Walking Football Spain was paid a visit by Walking Football Algarve this week in a friendly tournament aimed at remembering Gordon Powell, who died in Portugal last November. Thanks go out to Martin Jenkins from Blacktower Financial Management for sponsoring the event.
Martin used to play in San Pedro with us on Tuesdays, but then suddenly took a job back in the UK a few weeks ago. So Kenneth Baek from Blacktower took over the sponsorship, and he has further agreed to become our newsletter sponsor.
We also had a another sponsor present at the event, with Michelle from Avalon Europe coming along to support us.
Walking Football Algarve brought two teams with them, Ohlao and Tavira. Ohlao being serious tournament winners, having one 7 tournaments on the spin, before losing one a few weeks ago.
The games on day one were 10-minute halves and the first game saw our WFS Marbella team sponsored by Bodyworks Health Clinic, against Tavira. This was a close game against two evenly matched sides but Tavira turned out 2-1 winners, with Captain Brian Gregory, who was playing as a striker rather than in his usual defensive position, getting the goal for WFS Marbella. Players were Ron Waugh in goal, Brian Gregory as Captain, Martin Lynam (who had changed his flight back to the UK in order to play), Steve Reynolds (who had also changed his flight), John Wilson who is visiting us for a month from Preston and Fleetwood Town Flyers, Colin Streets (who is back in UK until September now), Joe McKelvey and Colin McGreary.
The second match saw our successful Almeria squad, playing as WFS Benalmadena, sponsored by Smart Currency Abroad, against their very strong Ohlao team. Although on the Thursday we were missing our team captain in John Wright, we still had an impressive squad with Mark Grufferty as Captain, Rob Brown in goal, Keith Samuels, Daryl Collins, Rob Fitzgerald, Hugh Wood and Joe McKeveer. However, a couple of cheeky toe pokes that caught us off-guard, saw Ohlao beat us 3-1.
Ohlao then went up against WFS Marbella and although scored for us, Ohlao were too strong and ran out 4-1 winners, but Joe McKelvey scored a brilliant long range shot.
The final match on Thursday 10th May saw WFS Benalmadena against Tavira. Mark Grufferty decided to take this game by the scruff of the neck and he scored 4 very good goals, although he was lucky not to have been pulled up for running for two or three of them! Hugh Wood and Rob Fitzgerald both scored and we finished the game with a 6-2 victory.
Ohlao and Tavira then decided to have an extra game between themselves, which was probably a mistake as on day two, both of their teams had injury problems and so they decided to field only one team on Friday 11th May.
But after the matches on the Thursday, the bar staff made us all a very good paella and the beers flowed.
We made the matches 40 minutes long on day two as there were only two matches to be played. WFS Benalmadena went up first and with team captain John Wright back, we comfortably won 5-3, although there was a noticeable threat from the Algarve team whenever they brought their first-team players onto the field. Our scorers were Mark Grufferty with 2, Hugh Wood with 2 and Daryl Collins with 1.
WFS San Pedro, sponsored by Fluent Finance Abroad, also made an appearance on day two. Their players were Kevin Narain as Captain, Rob Brown went in goal again, Howard Condor (visiting for just a few days), Scott Carmichael, Adam Kerr, Fred Harding, Tony Jones, Ian Holdsworth, Patrick Walsh and John Wilson. This was a tough game for WFS San Pedro as most of the players were not so used to playing competitive football. But Howard Condor scored a great goal and certain players put in solid performances, such as Adam Kerr and Fred Harding especially.
Congratulations to Mark Grufferty for being our top scorer with 7 goals in total.
At the end of the match, we made a little tribute to Gordon Powell, who will never be forgotten, and we will be looking forward to returning to the Algarve in November again.