Finally the spring weather arrived, and a glorious sunny day welcomed the 16 teams to the Browns Walking Football Tournament, held in Vilamoura, on May 4th and 5th, 2018.
Two teams from the host Browns Club were joined by five teams from here at EAWF, with a further 9 teams from the UK, including three teams from Portsmouth, two teams from Preston North End, and Am Soccer Club (from Fife), Clitheroe, Thanet Barbarians, and Long Bennington.
The usual format was followed, with a first day of group games, and a second day of knockout matches to give overall Cup winners and Plate, Bowl, and Wood tournaments for those exiting at various stages.
The first group of the day featured Browns 1, Olhao White, Portsmouth Yellows, and AM Soccer Club. A low-scoring set of matches saw Olhao White draw their opening game 0-0 with AM Soccer, followed by a 1-0 victory over Browns 1 and a 1-1 draw with Portsmouth Yellows to top their group from Browns 1, who beat AM Soccer 1-0 to record their only victory, leaving AM Soccer bottom of the group with two draws behind Portsmouth Yellows, who drew all three of their matches.
Tavira White led from the front in Group B, beating their fellow challengers Clitheroe 3-1 after falling a goal behind early on, then dispatching PNE Team One 1-0, and our Sao Bras team 5-0. Clitheroe bounced back from an opening defeat, beating Sao Bras 8-0 and PNE Team One 3-0 to finish second with Sao Bras and PNE Team One ending on one point apiece after their first round 0-0 draw.
Tavira Blue began their Group C matches with a creditable 1-1 draw with a very good Portsmouth Blues team, with Portsmouth winning both their remaining two matches, 3-0 against Browns 2 and 1-0 against Thanet Barbarians, to top the group. Tavira Blue missed out on second place after losing to Thanet 1-0, whilst beating Browns 2 by the only goal. Thanet’s victory over Tavira plus their draw with Browns 2 gave them second place on countback, with Browns 2 finishing bottom with just a point.
Olhao Yellow had a comfortable passage from Group D courtesy of three consecutive 2-0 victories over Portsmouth Blacks, Long Bennington, and PNE Equipe UMA. PNE won their other two matches by the only goal to take second, with Long Bennington beating Portsmouth Blacks 1-0 in the final game of the day to avoid bottom place, leaving Portsmouth Blacks as the only team without a point in the group stages.
All 16 teams entered the last 16 matches first thing on Friday morning, with 1st playing 4th from the group stages and 2nd playing 3rd.
Final 16 matches
Group A winners Olhao White easily overcame Sao Bras 3-1 to book their place in the Cup/Plate Quarter-Finals, where they were joined by the other group winners Tavira White (who beat AM Soccer 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in normal time), Olhao Yellow (who overcame Browns 2 by their fourth straight 2-0 win), and Portsmouth Blues (who beat their fellow club members Portsmouth Blacks 3-0). All the second placed teams from the group stages also advanced to the main Quarter-Finals with PNE Equipe beating an unlucky Tavira Blue on penalties after a 0-0 draw, Browns 1 beating PNE Team One 2-0, Thanet Barbarians beating Long Bennington 1-0, and highly fancied Clitheroe beating Portsmouth Yellows on penalties.
Wood and Bowl Cups
The eight losing teams from the last 16 contested the Wood and Bowl Cups, with Tavira Blue (courtesy of a penalty shoot-out win over AM Soccer), Long Bennington (beating Sao Bras), Portsmouth Yellows (beating Browns 2) and Portsmouth Blacks (recording their first win of the tournament over PNE Team One) making the Bowl semis. AM Soccer Club beat Sao Bras in their Wood Semi-Final to reach the final against Browns 2 (who overcame PNE Team One), with AM Soccer Club taking the trophy on penalties in the final. Sao Bras beat PNE Team One in the consolation match to avoid finishing last in the tournament.
In the Bowl Semi-Finals Tavira Blue were again unlucky to lose on penalties, this time to Long Bennington, with Portsmouth Blacks again having to play their fellow club members, this time losing 1-0 to Portsmouth Yellows. Long Bennington took the Bowl Final and Trophy, beating Portsmouth Yellows 1-0, while Tavira Blue took 11th place overall by beating Portsmouth Blacks in the consolation game.
