Wordsley Park Tournament September 26th 2015
HARTSHILL Strollers crashed out of the Wordsley Park tournament on Saturday, September 26.
The outcome was as unexpected as it was disappointing because neither of our two teams progressed beyond the group stage.
It seemed a good bet that either, or both, would make it at least to the semi-finals – or perhaps go all the way.
While old foes Beechcroft, who also fielded two teams in the council-run tournament, the remaining four groups were make-shift affairs, at least one of them playing walking football for the first time.
Strollers 1 drew 0-0 with Leasowes in their opening game; lost 0-1 to Beechcroft 2; and only found their form in the dead rubber against Mary Stevens Park/Get Set To Go, winning 4-0.
Gary Davis and John Cooper each netted twice.
Strollers 2 started off in winning form by beating The A Team 1-0 (Andy Hewitt scoring); but they lost 1-2 to Dudley Councillors (Hitman Hewitt netting again); and 0-4 to Beechcroft 1.
In the semi-finals, Beechcroft 2 beat Dudley Councillors 3-0; while Leasowes put out Beechcroft 1 by 1-0.
In a tight final, Beechcroft 2 overcame Leasowes 1-0 to lift the trophy, presented by the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Steve Waltho.
The Mayor praised the organisers, teams, and spectators and paid tribute to Hartshill Strollers, which played a big role in organising the tournament, expected to be the first of many to be staged in parks across the borough.
He said Strollers were ‘flying the Dudley flag’ for walking football, both inside and outside Dudley.
Assistant manager Bob Haywood said: “The tournament was very well organised and played in a good sporting spirit.
“But the outcome – and the performances – were crushingly disappointing.
“We can play much better than this, but all the training to play a passing game went out of the window.
“The tournament has been another wake-up call for us, as was the case at Stamford.
“It has also taught us that we can’t field two teams if we have only one specialist goalkeeper. Playing with stand-in outfield players is just inviting a defeat.”
Hartshill Strollers came away from the tournament with one trophy, however.
Injured goalie Derek Hughes was presented by the tournament organisers with a special medal for sportingly refereeing many of the games.
Well done, Derek!