OUR Over 65s won through to the semi-finals of their first competitive tournament on Friday, November 10.

They were among eight clubs which entered the Greater Manchester Walking Football Over 65s Cup at the Heywood Sports Village.

The seniors finished top of their group stage, beating Rochdale Striders 1-0 (a thunderbolt goal by Richard Delahaye) and drawing 0-0 with Tameside Strollers and Vintage Celtic.

Hartshill were drawn against Rochdale AFC Strollers in the semi-final and lost 0-1.

The victors went on to lift the cup by beating Chadderton FC on penalties, as the score stood at 0-0 at full time.

Our defeat in the semi was a bitter pill for goalkeeper Dave Seddon particularly because of his glory days with Rochdale AFC.

Before kick off, he indicated that he would be mildly unhappy to go out of the competition to these cuddly northern gentlemen . . . or words to that effect!

But – in a rare lapse of concentration – Hartshill allowed a Rochdale FC player to slip loose in mid-field and he strode on to slot home for what turned out to be the winning goal.

Pushing upfield, defender Les Evans had a good chance to equalise just before the final whistle but was unlucky with his shot.

Bob Haywood, Over 65s manager, said: “All of the squad played extremely well in all four matches.

“We deserved to do better.

“The referees were very strict on the ‘no running’ rule and we had two ‘goals’ disallowed for running. In many other tournaments, the ‘goals’ might well have stood.

“But it is a cautionary tale: we must all remember it is walking football – or we could well pay dearly for over-stepping the mark in some competitions.

“It was a long and tiring journey to Rochdale – a 200-mile round trip, taking a total of five hours – and the M6 and the motorways around Manchester were rammed, as could be expected on a Friday.

“The weather was also typically Mancunian – a few rays of sun but lots of rain.

“This was the first tournament for our Over 65s squad which has its problems because only 10 members of the club are 65+.

“We were able to take a squad of only seven for a 6-a-side tournament. I would have liked the full allowance of nine.

“We were fortunate that new member Bob Skingle was able to join the squad so soon after joining the club.

“Bob was thrown in at the deep end but had a great tournament and will be a big asset to the Over 65s.

“I would like to thank the organisers of the tournament, which was very well run.”

SQUAD: Dave Seddon, Les Evans, Terry Smith, Bob Skingle, Richard Delahaye, Mick Burdis, Bob Haywood. (All used)

Report by Bob Haywood

See an online video of the 1st six minutes of one of the games