Garstang's new over 50s footballers are north west champions but fail to clinch national title

A Lancashire walking football team for the over 50s, which was formed just months ago, has won a top regional title.

By Fiona Finch
Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 3:45 pm

But its ambitions were halted when the Garstang Over 50s walking football team was beaten in the finals of the Pharmacy 2U national cup at the weekend.

The club was started by a few friends who were keen to have a kickabout.

After initial sessions at Lancaster University and Garstang Leisure Centre the team, with the help of a small grant from the Lancashire FA (Football Association), started meeting at a regular training and playing venue - the astroturf pitches at Garstang Community Academy.

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A grand first season for the Garstang Over-50s walking football team.Team manager and goalkeeper Eamonn Watson is pictured front row (centre).

The club, which is also supported by Bradshaw’s Farm Shop, Warren Contracting Services and Autotrader, now has Over 50s and Over 60s teams playing competitive and friendly games regularly and has more than 50 players turning up for training sessions.

Dave Thornhill, one of the club’s founders, said: “It is more than just playing football, you come away from the sessions feeling great. You also make new friends and there is a real sense of togetherness which is superb. We started in earnest in March."

During a recent cup match on home astroturf they played against against Kingsmaid, who are linked to Manchester City, and were cheered on by many Garstang supporters.

Dave recalled: "They were amazing and it felt like we had an extra man on the day because of that support."

Garstang dominated and became north west champions, winning 1-0 with a goal from Warren Skelly just before half time.

But the ambition to bring the national Walking Cup trophy back to the Wyre market town was dashed on Sunday when the Over 50s team headed to Barnsley to play other elite regional winners.

Team Manager Eamonn Watson said: "We are North West Over 50s champions, no-one can take that away from us. We have learned a lot from this national event, and we know now what have to do if we want to compete successfully at this level. I’m genuinely really disappointed with how things turned out in the finals, we wanted to bring the trophy back to this town, but we will be back bigger and better"

He continued: "What is also vitally important to all of involved in Garstang Walking Football is that we are and must remain a club that welcomes all who might want to try this amazing game.”

In the finals Garstang lost to Worthing and Norwich and drew with Wokingham in the group stages. The team from Weston took home the top trophy.

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