Friday 29th March - Keith Wightman Memorial Cup, Playa Flamenca, Alicante, Spain
Hemel Hempstead Town FC Walking Football Team embarked on their first International Tournament, with 10 teams competing for the Keith Wightman Cup.
The Hemel team performed exceptionally well, finishing a very creditable, Runners Up to the hosts and holders, Playa Flamenca FC, after a narrow 2-1 defeat in a tense and tight final. The Hemel side became the first visiting side ever to reach the final..
The team adapted admirably, not just to the Spanish climate but the game format of: 8 a side, scoring in a restricted area, freedom to play in the goalkeeping area as well as overhead height which encouraged crosses and headers.
V Playa Flamenca: 3-3 Scorers: Holmes, Mannell pen and OG
HH started briskly and a move down the right hand side saw Dave Woolfrey pull the ball back for Jim Holmes to slot home.
Hemel, very much in their stride against the reigning champions, saw Andy Turner fire over before a Mike Parkes’ effort was disallowed.
The second half was more end to end, which Flamenca equalising through a header, before a push on a Hemel player, in the box, allowed Mark Mannell to stroke the ball home from the spot. Within minutes, Flamenca were level after a series of shots were blocked before a Jim Holmes’ cross was turned into his own net by a defender enabling Hemel to once more, take the lead, 3-2.
However deep into stoppage, Flamenca managed to level once more.
V Esquina Park Rangers: 1-0 Scorer: Parkes
Again Hemel started well, with EPR under pressure and making a number of clumsy challenges. From one resultant free kick, Jim Holmes rolled the ball back for Mike Parkes to fire home from a tight angle. As the game wore on, it required very solid defending, with Paul Church marshalling the defence; Chris York held firm and Andy Roads, calm as ever.
V Hondon Flyers: 2-0 Scorers: Mannell, Holmes
A comfortable win, with a calm finish from Mark Mannell and typical Jim Holmes’ goal, latching on a through ball from Woolfrey to slot home but unfortunately in the process damaging a hamstring, which ended his tournament.
This provided the opportunity for Cliff Leat, to show his versatility in the subsequent matches by playing upfront, in midfield and at full back.
Laurence Hardwick completed his second game of the tournament in the unfamiliar role of central defence, stealing the ball from strikers on numerous occasions.
V Coventry City: 1-1, Scorer: Church
As the temperature rose and the demands of the games started to have an impact, the team put in a battling performance but equally continued with their passing game. Liam Good worked hard in midfield covering every blade of grass (Astro), but it took defender Paul Church to break the deadlock with a determined run which resulted in him somehow squeezing the ball past the keeper. Unfortunately, deep into stoppage time, a long ball to the far post was inadvertently headed home by Andy Turner, denying keeper Tony Smith his third clean sheet.
Cup Semi-final v Portobello FC: 1-0, Scorer: Mannell
Portobello entered the competition as one of the favourites and they eased through the group phase, winning 3 and drawing 1 of their fixtures.
In the semi-final the Hemel side were more than a match, playing their own crisp, sharp, passing game and Andy Turner being a particular threat on the right. At half time and the game at stalemate, Hemel changed shape with defender Paul Church moved into a forward role and Andy Roads introduced at the centre of defence.
In a game that was end to end, the mid field trio of Mannell, Parkes and Turner worked tirelessly, creating chances and defending doggedly, supported by marauding runs by Woolfrey and York. A series of inter-play led to Paul Church receiving the ball with his back to goal and a lay off to Mark Mannell allowed him to drive the ball past the keeper into the left hand corner. Shortly afterwards, a ball over the top led to Parkes lobbing the keeper, but it went narrowly over the bar. As the game wore on the defence of Woolfrey, Roads and York stood firm, making endless tackles, blocks and clearances whilst keeper Tony Smith made numerous saves including 2 last minute, brave dives at attackers feet.
The team held out to qualify for the final.
