On a fantastic sunny February afternoon, in perfect football weather, both Stamford teams put on a good show despite not making it through to the next round of the FA People's Cup.
Playing as Stàmford Strollers and Stamford White both teams were placed in a group of seven teams. The format being all teams play each other in the group with the top two progressing to a semi-final and final.
In group A the Whites had a tough start facing Leicester, tournament favourites on the day. Sure enough the Leicester side proved to be too strong for our lads, who were playing as a team for the first time, overpowering them 4-0.
Next up were Boston C , another strong team who fielded England international Dave Scotney in their team. Boston ran out 3-1 winners but the Whites had started to gel a little.
From here the Whites went from strength to strength battling to a 1-1 draw with Spilsby before overpowering a fairly weak Stagecoach team 4-0.
With confidence high the Whites continued to improve and they finished strongly with wins over Discovery Sport 2-0 and Boston B 2-1 with goals being shared by skipper Pat Botley, Darryl Beecroft and Grahame Robinson. Keeper Andy Walton also chipping in with two penalty saves.
This late improvement in the group wasn't quite enough to squeeze the Whites into second place, needed to make the semi final, but they finished an excellent 3rd in the group.
In group B the Stamford Strollers went one better with solid performances taking them to 2nd place in the group to make it into the semi finals.
DMU failed to show up to the tournament due to a vehicle breakdown, so first up were the eventual group winners, Boston A who were fielding an excellent team. Our lads ran them close though and Boston keeper Danny Tempest had his usual excellent game against us to keep a clean sheet. Boston took the honours 1-0.
The Strollers soon bounced back and with Gary Wildsmith in excellent form they proved too hot for Sleaford, Gary notching all four goals in a 4-1 win.
Next up were the new team, Whittlessey at their first tournament. Despite showing lots deternination our Strollers team were a tough challenge for them and we notched up a 5-1 win.
Deeping were at their first FA People's Cup and were a solid outfit. As such it looked like the next game would decide the runners up spot in the group. A very energetic and over physical game ended in a 2-2 draw.
This meant a win in the last game against Boston United was essential. Goals from Kurt Garbutt and Gary Wildsmith secured the points and the Strollers qualified for the semi-finals, pipping Deeping on goal difference.
The semi-final brought on tournament favourites Leicester, who had already beaten Stamford White earlier. Once again the Leicester outfit proved too strong for our guys and we lost 2-0.
Boston C were the opponents for the final game, the 3rd/4th place playoff. The team probably played some of their best football of the day against a tiring Boston team and ran away with the game 5-0. This gave the Strollers overall 3rd place.
Every year the top two have been the qualifiers and the third place team have never been called forward so it is unlikely that this will be good enough to make it to the next round but a great effort none the less.
L 0-4 Leicester
L 1-3 Boston C (Beecroft)
D 1-1 Spilsby (Beecroft)
W 4-0 Stagecoach (Botley x3, Robinson)
W 2-0 Discovery Sport (Robinson x2)
W 2-1 Boston B (Beecroft, Botley)
W 3-0 DMU (walkover)
L 0-1 Boston A
W 4-1 Sleaford (Wildsmith x4)
W 5-1 Whittlessey (Wildsmith x2, Blakemore x2, Williams)
D 2-2 Deeping (Lovesey, Wildsmith)
W 2-0 Boston Utd (Garbutt, Wildsmith)
L 0-2 Leicester
3rd/4th Play Off
W 5-0 Boston C (Wildsmith x4, Blakemore)
White: Pat Botley (capt), Andy Walton (gk), Grahame Robinson, Darry Beecroft, John Phythian, Richard Joy, Frank Smith
Strollers: Taff Lovesey (capt). Trevor Oliver (gk). Paul Blakemore, Gary Wildsmith, Kurt Garbutt, Colin Kirby, Glynn Williams