HARTSHILL Strollers Over 60s have one hand on the Local Derby Winter Shield.

The team beat Beechcroft 3-1 at home on Sunday, February 7 to lead by two wins to one in the four-match tournament.

If they win – or draw – in the final game, they will lift the silverware.

The date of the decider – to be played away - has yet to be arranged. If Beechcroft win, the series will be tied 2-2 but a trophy-winning team will emerge on the day.

However, it has yet to be decided how a result will be achieved; it could be a penalty shoot-out, or with a ‘golden goal’ in extra time.

Hartshill fielded a very strong team for the February 7 match, but started nervously. However, seven minutes in, newly-60 maestro John Cooper opened the scoring with a fine goal.

But it took the visitors less than a minute to equalise with a lucky goal. The ball hit the inside of the post and was re-bounding away when it struck the prostrate body of keeper Kevin Weston and trickled over the line.

In the 23rd minute, man mountain Richard Delahaye restored the Hartshill lead with a trademark thunderbolt, to make it 2-1.

The second half was evenly contested and generally played in a sporting fashion, although there were some robust encounters.

Hartshill needed to score again to be certain of victory and the third – and final – goal came in the 42nd minute from John Cooper, as a belated 60th birthday present to himself.

Bob Haywood, Hartshill Over 60s manager, said: “I was very proud of the lads’ performance. We had a very strong squad and all nine players were used to great advantage.

“But Beechcroft always field good players and are never a push-over, so I was relieved – as well as delighted – to hear the final whistle.

“The outcome of the shield competition is now in our own hands. I am hopeful we can lift it but we can’t afford to be complacent.”

TEAM: Kevin Weston, Bernard Bustin, Barry Geyton, Tony Beckley, John Cooper, John Moore, Richard Delahaye. Subs (both used): Les Evans and Steve Nicholls.