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One Minute Every Hour*

Updated: Jan 10

A very happy New Year to all Let 2024 be the year to make all your dreams come true; to deliver on the promises you might regret ever having made, for getting fit and staying healthy and ignoring those Achilles, Knee and Quad aches and pains

In the grand scheme of things a brief period of time spent enjoying the game will repay that sacrifice over and over again

The New Year's first session was a testing night at the Sutton SoccerDome The indoor lovies gathered secure in the knowledge they'd be warm, safe and sound Whilst their outdoor counterparts wondered just how many of them would brave the miserable conditions prevailing on the AstroTurf tundra As is often the case the final number playing was greater than that predicted by our illustrious indoor Prefect There was standing water in parts of the sand-based MUGA pitches but resourceful as ever 18 heroes were warmed and then honed into two formidable teams

The indoor session was the usual five a side soft shoe shuffle featuring the following selections;

Yellow - Grav, Kenny, Citeh Geoff, Les and Thatto Dave

Blue - Enoch, Tom Derby, Phil the Power, Joe the Ghost and Lord Rainford

Yellow took early control and remained ahead at the half time interval Their 6-1 advantage courtesy of a pair of braces by Kenny and Grav (handy for securing ill-fitting trousers too) plus Thatto's finest and Treasurer Meldrew Joe ghosted Blue's solitary reply

The 6-1 score line precipitated a grand shuffle with the painless transition of Wickie and Enoch to Yellow in exchange for Kenny and Thatto Dave in the opposite direction

These switches produced a much closer second period with both teams restricted to just two goals apiece; Grav and Meldrew for Yellow whilst Joe the Ghost and new strike partner Kenny hit back for Blue The final result was a hollow 8-3 victory for Yellow the foundations laid in the destructive first stanza

The final selection headache of the night was to pit two matching sides for the outside match up We had the year's first debutant in Michael Poole (complete with his own Poole Town shirt geddit?)

The eventual composition featured;

Green - Wickie, Andy Man, Gonzalo, Keith (welcome return after extended absence), Chopper, Eamon, Martin Mc, Jason and Darron

Red - Kiddo, Jim Murph, Mark Dav, Disco Deggs (using his own Costa Rica shirt), Tom Stretch, Haggis, Nigel and Chris 10P

Despite the conditions, wet, wet and er wet, there followed an excellent hour's entertainment The temptation to rush passes due to the lack of space would also explain the ever present frantic pace A constant pressure was applied by both sides No time to hold up play to pick a pass Jason hit the post, with Eamon hitting the other post from the rebound before the ball finally went wide That frenzied action summed up the game so far

After 5 minutes Gonzalo picked out a great ball to set up Eamon to fire Green ahead Gonzalo's appearance was a surprise given his November injury In the shocking conditions he played a steady sensible game, Darron doubled the Green lead 2-0 with just 7 minutes gone

Haggis produced some great moments playing wide as rain returned to add to the general discomfort Mark Dav showed some neat touches but couldn't find the finish to match Green knocked the ball around with real purpose Jason poked home but was judged to have invaded the goal area in his haste A penalty brought Red back in contention with Deggs scoring in the bottom corner 2-1 to Green

Gonzalo produced a great finish to restore the advantage 3-1 as half time approached Green slightly more clinical in their finishing Keith set up Gonzalo who was narrowly wide in the last action of the first half

The second period started with Red seeking the goals to level the game Deggs was close before play settled once more Chris 10P was able to finish following some good work by Haggis 3-2 Wickie had a good night at the heart of the Green rearguard but Deggs equalised soon after crashing home as the ball ricocheted around in the frenzy Haggis was close to putting Red ahead but Green survived The rain intervened again making defending a nightmare Red were penned in their own area and Darron was on hand to lash in a poor clearance to restore the lead 4-3 to Green Then Keith (back playing after an extended break due to work commitments) turned in a great chance to stretch the advantage to 5-3

Gonzalo enjoyed his return to the action with another goal 6-3 Green now calmly on top having resumed the organisational shape Red pulled a goal back when Tom Stretch hit a rising shot that found the net off Wickie's shoulder 7-4 The chat all round the park was terrific, as hard as conditions were, it was clear the fun had overcome the weather Gonzalo claimed his third before Chris 10P hit back from the penalty spot 8-5 With three minutes left, play was stretched from end to end Great entertainment for the frozen chips (or is that chaps?) A late flurry of corners threatened the score line Time elapsed with Green victorious 8-5

A difficult night in weather terms but great night for Walking Football

And so to the Lord Mayor's Show SHWFC were invited to put on a demonstration session during the half time interval of the Cheshire League game between St Helens Town and Moore United The logistics of moving posts and marking out the playing area to provide adequate time to demonstrate the finer points of our game were considerable St Helens Town is these days owned by the Clone Roses who are as enthusiastic and committed as any Club owners Their assistance and determination to put on a memorable experience for the Club's fans is fantastic to see

We selected 2 squads of 9 players to play in as close a manner as possible to a "real game"

The teams were;

Yellow - Tony Snakehips Byrne 3.5, Chris 10P Prout, Eamon O'Donnell, Joe the Ghost Hardman, Derek Deggs Taylor, Kirsty Stockton, Chris Kelsall, Jim Murphy and Andy Enoch Powell

Blue - Harry the Hatchet Williams, Brian Prendergast, Tom Derbyshire, Tom Stretch Parr, Sharon Hand, Harrison Haggis Lovett, Andy Man Houghton, Jason Cairns and Citeh Geoff Painter

Play got underway with a soundtrack of alternative music, half time entertainment blasting out In addition to our showcasing the joys of Walking Football, there was a kids penalty shoot out in one of the full pitch goalmouths Snakehips delayed his arrival to take part in the kids competition Having previously troubled security at Saints RL Totally Wicked Stadium believing that they were hosting our demonstration his latest faux pas was small beer

The game splendidly refereed by the modestly attired Lord Rainford was a great spectacle The ball was shifted around the park by all players Swift accurate passing and great movement presented a fantastic spectacle The only goal of the game came on half time with Chris Kelsall lashing home a great drive from some distance The planned substitutions were quickly enacted with only Andy Enoch Powell unmoved by the changes He did leave the pitch when the message was repeated, only then was the fact that Andy had taken his hearing aids out for the game became obvious The second period was brought to an abrupt conclusion with the reappearance of St Helens Town (trailing by a goal, perhaps their manager had urged more urgency and that the players had taken his message quite literally)

So the demonstration ended with a great roar of approval from the on-watching 160+ spectators A great effort played in an impeccable style and enthusiasm by all involved As the Town v Moore match ended SHWFC were thanked and invited to mount a further session, perhaps prior to another Town fixture It was an experiment to see whether we could mount a session in a really tight timeframe but as ever our Members rose to the task

A great adventure, new friendships forged Oh and lest we forget some great Walking afoot all too

One Minute Every Hour* - John Miles (great Northern Soul tune from the least likely soul man His best known effort Music a 1976 Top 3 hit, later he toured as lead guitarist for Tina Turner) As always with our song/themes Give it a listen!

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