Cup Final v Playa Flamenca FC: 1-2 Scorer: Parkes
Once again, Hemel faced the hosts and took the game to them with Parkes hitting the outside of the post and York firing over on the edge of the restriction zone. In a close encounter, Hemel went behind from a header, just before the break.
The second half saw Hemel press Flamenca and Leat had a good effort cleared before Mannell shot over from just inside the scoring zone. With Hemel pressing, the inevitable happened and Flamenca broke away to score, but with a few minutes remaining, Hemel pulled one back when a cross from Turner was brought down by Parkes who went past the
keeper to slot home. A frantic last few minutes saw Hemel go close but the hosts held onto the trophy.
The Hemel team was disappointed not to win, with the whole squad playing so well to get to the final, however the team received plaudits from many for their style of play.
Chris York, Laurence Hardwick, Dave Woolfrey, Andy Roads, Andy Turner, Mike Parkes, Tony Smith, Jim Holmes, Mark Mannell, Cliff Leat, Liam Good and Paul Church.
Sunday 10th March 2019 - Thames Valley Walking Football League 50+ @ Bisham Abbey
We decided to take both a 50+ and a 60+ side in to this 50+ competition.
The team were promoted from last season into the Premier Division and in this years competition were paired with Oxford United A, Aylesbury United, Bracknell Town 1, Wokingham & Emmbrook and Watford Walkers.
The team was run by Mike Parkes and Mike took the opportunity to give equal game time to players in preparation for this seasons National Cup.
In the first game we were paired with Oxford United, in the end we were rewarded with a creditable draw as Andy Chance was sent off for swearing at the referee after a dispute about the rules half way through the game and missed the remainder of the days games. Score 0-0
Second up was Aylesbury United and despite having many chances to win the game we ended up on the wrong end of a 0-1 defeat.
We then played Bracknell Town but as in the first game we came away with a 0-0 draw.
At last we scored some goals in our fourth game, against Wokingham & Emmbrook. Hemel took a deserved 2-0 lead with goals from striker Jummy Holmes and Mark Thompson who was making his debut for the team. Unfortunately we let Wokingham back into the game when they were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area, defensively we switched off and Wokingham scored. Then with just a couple of minutes left they struck again to leave the score 2-2 at the final whistle.
In our final game of the day we faced old foes Watford Walkers and, like most of our previous games both teams cancelled each other out and this resulted in another 0-0 draw.
It was not the start to the competition the squad would have wanted but they did get invaluable experience in to some of the less experienced players. A special mention goes to Mark Thompson who fitted in very well for his first competition and goalkeeper Tony Smith.
The squad - Not Pictured
Chris York, Steve Hatchett, Jim Holmes, Mark Thompson, Andy Chance
Mark Mannell, Tony Smith, Andy Turner, Dave Woolfrey
HEMEL’S HAPPY FEET 60+
At the same time as the 50+ team played, the 60+ team played in the wet & windy
first round of group games in League One of the Thames Valley League at Bisham Abbey.
This is the first time the 60+ team have played in this competition. This is a 50+ league but we wanted to give our team some competitive walking football before they play in the National Cup. They were paired with Highworth Town B, Maidenhead United, Milton Keynes Mad Walkers, Oxford United B, and Woodley Saints Deadbeats.
The team was run by Steve Buckey and like Mike he also took the opportunity to give equal game time to players in preparation for this seasons National Cup.
First up for the 60+ were Highworth Town, the eventual winners of the days games. In a closely contested game Highworth eventually ran out 1-0 winners.
Second up was Maidenhead United, in this game Hemel had far more ball and opportunities to score. A great strike by Steve Manly saw the team win 1-0.
Next up were Woodley Saints Deadbeats, a closely fought game saw neither team able to break the deadlock and the game finishing 0-0.
Last but one were Oxford united and they were simply too strong for the 60+, as hard as they tried they failed to trouble the keeper enough during the game. With Oxford United scoring twice the game ended 0-2.
In the final game of the day Hemel were up against Milton Keynes Mad Walkers. In an evenly contested game neither side was able to break the deadlock despite both sides having the opportunities and the game ended up 0-0.
