselves ahead 2- 0 thanks to strikes from Mark. It seemed an unassailable lead but lack of composure in the R&D ranks during the second period gifted the opponent’s two goals in quick succession to level the score. With just minutes left on the clock a long ball punted up field by Jamie found Alan out on the right who fired the ball towards the opposition’s goal only to see it deflected out of play. From the resulting ‘Kick in’ Alan sent a perfectly weighted high ball drifting in to the area which found Mark at the far post who drilled it into the net to secure his hat trick, and a much deserved 3 – 2 win which left R&D Topping their group.
The quarter-finals saw R&D WF matched against Towcester ‘B’. In 2015 we had reached the same stage in the competition and after the team’s performances in their group stage games hopes were high that we could progress still further but these were soon dispelled as highly organised Towcester took the game to R&D from the start, maintaining possession and pressure which saw them ease into a three goal lead. Our walking footballers never gave up but it was always going to be an uphill struggle to make up the deficit however their persistence was rewarded with a consolation goal being snatched by Duncan in the dying seconds of the game to salvage our pride. Despite going out of the tournament 3 – 1 our results this year, and the performance of all the players were very encouraging and testament to the hard work put in by them and all involved in the walking football scene at the club. To those who made the journey to Brackley to support our walking footballer we extend a big ‘Thank You’.
The AFC Rushden and Diamonds squad consisted of;
Richard Chaplin (Cpt), Mike Chapman, Jamie Coker, Carl Ledger, Peter Robinson, Duncan Johnson, Alan Wookey, and Mark Riches.
DIAMONDS IN THE SKY
March 2016 saw Wellingborough Redwell WFC take to the air as they jetted off to Spain to participate in the Keith Wightman Memorial Trophy held on the Costa Brava. The event was organized by the ex-pat walking football community in the Torrevieja area as a tribute to Keith who played for the Playa Flamenca club and sadly passed away in 2015. Included in Redwells squad were AFC R&D WF regulars Peter Robertson, Dick Chaplin, and Alan Wookey.
Following 12 fiercely contested 12-minute each way group matches, the semi-finals saw Moraira go down 2-0 to Daya Vieja ‘A’ and Playa Flamenca ‘A’ brushing Playa Flamenca ‘B’ aside with an easy 7-0 victory. This resulted in a tight final between two well drilled teams, both of which had obviously put plenty of training in prior to the contest. Playa Flamenca ‘A’ eventually coming out 2-0 winners to become the first holders of the trophy.
Despite not progressing beyond the group stages Wellingborough Redwell WFC thoroughly enjoyed the competition, the good weather and the hospitality extended to them and are set to return in 2017.
Wellingborough Redwell WFC meet on Wednesdays between 12.30 and 1.30pm at the Redwell Leisure centre, Barnwell Road, Wellingborough NN8 5LP. The sessions, which cost £2.00p per player are aimed at the over 50. Games are played indoors on a wooden surface and appropriate footwear and clothing are required. They are a friendly bunch and taking part couldn’t be easier – just turn up and play.