On Sunday 31st July, Stamford Strollers sent two teams (Strollers Reds and Strollers Whites) to compete in this annual Corby tournament.
Both teams made it out of their respective groups and into the knockout stages of the competition with The Reds being agonisingly eliminated at the semi-final stage on penalties, whilst The Whites exited one round earlier in their quarter final in normal time.
Stamford Strollers Reds The Reds competed in Group A of the tournament and finished the group stage with a record of 3 wins and 2 draws.
Match 1 v Brackley Town (0-0 Draw)
A tight game which ended in a draw, although The Reds felt aggrieved that this match didn't end in a win when Colin Barrett won the ball from a Brackley defender and had what appeared to be legitimate goal ruled out by the referee for a running infringement.
Match 2 v Harborough Hornets Greens (Reds win 3-0)
The Reds started the game strongly and were quickly on the front foot, taking command of the game with 2 early goals from Tim Marsden & Colin Barrett. A late from Jez Norris completed a comprehensive win by Strollers.
Match 3 v Rushden & Diamonds (Reds win 1-0)
Despite the close score this was in fact another very commanding performance by The Reds, decided by an excellent resulting from a free flowing passing move which included every player on the pitch before Jez Norris finished strongly into the bottom corner. After the goal was scored The Reds controlled the game with some great passing to keep the ball to starve Rushden of possession.
Match 4 v Corby Town (Reds win 2-0)
After a 2 minute opening spell in which Corby looked dangerous, The Reds took control courtesy of an Iain Ross goal, followed quickly with a second from Colin Barrett.
A very solid performance and another 3 points.
Match 5 v Northampton Clarets (0-0 Draw)
This was the second draw for The Reds and was by far the hardest group game. Northampton came into the match with 4 straight wins under their belts and they were in command for much of the match.
The Reds struggled to move the ball in the way they had in their previous group games, but the defensive resilience of Tim Marsden & Iain Ross, coupled with some excellent keeping from Paul Newiss kept the 2 Clarets strikers at bay throughout and secured a well deserved record of five clean sheets in five group games.
Having finished second behind Northampton Clarets in the group, The Reds moved on to a Quarter-final against a strong Harborough Hornets Yellow team.
QF v Harborough Hornets Yellow (Reds win 4-3)
This was a pulsating encounter, with Hornets Yellows proving to be extremely tough opponents.
In an end to end game, The Reds traded goals with Harborough but were never behind in a game which they eventually won 4-3 courtesy of some excellent goals from Iain Ross, Jez Norris & Colin Barrett (2).
SF v Moulton Masters. (1-1 Draw, Reds lose 3-2 on penalties)
Very much a cat and mouse game with neither team giving much away in the early stages. A great move by involving Lee Tillen & Jez Norris did result in Tillen scoring with a great finish to give The Reds a 1-0 lead. However, it was a lead that was not to last as a quick passing move by the Masters lads provided an equaliser.
With the final score at 1-1 and with no extra time period for the tournament the result was decided on penalties which sadly The Reds lost 3-2.
An unfortunate way to end their run in the tournament but credit must go to all of the Reds players who put in some great performances, especially considering they completed all seven matches without a substitute due to a late injury withdrawal which robbed them of an extra man.
Stamford Strollers Reds
Paul Newiss (GK)
Tim Marsden (Captain)
Stamford Strollers Whites
A largely sunny day at Corby FC’s ground where Stamford White’s matches were played in a good spirit.
Overall The Whites didn’t quite perform to the levels we’d have liked and defensively it was a challenge against some of the better teams, but it’s pleasing to note there was never a lack of effort or willingness to keep looking for the ball.
The Whites were drawn in Group B.
Match 1 v FC Aztec Rothwell (Whites win 3-0 by default)
A resounding 3-0 win … courtesy of our opponents not showing up for the day!
Match 2 v Corby Town Stripes (1-1 draw)
A battling 1-1 draw. Whites grew into the game after a shaky start, falling behind to an assist from a “moving” goalpost!
Chances didn’t quite go in for Whites until Jez Hammant stepped up and grabbed a deserved point late on with a left foot beauty.
A special mention to Brian Dunkerley who had a terrific game in this matchup.
Match 3 v Northampton Whites (Whites lose 2-1)
A narrow 2-1 defeat in our second game where The Whites should have been able to take a point. Andy Ward scored a confident penalty, despite his team mates nervousness as Andy initially positioned himself for a long “run” up!
Sadly Paul Giffin was simply kept too busy and despite his valiant efforts the lack of defensive protection ultimately cost Whites the game.
Match 4 v Moulton Masters (Whites lose 2-0)
This was a difficult game where a 2-0 defeat was probably a fair result.
The Whites had the benefit of a disallowed Moulton goal, but then conceded a penalty under pressure. A “Russo inspired”, back-heeled through ball to the "sprinting" Moulton striker made it two.
Paul Giffen made some great saves once again kept the score respectable.
Match 5 v Harborough Hornets Yellows (Whites lose 2-1)
This was a match Whites believed they needed to win to progress and Harborough provided some typically tough competition.
Unfortunately in a bid to push forward there was again a lack of cover for goalkeeper Paul Giffen and Whites fell 2-0 behind. However, Les Wood wasn’t ready to call it a day just yet and scored a fine individual goal to make it 2-1.
After the final whistle Whites learned that they were through to the quarter finals despite their having believed that only a win would suffice… had it ever been in doubt?
QF v Northampton Clarets (Whites lose 5-0)
Stamford Reds, who finished undefeated in Group A had been held to a draw by Clarets in their group match, so Whites were quite sure that this would be a difficult game, and so it proved to be.
A 5-0 defeat in just 15 mins of play was frustrating for a well beaten Whites team. It was an emotional end to The Whites run and come the final whistle I think the whole squad was ready to head home.
A disappointing day in terms of results but Whites represented themselves and Stamford Strollers positively throughout.
Paul Giffin was our Player of the Tournament and it was excellent to see him back so strong following a while out with injury
Stamford Strollers Whites