A great start for the 60+ team in a younger age group league, they just need to get more experience and start shooting when the opportunity arises
Back Row:Pete Jerram, Phil Rickett, Nick Schramm, Steve Buckey, Andy Roads
Front Row: Steve Manly, Cliff Leat, Trevor McFarlane, Kris Nicholls
Sunday 11th November - Thames Valley Competition 50+
Hemel Hempstead Town FC Walking Football team finish the league season unbeaten!
National Cup finalists, Hemel Hempstead Town FC Walking Football team, concluded their latest round of matches in the Bisham Abbey league with 3 wins and a draw. This extended their unbeaten run to 12 games, winning 9, drawing 3 and more remarkably, keeper Tony Smith only conceding one goal during the entire league season.
In the latest round of 4 matches, defensive duo of Mike Parkes and Dave Woolfrey restricted the opposition to just one shot on target which Tony Smith immaculately saved. In midfield, the pairing of Andy Chance and Mark Mannell, were their usual industrious and combative selves, the latter even found time to provide "advice and guidance" to the referee during the initial game. Upfront, Ian McKenzie showed great hold up play and Jim Holmes demonstrated his usual trickery, despite in one game, having the shock of doing the heavy duty work in midfield.
South Reading FC: 0-0
A very tight encounter with few opportunities
Watford FC 1-0:
For the fourth consecutive game, Hemel beat their rivals by the odd goal. In the early stages Watford dominated and only resilient defending, a fine save from Tony Smith and a denied penalty stopped Watford from taking the lead. However, Hemel then got into their stride and started to create a number of chances, the best of which fell to Mark Mannell who broke clear but his shot hit the post before increased pressure resulted in a free kick on the edge of the area, which Andy Chance fired home.
Cherwell FC 2-0:
Goals from Jim Holmes and Andy Chance, masked the 9 other chances missed, with Ian Mckenzie, Andy Chance, Jim Holmes and Mark Mannell all missing glorious opportunities. The latter pair both firing efforts out of the ground towards the Thames!
South Bucks FC: 2-0:
In the final game Jim Holmes and Andy Chance again the scorers, with the team netting on 3 more occasions, only to be disallowed.
This was a very satisfying first season in this league and despite missing the first round of games due to a lack of players (all games recorded as 0-1 losses) we finished second in our division - having beaten the winning side Watford each of the three times we played them.
Sunday 14th October - Thames Valley Competition 50+
Hemel took a side over to Bisham Abbey to compete in the 3rd round of league games out of 4 rounds.
SQUAD: Andy Chance, Paul Church, Mark Mannell, Mike Parkes, Nick Schramm, Tony Smith & Dave Woolfrey.
On a very wet and cold Sunday we played four games.
In the 1st game we beat Watford 1-0 through an early Mark Mannell drive which flew across the wet surface, we defended well as a team by not providing them with any chances.
In the 2nd game we beat South Bucks 1-0, having dominated the game it took a late team goal to win 1-0. There was a 1-2 between Mike Parkes and Nigel Morrison around the box and Mike played wide to Dave Woolfrey who slotted home. This was after their keeper made four point blank saves one after the other from Andy Chance and then a series of Nigel shots, had to be seen to be believed.
3rd up was Cherwell, we took the lead through Andy Chance and again dominated creating numerous chances only to allow a long range effort which flew through the air to nestle in the top corner to earn them an undeserved point.
In the final game, we beat South Reading 1-0. A quick free kick from Dave Woolfrey set up Mark Mannell for a simple tap in and victory.
We finished the day top of the group and will be close to the top of the group overall.
Great team effort in very difficult conditions
Sunday 30th September - National Cup Finals - 50+
SQUAD: Andy Chance, Paul Church, Jimmy Holmes, Mike Parkes, Tony Smith, Andy Turner, & Dave Woolfrey.
The squad representing the club is somewhat changed due to holidays.
