Friday July 1st 2022 saw East Algarve Walking Football (EAWF) take the 2-hour trip east across the border to Seville to play a mini-tournament with our friends from Real Betis.
In sweltering heat the matches kicked off at 8 pm on two pitches under two different sets of rules. On the smaller pitch 1 we played to European rules (no goalkeepers, 1-metre square goals and a ball height restriction of 1 m; 5-a-side) and on pitch 2 we played our usual Algarvean rules (ball height restriction of 2 m, normal goals and goalkeepers; 6-a-side). The 3-touch rule was applied on both pitches.
EAWF fielded two teams representing Tavira and Olhão; Real Betis likewise provided two teams.
The first set of fixtures saw EAWF Olhão take on Real Betis B on the small pitch. We struggled in the first few minutes to get used to the new rules and conceded the first goal. However, an equaliser from Mark Cruddace and a late goal from Martin Gershon gave EAWF Olhão their first victory. On pitch 2, EAWF Tavira narrowly lost 1-0 to Real Betis A, with our own Jesus Ruiz on target for his home team Real Betis.
The EAWF teams swapped pitches for round 2, with EAWF Olhão taking on Real Betis A on pitch 2. A close game was settled by a rare goal from yours truly to give EAWF Olhão the win. On pitch 1 EAWF Tavira continued their poor start losing 2-0 to Real Betis B.
The third fixture featured EAWF Olhão versus EAWF Tavira on pitch 2. As usual when our two teams meet there was a bit of a stalemate with the result being the predictable 0-0 draw.
EAWF Olhão then faced Real Betis B on pitch 2, with Andy Smith coming out of goal to score two goals late on to give EAWF Olhão a 2-0 victory. On pitch 1 EAWF Tavira played Real Betis A and secured an easy 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Adrian Jones (twice) and John Walduck.
EAWF Tavira continued their dramatic improvement in their final game, beating Real Betis B on pitch 2 by 4-0, with goals from Charlie Cousins (yes, really), two more for Adrian and one from Paul Burn. On pitch 1, EAWF Olhão wrapped up an impressive tournament with another victory, this time over Real Betis A 2-0, with Flavio and Tony G getting their names on the scoresheet to finish top of the table with 4 wins and a draw.
Following a quick shower, everyone headed to a nearby restaurant for a few well-earned drinks and a late supper.
A fantastic little tournament, and a great time was had by all players and partners who travelled with us.
Thanks to Jon S for organising things from our end and to Les for refereeing the matches on pitch 2.