Hartshill Strollers F.C. win through to WBA Final.

well done to all the squad.  

Hartshill Strollers won through to the final of the second walking football tournament organised by The Albion Foundation.

But they failed to lift the trophy without even kicking a ball - in truly bizarre circumstances.

The club’s B squad won their semi-final clash - against our A squad – and thought they had won the competition.

This was because the other semi-final was abandoned . . . but then re-instated!

Hartshill B players lodged a protest against playing Birmingham in the final and, presumably, the city slickers were awarded the cup.

Bob Haywood, who managed both our squads, said: “It was certainly a very unusual and unsatisfactory end to a tournament in which we had done so well.

“I have never encountered a situation like this in 50 years of being involved in football.

“But I am very proud of all the players in both squads who acted in a sporting and dignified fashion throughout.

“This tournament was always going to be my swansong as a team manager – but I never thought I’d go out like this!”

The bewildering on-field antics started when Hartshill’s A and B squads were still playing their semi-final.

They were told that the other semi-final – between Birmingham and Villa – had been abandoned by the referee on the adjacent pitch because of fracas between rival players.

Bob Haywood says he was told that the inter-club semi-final was now the final – and their match ended 0-0.

Hartshill’s B squad went on to win the penalty shoot-out and assumed that the trophy was theirs.

But the organisers then announced that the other semi-final would resume . . . as a penalty shoot-out which Birmingham won – although by then, half the Villa squad had left the venue.

Hartshill players said they had never heard of an abandoned match being ‘un-abandoned’ in the whole history of football – and refused to play on in protest.

Therefore no final was actually play

The club chairman Mark Grazier purchased a trophy for doing so well, as no trophy was given at the tournament in the end.   

The tournament took place at the Albion Academy Dome in West Bromwich – just across the road from The Hawthorns – on Wednesday, November 7.

It was the second tournament arranged by The Albion Foundation – the community arm of West Bromwich Albion.

The first was held in June and was won by Hartshill Strollers.

This time, the standard of play was much higher. As well as us, Birmingham and Villa, the other teams were WBA and Weston-Super-Mare.

Hartshill A lost their opening match against Villa 0-1; but beat Weston 2-0 (goals by Ivan White and Phil Sault); drew 0-0 with Birmingham; and thumped Hartshill B 3-0 (Dave Shaw scoring twice and Ian Trevor once); and WBA 2-0 (Reg Walker netting twice, including one penalty).

Meanwhile – despite their later setback by our A squad - our B squad got off to a flying start with a 1-0 win against WBA (with a rare goal from defender Dave Walker); losing 1-3 to Villa (B squad scorer: Tony Drew); beating WBA 1-0 (Dave Pickett); and going down 0-1 to Birmingham.

Overall, a great two-squad performance.

Hartshill A squad: Pete Checketts, Ivan White, Dave Shaw, Clive Stokes, Ian Trevor, Reg Walker, Joe Lowes, Phil Sault (all used).

B squad: Bernard Bustin, Dave Walker, Dave Pickett, Tony Drew, Stewart Dudwell, Tracy Dudwell, Bob Skingle (all used).