Blackburn, Leicester LPF, Seaton Carew,Leggy Mambos,Stroud, Norwich City
Hemel Hempstead Town and Brighton
We were drawn in a group with Blackburn, Norwich City and Stroud.
In our first group game we lost 0-1 to Blackburn, this was a hard fought physical game which we should never have lost, dominating from the start.We just could not take any of our numerous chances. In our second game we lost 0-3 to Norwich City, who as the scoreline suggests were clearly better than we were. However in our final group game we managed to beat Stroud 2-0. Both goals were scored by Jimmy Holmes having been set up by skipper Mike Parkes. We eventually finished 6th in the country when we lost in the 5th/6th play-off 0-1 to Brighton.
A lot has been learned during this National tournament and we will be stronger for the experience next year.
Wednesday 26th September - Stevenage Tournament 60+
SQUAD: Pete Jerram, Andy Roads, Phil Rickett, Mike Wood & Steve Manly
On Wednesday 26th September we took a 5 man team over to the Stevenage FC Academy to take part in their Festival to spread the word of the vastly expanding Walking Football and to raise money for Prostate Cancer.
In our first game we came up against a strong Barnet side and we held them for a long time, however we eventually succumbed to a 2nd goal at the end of the game to lose 0-2. This was scored in the confusion of the referee on the next pitch blowing his whistle and players on our pitch stopped thinking it was ours - Barnet continued and put the ball in to the net.
Up second was a Stevenage B side and we were comfortable winners in this. Eventually running out comfortable winners 3-0 with goals from Andy Roads, Mike Wood and Steve Manly. Unfortunately Steve Manley had to retire during this game with ankle ligament injury.
In our third game we had a replacement player for the injured Steve Manly that we “borrowed” from Buntingford – Chris Ferrill. Chris played a big part for us against Hertford as we won 2-0 with both goals coming from Chris Ferrill.
In our fourth and final game we played Buntingford and drew 1-1 with the goal again coming from Chris Ferrill.
The over 60’s have not had many competitive games and this was a big step forward in both results and the quality of the football played. Hopefully as we look to get more fixtures for this age group we will continue to see further progression.
Tuesday 10th July Hemel Hemel’s Happy Feet v Watford National Cup 50+
The above fixture was played at Vauxhall Road between the recently formed Hemel side and the vastly experienced Watford side. Like all National Cup ties the game is played as 2 x 20 minute halves.
Hemel won the toss and chose to play with the sun at their backs, in the early stages Hemel started brightly and had the better of the game forcing several fine saves from the Watford keeper. Against the run of play Watford scored after a long shot was pushed out by Hemel keeper Tony Smith, unfortunately it fell to a Watford player who put the ball away for a 1-0 lead. This was the score at half time.
Hemel made a couple of subs at half time with Nigel Morrison and Dave Woolfrey coming on for Mike Parkes and Steve Buckey. Again Hemel started brightly but this time there was more support for striker Jimmy Holmes. This change in shape worked well almost immediately with Nigel Morrison finding himself in space having received the ball from a Steve Hatchett tackle, he calmly shot across the keeper to level at 1-1. Hemel’s joy was short lived as the referee decided that Steve Hatchett had played the ball when he was on the ground. Hemel disputed this but the referee was not going to change his miond and disallowed the goal. This did not hold Hemel back for long as Nigel Morrison again created some space for himself and laying the ball to Jimmy Holmes who calmly slotted the ball past the Watford keeper to level for Hemel. Hemel’s third sub was made with Dougie Church coming on for the impressive Steve Hatchett. Hemel continued to press and Nigel Morrison drove down the left a fired a shot across the keeper which came back off the foot of the post, Jimmy Holmes was quickest to react and nipped between two defenders to poke the ball home. With the work rate of Mark Mannell and impressive defending of the whole team Hemel thoroughly deserved their victory. Hemel now progress to the quarter finals and should know their next opponents next week.
Two squads Pictured.
Hemel left to right Top: Dougie Church, Mark Mannell, Jimmy Holmes, Nigel Morrison, Steve, Buckey, Steve Hatchett, Tony Smith. Bottom: Mike Parkes, Dave Woolfrey.