Cup and Plate Trophies
The four group winners all progressed through the main Quarter-Finals to reach the main Cup Semi-Finals, with Tavira White beating PNE Equipe 4-0, Olhao White beating Thanet 2-0, Olhao Yellows overcoming a plucky Clitheroe by a goal to nil courtesy of a penalty, and Portsmouth Blues beating Browns 1 2-0, thus ensuring that EAWF took three of the four semi-final places.
The Plate Trophy was lifted by Browns 1 who, after beating Clitheroe 1-0 in the semi-final, then proceeded to beat PNE Equipe on penalties to finish in 5th place overall. Clitheroe overcame the other losing semi-finalists, Thanet Barbarians, in the consolation match to take 7th place.
That left the two Cup Semi-Finals, where EAWF teams Tavira White and Olhao White had to play each other. A tight game ended in a 0-0 draw, mainly thanks to Henrik’s outstanding goal-keeping display, and Olhao White caused a bit of an upset (though they would argue otherwise) by taking victory in the resulting penalty shoot-out. The other Semi-Final saw Olhao Yellow take the lead courtesy of Brian Kilcline goal, but the efforts of the two days took its toll in the second half and a tiring and injury-struck team failed to hold on to their lead, losing two goals and thus the match to a very fit Portsmouth Blues team.
That meant Olhao Yellow took on Tavira White for the 3rd/4th place play-off, a game that wasn’t taken too seriously given the circumstances. Olhao Yellow did triumph on penalties in the end to clinch third place, mainly because they were laughing less.
The Cup Final saw Olhao White take a first-half lead against the more fancied Portsmouth Blues thanks to a great goal from Paul Marsh and a sterling effort saw them hold on till the middle of the second half when an unfortunate penalty decision went against them for entering the goal area (which looked distinctly like unavoidable momentum to those watching); Portsmouth nevertheless took advantage and equalised, forcing the game to a penalty decider. Portsmouth Blues greater nerve showed through, and Olhao White unfortunately lost the shoot-out to finish runners-up.
As always, this was a fantastic tournament, organised superbly by Joao Verela at Browns who provided excellent facilities over the 2 days. Thanks must also go to the referees who kept us all on the straight and narrow (for the most part), and the medical staff who were on call for the minor injuries.
Special thanks must also go to all the teams and players who, once again, showed great commitment but also fairness and helped make the tournament such an enjoyable event. Whatever happened on the field of play was quickly forgotten afterwards, and plenty of reminiscing was to be heard over a beer at the end of the day. We hope to see you all again soon.
Finally, a special thank you to the players and officials from EAWF who ensured we managed to enter five teams, three of which finished in the top four – a great result (just a shame we missed out on top spot!):
Sao Bras: Sue (player manager), DJ Mike (assisting wonderfully), and the other players Chris W, Sneaky Pete (who took the Forever Young Award again as the oldest player in the tournament), Stevie J, Stuart Meakin, Chris Small, Shawn Morris, Patrick Murphy, and David Keeble
Tavira Blue: John B (player manager), Charlie Farlie, Peter Dick, Roy of the Rovers, Paul Blades, Simon, and Martin (can I borrow some boots) Rowe
Olhao Yellow: Jon Syed (player manager), Yours Truly, Paolo “di Canio”, Brian “Killer” Kilcline, John “The Cat” Knight, and Nobby
Tavira White: Foxy (disabled and definitely not player manager), Paul S, Karl, Derby Dave, Andy S, Mick C, Gorgeous George, and Eddie
Olhao White: Rugby Andy W (player manager), Henrik, Mark W, Frankie, Steve M, Running John W, and Paul “The Hair” Marsh
Plus, the various WAGS and hangers on who supported us through thick and thin and ran around with bottles of water etc.
(Apologies to anyone I’ve missed; send us a message and I’ll add you in!)
Here’s to October……
PS A full list of the results/tables etc can be downloaded by clicking here