top of page

In a Broken Dream*

So it’s over for another year SHWFC’s hopes of claiming further progress in this year’s WFA National Cup ended with some harsh lessons delivered at Lilleshall National Sports Centre on Sunday This year we entered 3 age group teams Our Over 50s bowed out early, our Over 60s almost reached a regional final narrowly beaten by Brunswick Old Boys No pressure then on our Over 65s who won their North West (West) Regional final to progress to the National last eight

Our Cup draw pitted The Old Saints (TOS) against previous winners and perennial achievers Leggy Mambos from Barnsley, plus Hemel Hempstead and Stamford from Lincolnshire

Our match day squad was; Eamon O’Donnell, Geoff Painter, Peter Fitzpatrick Captain, Tom Parr, Alan Maldon, Colin Williams, Les Brack, John Hawkins and Tom Derbyshire First up was a meeting with Leggy Mambos A David v Goliath match up to test our ‘boys’ on the National stage After just 16 seconds Mambos took the lead with a smartly finished shot that found the corner of the net Lesser teams might have folded at this point but Saints fought back and for much of the first half posed a real chance of drawing level Playing with a great deal of patience and skill Saints passed the ball about with purpose Parr was unlucky not to find the net whilst Saints carved their opponents apart with good inter passing El Presidente was unfortunate that we couldn’t take advantage of some of his penetrative passes Molly Maldon and the Late Colin Williams toiled away but both looked a little below their best after recent injuries Citeh Geoff Painter was solid all day and was probably our stand out player of the whole event Keeper Eamon O’Donnell produced a couple of top notch saves but after the early set back had another solid day’s work Les and Lord Rainford were introduced to try to break the pattern but Mambos were extremely clever in and out of possession Their greater experience and game management ensured Saints were kept out for the game and play ended with a 1-0 defeat in our opening game

In the build up to the day The Old Saints had of course been secreted away in a training camp under the watchful eye of Coach Davies There’d been a media blackout and the sides commercial activity had been reduced to a mere 18 hours a day “Players had responsibilities to the Group, so the ban on their nocturnal activity was just a way to ensure they were all lean, mean fighting machines come match day” he might have said or possibly not After the initial set back TOS next entered the fray with a tussle with Hemel Hempstead, another well seasoned Cup campaigning outfit Saints started with real purpose with a fine team move allowing Parr to find the other Tom (Derbyshire) who fired into the bottom left hand corner Saints ahead with their first ever National Finals Day goal For the first quarter of the game Saints looked good value for their lead playing with great skill and application but Hemel remained calm and disciplined however and passed their way into the ascendancy at least in possessional terms The game then swung firmly in Hemel’s favour with a well-worked equaliser and moments later a controversial goal that evoked memories of that 1966 World Cup Final goal A shot struck with real venom crashed onto the cross bar and fell close to the goal line O’Donnell recovered to scoop the ball to safety However the referee decided he was satisfied the ball had fully crossed the line and waved away Saints appeals

In the cold light of day the decision made no sense but in the heat of battle Saints grudgingly accepted the Referee’s decision 2-1 and from a winning position Saints were suddenly chasing the game A wayward clearance from Eamon was punished with another goal, there was a hint of the attacker being in the goal area at the point of scoring but again protests were waved away 3-1 and game over Saints did mount a period of sustained pressure in the second half of the game but were wasteful and too inaccurate Hemel had survived a scare, been gifted 2 disputed goals but shown enough composure to recover from being a goal behind to see out a deserved victory And so TOS regrouped as Coach experimented with his line up for the final group game Stamford had acquitted themselves very well in their opening games But Saints wanted to sign off with a better result that frankly their play merited In the end some naive and ineffectual play ensured that final chance was also spurned The Stamford keeper played a huge part in securing victory with some good saves and some excellent clearances The eventual 2-0 win was secured with both goals the result of long raking clearances that exposed the Saints back line El Presidente couldn’t deal with the pace of delivery into his opponent and endured a torrid period of pressure as a result Final game and Saints players lack of goals and big game experience all too telling Our shape had long since gone and with it our chances A hastily arranged ‘friendly’ with big money Club Kingsmaid went the way of the day’s other matches Saints started well, Tom Parr crashed a couple of efforts narrowly wide and one against a post but Kingsmaid out-thought our plucky boys to secure a win and a little redemption from their day Kingsmaid had entered Finals Day as one of the favourites for the competition They played smart football retaining possession and stretching Saints with clever passing and movement It was a game too far on a disappointing day

The Over 65s National Cup was eventually retained by Eastleigh who beat Hemel Hempstead on penalties Interestingly having played against 3 teams and watched all of the sides Eastleigh were winners thanks to their brilliant teamwork They’d no super stars especially but all played well within a team framework Hemel did well to reach the final Personally I most enjoyed playing against Leggy Mambos and was surprised they failed to contest the final They were to me the best outfit I saw all day though Matlock were impressive too

The secret to winning? Teamwork, composure, confidence with and without the ball, team structure and communication All of the teams we saw were battle hardened by regularly playing in leagues where these requisite ingredients can be perfected

Looking ahead I predict Saints will improve We’ve learned each year how to approach this competition and progress We’ve a production line of 64 year olds waiting to unleash for next year Some of our older players will drop out of contention The Late Colin Williams announced after the tournament that he won’t be continuing He has suffered a six month spell with a damaged calf injury and has decided against carrying on Other players endured long term injury through this year’s campaign and may follow Colin’s lead

The team would like to express its sincere thanks to all members and their families who have followed the team through this year’s campaign The messages of support from other Clubs was much appreciated But above all your encouragement has been a huge lift Rest assured SHWFC will bounce back

A reminder to all players that this Friday is our AGM and we plan to also celebrate our Club achievements that same night at The Wicket Ruskin Drive 7pm We urge all members to come along and help us to mark this past year and shape the years ahead

In a Broken Dream* - Python Lee Jackson (featuring Rod Stewart)

205 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page