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PDFL Walking Football League 50+ Division 1 Match Day 1

Strollers arrived at Nene Valley Community Centre for the first match day of the new season with a much changed squad from that which ended the 2020/21 campaign.

This years competition has seen the introduction of a two division league with Strollers being placed in the top flight containing a host of very strong teams, including last years PDFL Champions Wisbech Town, two teams from Boston and two more from one of the the countries most successful clubs, Norwich City.

Strollers had put together a squad full of ability, but it has to be acknowledged that this team had never played competitively together previously, and in a number of cases had not even met one another! Starting such a highly competitive league campaign with an “introductions session” may we’ll rank as one of the worst ways possible ways to start out, but that’s exactly what happened this morning!

On then to our fixtures, and we couldn’t have had a much tougher introduction to the season than to play our near neighbours, friends and long term rivals Boston United Yellows, one of last seasons league title contenders.

Strollers 4, Boston United Yellows 1 (Hellawell 3, Adcock 1)

As mentioned above, Strollers were confident of the individual abilities of the the squad, but the big question remained…could a team of talented individuals manage to gel into a competitive unit?

I would venture to suggest that by the end of this first fixture all doubts had been removed.

This is not to say that this was an easy victory. Boston started the match customarily strongly and played some excellent football in a tight first half, even taking the lead through a goal which was deflected in by a Strollers player after they intercepted an incisive Boston pass across the defence.

After a very even first half, Strollers came out in the second period and visibly picked up their game to another level, playing some excellent football and finishing the game as 4-1 winners with a hat-trick from debutant Jay Hellawell and another from fellow debutant Steve Adcock.

A great start then for Strollers in a challenging opening game.

Next up, no let up in the intensity of opposition as Strollers matched up against league newcomers Norwich City B.

Strollers 4, Norwich City B 3 (Tillen 2, Hellawell 1, Adcock 1)

Whilst in theory and traditionally the designation of “B” team might denote the least competitive of the two Norwich teams entered in the competition, there was absolutely no lack of quality in this opposition, which included in its ranks a number of the squad that had demolished Strollers 12-0 earlier in the year in the National Cup.

It was very gratifying therefore that despite having to go into this fixture “back to back” straight after the Boston game, Strollers continued their early season form with a sparkling first half, finishing the period with a 2-0 lead, courtesy of two goals of the highest quality resulting from moves that involved the whole team with crisp passing on each occasion.

In the second half it is probably fair to say that Strollers started to fade a little, the fatigue of playing two matches against such strong opposition in quick succession clearly taking its toll, however with rolling substitutions and incredibly hard work from all involved, Strollers managed to edge the second half, and the whole match, ending up with a 4-3 win.

This then was a start to the season that was as much as we could possibly have hoped for, and maybe more than we might have reasonably expected taking into account the high quality of the opposition. Every player in the squad performed at a high level throughout, worked incredibly hard for each other and produced two team performances of which they, and indeed the whole Stamford Strollers club should be very proud of.

It might be fair to say that after a lacklustre 2020/21 season, many an eyebrow will have been raised throughout our competitors after Strollers opening day results. We can certainly go forward in this competition safe in the knowledge that we have the players, and the team, to compete with anyone in the division this term.

Squad for Match Day 1

  • Paul Newiss (GK)

  • Paul Blakemore

  • Steve Adcock

  • Phil Hall

  • Lee Tillen

  • Jay Hellawell

  • Colin Barrett-Treen

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