Sunday 8th July Thames Valley Competition 50+
Hemel’s Happy Feet travelled to Bisham Abbey to take part in the Thames Valley charity Walking Football 6-A-Side competition. Hemel were drawn to play Wokingham & Embrook, Aylesbury United B and South Bucks and Chiltern Crinklies in their opening group games.
Hemel started against the 2017 Peoples Cup winners Wokingham & Embrook. This was a tough opening fixture and the experience of a very good opponent saw them through easily winning 2-0.
The ease with which Wokingham won this game had Hemel realising that they had to change their shape and ensure we were solid at the back. This worked very well in the remaining two group games. Hemel beat Aylesbury United ‘B’ by 3 goals to nil, goals scored by Mike Parkes, Jimmy Holmes and Steve Hatchett. In the last group game we also beat South Bucks Crinklies 3-0, this time the goal scorers were Jimmy Holmes, Mike Parkes and Mark Mannell.
In the Quarter Final Hemel faced the winners of group C Wycombe Wanderers. This game ended 0-0 but the Hemel side were very unlucky not to have won in normal time. With the game going straight to penalties Wycombe took the first penalty with Hemel goalkeeper Tony Smith saving the spot kick. Up stepped Andy Chance for Hemel and he drilled his penalty passed the keeper to lead 0-1. Wycombe’s next kick was hit against the post meaning that Hemel just needed to score their second penalty. Mark Mannell stepped up and scored sending the Happy Feet through to the Semi’s.
Hemel faced South Reading in the Semi-Final and this game turned out to be somewhat easier with two goals from Mike Parkes and Jimmy Holmes giving Hemel a comfortable route to the Final.
In the Final we were reunited with the only team that had beaten us in the competition – Wokingham & Embrook. This time with the lessons we had learned from our group defeat to Wokingham was a much more even affair with Hemel actually dominating the game but unable to find the back of the net. Wokingham scored with just two or three minutes remaining to take the competition 1-0.
This tournament will stand us in good stead for competitions to come having learned vital lessons about the shape of the team and the way we play the game. Defensively we improved no end by moving Andy Chance to the back. We also got great game time in to all members of the eight man squad with both Dave Woolfrey and Ian McKenzie making good contributions from the bench.
Squad: Mark Mannell, Ian McKenzie, Steve Hatchett, Andy Chance, Jimmy Holmes.
Bottom Row: Dave Woolfrey, Tony Smith, Mike Parkes
20TH & 24TH MAY - WALKING FOOTBALL NATIONAL CUP
One win and one loss for Hemel's Happy Feet in this National Competition.
As the Tudors Walking Football develops we are starting to enter more and more competitions and friendlies against other clubs.
On Sunday 20th May the over 60 players were drawn at home in their first 60+ specific competition (National Cup) against the vastly more experienced side from Bexley. When the game kicked off the Bexley side started very strongly hitting the woodwork 3 times in the opening 7 minutes. The breakthrough came for Bexley but was quickly levelled by Brian Kemp. Bexley score twice more in the first half to lead 1-3. However it was Hemel who finished the half the stronger scoring 4 more, 3 through the impressive Brian Kemp and an individual goal by Alan Cutter to lead 5-3 at half time. Unfortunately that was as good as it got for Hemel as Bexley scored 3 unanswered goals in the second half, scoring the winner 75 seconds from the end of the game. This was a tremendous effort by the team.
SQUAD: A Cutter, L Hardwicke (c), P Jerram, B Kemp, P Rickett, A Roads, N Schramm, P Smith, G Turner.
On Thursday 24th May the over 50's travelled away to play Aylesbury (National Cup). Again, like the 60+ the over 50s were playing a more experienced side. This time however the Hemel team started the stronger scoring after only 2 minutes through skipper Mike Parkes. Hemel were clearly the dominant side ad scored again , this time from distance with a shot across the keeper that arrowed in to the far corner. There was enough time before the half time whistle whereby the Hemel side had 3 more goals disallowed, 2 through striker Jimmy Holmes and 1 through Mike Parkes.
