The inaugural Hastings United Walking Football tournament was won by Brighton Dolphins.
More than 160 ageing footballers turned out to play 37 games of our beautiful game on the hallowed turf at Pilot Field and, such was the standard, that only 20 goals were scored in open play.
The home team highlight was our Front Side beating The Atha three-nothing in the biggest win of the evening putting a few Hastings Rejects firmly in their place.
But it was our unfancied third side – The Eagles – who did us proudest of all making it to the Plate semi finals only to be beaten one-nil by Tonbridge. Local player of the night was Big Andy who was immense in defence all evening. Oh My Cod! – returning like the Prodigal Son from his sojourn at Bexhill – notched up a winning goal in the Plate knockout competition.
Goal of the tournament was taken by El Jay with a curler into the top corner – just like he does every week in training. Save of the tourney came from the Cat with a fabulous low-level stop to his left just two minutes into the Hornets’ opener.
But there were goals too for Chairman Phil who won the Hs’ first match and Posh Andy, the second. Was it a 30 yarder? Was it 10 yards? Who cares. It was a memorable moment for Posh in front of his wife Lucy who packed out the Main Stand. Blakey, Peruvian Mick and Cookie also got on the scoresheet for the Front Side.
So many knock out round matches were drawn and went to extra time and penalties that we over ran our allotted time at United’s ground and they began turning off the floodlights.
But the lack of illumination couldn’t detract from the two final ties.
In the Plate, Ringmer B beat Tonbridge to win their cup and in the main event it couldn’t have been closer between Brighton and Battle.
It went to penalties and the seasiders won 4-3 after a one-all draw on the pitch.
The Dolphins were worthy winners, buoyed up by having their Goalie Peter Bow on loan from Worthing and their talented goggle-wearing playmaker Mark Nucleaous (nobody can spell it) getting the Golden Boot with four in the tournament.
Battle came away with a runners-up trophy and the refs awarded them the Fair Play trophy for the least fouls committed.
Mark and his team of refs, of course, drew a lot of lightning but every decision was taken in good spirit whether it was good, bad or indifferent. They should be applauded for their commitment.
On the admin front, the long-suffering Carole played a blinder in the office, collating results and her runners Christina and her cousin Reese did well up and down the stairs to the man on the mic, Adrian Samuels, who kept the playing hordes and spectators informed all evening.
We really pulled this off, lads, and Chairs is already planning next year’s tournament. Well done to all involved.