SUPER-VETERANS THROUGH TO REGINAL WFA FINAL
Hartshill Strollers Over 65 team has won through to the regional final of the WFA National Cup 2018.
They beat the club’s old friends Birmingham WFC 3-1 in Round Two of the competition at Solihull on Tuesday, June 26.
It was a terrific all-round performance by the super-veterans in blistering mid-afternoon sun.
The victory means that Hartshill has two age-category teams in the regional finals of the sport’s most prestigious trophy.
This is because the Over 60s won their Round Two clash – also against Birmingham - nine days earlier.
As always, the hosts fielded a very strong outfit, including one player who is in the England 60+ squad.
But it was the visitors who took the lead – in the 8th minute – with a thunderbolt goal from Richard Delahaye who was causing the Birmingham defence all kinds of headaches.
Amazingly – within 60 seconds – Hartshill went two-up with a neatly-taken goal by Graham Crew.
Play settled down for the remainder of the first half, with chances at both end, but the score remained 2-0 at the break.
Within a minute of the re-start, Birmingham pulled one back and Hartshill seemed to lose their shape and come under a lot of pressure.
But the defence and midfield remained heroically strong and determined, with goalkeeper Dave Seddon in his usual tip-top form and Bernard Bustin marshalling the defence expertly.
Then, Richard Delahaye returned to the field after a tactical substitution because he risked being sin-binned . . . and he put the fixture beyond Birmingham’s reach with another fantastic goal in the 30th minute.
The set-back seemed to knock the stuffing out of Birmingham and they failed to mount any serious attacks on goal in the last 10 minutes.
Bob Haywood, Hartshill’s Over 65s manager, said: “It was simply a wonderful victory.
“Every single player was magnificent and toiled away as the temperatures soared towards 30 degrees C.
“It was one of the best Hartshill performances – in any age category – I have seen in nearly four years with the club.
“I don’t think I have ever seen Richard in such devastating form; he was just unplayable.
“It is a fantastic achievement for the club to have both the 60+ and the 65+ teams in the regional finals. There is more to come!”
SQUAD: Dave Seddon, Martin Willetts, Bernard Bustin, Dave Pickett, Graham Crew, Richard Delahaye, Terry Smith, Joe Lowes (all used).