Aylesbury re-organised at half time, replacing their goalkeeper. They were much more competitive after the break but Hemel were pretty comfortable, although goalkeeper Tony Smith who had no saves to make in the first half made several good saves in the second period.
SQUAD (Picture at top of the article)
Top Row: S Hatchett, M Mannell, T Smith, N Morrisson, J Holmes
Bottom Row: M Parkes (c), S Buckey, A Turner, P Church
6TH MAY 2018 - PLAYFOOTBALL LONDON CUP
TheTudors were represented in the Playfootball London Cup (50+) by our walking football side Hemel’s Happy Feet. The competition was played in sweltering heat in Shepherds Bush next to QPR’s stadium Loftus Road. This was our first tournament and what a great one it turned out to be.
Group A Group B
Arsenal Leyton Orient
AFC Wimbledon Uxbridge Amblers Red
Bounds Green Godalming
Lambeth Walkers Old Salvs
Watford South Reading
Feltham B Hemel Hempstead Town
Uxbridge Amblers Blues Feltham A
It turned out to be a fantastic tournament as we ended up top of our group. We played our six group games, winning 5 games and losing just one. In these games we scored 18 goals whilst only conceding five goals. The goals were scored by Jimmy Holmes, Mark Mannell and Paul Church.
In the Semi-Final we played Uxbridge Amblers Blue where this match ended up at 1-1 and went to a ‘Goalden Goal’ which we scored to win 2-1.
In the Final we came up against an Arsenal side that were very experienced, we were beaten 2-0 with two early goals.
Paul Church (Capt), Jimmy Holmes, Mark Mannell, Ian McKenzie, Phil Ricketts, Andy Roads, Tony Smith & Chris York.
The feedback from our opponents was superb, they complimented our team on both their ability and the spirit in which they played the game. So much so that we are already being asked to play some of these clubs in friendlies.
Sunday 20th May – National Cup 60+ Competition - 11:00 AM @ Vauxhall Road
Hemel’s Happy Feet v Bexley
Thursday 24th May National Cup 50+ Competition – 7:00 PM @ Aylesbury
Aylesbury v Hemel’s Happy Feet
Why not come along and support the boys!
24TH FEBRUARY 2018
TUDORS WALKING FOOTBALL SIDE
Hemel's Happy Feet played their Return Fixture on Saturday 24th February
against Many Shades of Grey from Havant & Waterlooville at Cavendish School prior to the corresponding 1st team game at Vauxhall Road. Having now been together for about 8 months the team were far more fluent this time round. Hemel took an early lead in the first quarter but Many shades of Grey quickly responded by scoring twice to take the lead. As in the previous game in Hampshire on November 11th the Tudors got better as the game went on scoring three times in the second half to record a 4-2 victory. Hemel's Happy Feet were clearly the better side having also had two goals disallowed and hitting the woodwork 4 times.
At the end of the game both sets of players headed up to Vauxhall Road to watch the first team game after first taking in the hospitality provided by the football club
Goalscorers: Jimmy Holmes 3, Mike Parkes 1
Back Row - Phil Rickett, Mark Thompson, Tony Dean, Steve Buckey, Nigel Morrison, Jimmy Holmes
Front Row: Ian McKenzie, Dave Wolfrey, Paul Church, Mike Parkes
11TH NOVEMBER 2017 - Havant & Waterlooville
Hemel Town's newly formed walking football team travelled down to Havant & Waterlooville in Hampshire on Saturday 11th November to take on their first competitive fixture against 'The many shades of grey' who had been playing for two years. The game was played before the 1st team fixture. It was always going to be tough playing against an experienced side but the team did really well just losing out 4-3. The Tudors goals were scored by skipper Nigel Morrison, Jimmy Holmes and Dougie Church.
This is going to be the first of many games against other sides allowing the team to gain vital experience.
Return Fixture - Saturday 24th February