Cirencester Arena, Kingshill Lane, Cirencester GL7 1HS.

30th September 2018



Hartshill’s Over 65s suffered the bitter taste of defeat at the cruellest stage . . . in the WFA National Cup finals.

The super-veterans finished fifth in the competition at the Cirencester Arena in Gloucestershire on Sunday, September 30.

They were hoping to match the remarkable achievement of the Over 60s in lifting the same trophy at the same venue in November 2016.

But it was not to be.

The finals are organised in a round robin with the six regional champions playing each other for the chance to reach a head-to-head final.

It’s nail-biting format as all the matches are just 12 minutes straight . . . so little room for error.

Hartshill got off to the very best of starts with a 1-0 win over Norwich Soccer Seniors through a Joe Lowes goal in the 5th minute.

Strollers then played out goal-less draws with Worthing Seniors and Newcastle Blue Flames. At that stage, it was a highly-promising springboard for glory.

But we lost 0-1 to Clevedon in the fourth game, having missed a penalty which could have ensured a draw; and were also defeated 0-1 by Manchester Corinthians in the final game.

In the final table, Corinthians had notched up 9 points, Clevedon 7, Blue Flames 6, Hartshill and Worthing both 5 and Norwich 3.

The four lower-placed clubs then played each other to decide 3rd/4th and 5th/6th places.

Hartshill were matched with Norwich once more and beat them for a second time – but only after penalties when the score at the final whistle was 0-0.

The shoot-out was tense with Strollers nudging in front because of two Norwich misses, but then having an attack of the jitters and also failing to score themselves.

Dave Seddon who played magnificently throughout the finals – and indeed the whole competition – stepped up to show the outfield players how to slot home spot kicks as well as save them.

He won the tie for us in sudden death so Hartshill finished 5th – avoiding the wooden spoon.

In the final itself, Clevedon pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over Corinthians who had been tipped as favourites to lift the trophy.

Bob Haywood, Over 65s team manager, said: “The finals were a disappointing end to a fantastic campaign.

“There were no outstanding teams and we certainly weren’t outplayed in any of the games. It’s just that the outcome of these round robins is decided on such fine margins.

“I am extremely proud of all the players who played in the finals, and the earlier rounds.

“The fact remains that we are still the regional champions and the 5th best Over 65s walking football team in the country. No small achievements.”

FINALS SQUAD: Dave Seddon, Bernard Bustin, Martin Willetts, Joe Lowes, Graham Crew, Richard Delahaye, Bob Skingle, Dave Walker, Bob Haywood (all used).