On Wednesday 15th November, East Algarve Walking Football (EAWF) hosted the walking footballers from Easingwold Wanderers in a series of round-robin matches over 2 hours at the Estadio Jose Arcanjo in Olhão.
This time there was a difference from the usual arrangements. The fine negotiating skills of John Knight persuaded SC Olhanense to allow the matches to be played on the newly laid synthetic main football pitch.
With a total of 25 players turning up it was agreed to select 3 teams of 8-a-side and use the yellow pitch markings with three-quarter-size goals. Easingwold played as one unit but donated a player to each of the other sides cunningly named ‘The Reds’ and ‘The Blues’.
Paul Burn started on refereeing duties with Jonathan Syed taking over half way through. The Easingwolders took to the surface like ducks to water playing some very neat football whereas the ‘locals’ took time to adjust to such a different material underfoot. All of the matches were tight affairs, however, with each of the goalkeepers demonstrating their excellent hand-eye coordination.
Perhaps the highlight of the morning was a rasping drive from distance by Al Murray which gave the very competent Easingwold stopper little chance as it nestled in the onion bag. Only Mike Hawe was keeping a tally of the goals; for the rest of us it was the occasion that will live long in the memory.
At the end of the session, the players retired to the Café Reis across the road from the stadium for some well-earned refreshment and discussions aplenty about the fine merits of this sport of walking football.
We must of course thank Sr. Teixeira at SC Olhanense for giving us permission to use such a great facility, and hope that this is the first of many opportunities.