– “We had a fantastic time, thank you so much for your hospitality – Shrewsbury 99ers WF”
– “Fantastic, well-organised tournament – Heidi Emery, referee”
– “Brilliant tournament, the best event we have competed in on the Algarve – Ipswich WF”
– “Sportsmanship and camaraderie were a credit to all teams – Herefordshire WF”
Above are just a few of the comments received following the inaugural Olhão International Walking Football Tournament, organised by East Algarve Walking Football.
The first day’s action, consisting of 24 games, resulted in 98 goals hitting the back of the net with Silver Coast Strollers (west-coast north of Lisbon) recording the first victory of the day.
The Walker Brothers (Central Portugal) and EAWF Tavira 60 each lost their opening four games but remained in good spirits whilst ‘home favourites’ EAWF Olhão 50 and EAWF Tavira 50 dropped points against Shrewsbury 99ers and São Brás.
With all players being over the age of 50 and some well into their seventies – 80-year-old David Truman (Tavira 60) being the oldest – there were a number of creaking joints and aching muscles as the second day got underway with the completion of the groups’ stages.
By mid-morning, the line-up for Group Stage Two was confirmed as Silver Coast Strollers, Shrewsbury 99ers, EAWF Olhão 50 and EAWF Tavira 50 qualified for the major Tournament Trophy.
Browns (Vilamoura), Team Herefordshire, Ipswich WF and EAWF Olhão 50 competed in the Plate Competition and Lagos Strollers, the Walker Brothers, São Brás and EAWF Tavira 60 contested the Bowl Trophy.
Before presenting the trophies, António Camacho (Chief of Staff, Olhão Town Hall) thanked everyone for participating in an event that the Municipality of Olhão was proud to support. Lagos Strollers won the Bowl Trophy whilst Team Herefordshire picked up the Plate Trophy.
The final game of the day resulted in EAWF Olhão 50 and EAWF Tavira 50 going head-to-head to decide who topped the group, with Olhão 50 edging the game 1-0 thanks to a Neil Morris goal.
Chris Wright, president of EAWF, said: “This has been a fantastic team effort with the whole Walking Football family pulling together to stage an event that has exceeded our expectations. A tremendous ‘thank you’ to Olhão Town Hall and officials, referees, medical team and sponsors who have given so freely of their time and without whose support the event would not have happened.”
The venue, Estádio Municipal de Olhão, with its 4G astro-turf pitch, immaculate facilities and extremely accommodating staff, reflected the outstanding contribution made by the Municipality of Olhão.
A full set of results can be found at www.walkingfootballalgarve.com