Football: Paringdon Pirates top the walking football league

Football / Sun 23rd Oct 2022 at 08:53am


PARINGDON Pirates sent a nine-man squad to Billericay to take part in the final round of the 2022 Essex Over 65’s League Division 2.

The squad comprised: Colin Moody (GK), Steve Barnes, Paul Joyce, Ray Bruce (Captian), Steve Taylor, Chris Navin, Kevin Walsh, Mick Devine and Colin Slasberg.

The matches at Billericay were scheduled for the afternoon session, with the first kick off at 12.30. Our ever-present support of Tom Clerkin and Charlie Crump were, of course coming along, together with Paul Harris. Newer member, Mark Simonelli, also turned up at the venue but unfortunately wasn’t able to bring his parrot, the Pirates’ new mascot, due to Avian Flu restrictions.  The players really appreciate the support from Tom and Charlie throughout the season. 

The team formation was the usual 1 – 3 – 1, with Steve Barnes in the defensive role, and Kevin Walsh back to lead the line. Pirates came into this round of fixtures in a very strong position to win the division, needing only 2 points to be out of reach of our closest rivals, Wakering. The team however were determined not approach any of the games with a complacent attitude that might allow the title to slip away. 

Game 1 v Billericay Town Whites – Won 2- 0. The Billericay team has not had the best of seasons having earned only 4 points going into these final games. They are a good bunch of lads and they have played sportingly and remained good-natured despite being beaten in most of their games. Kick off was delayed as the referee had not turned up, but fortunately Tony, from Orient, who has come to Paringdon to referee on occasions, was able to take charge. In keeping with the respective league positions this was a game dominated by Pirates who won by two goals in the first half both scored by Kevin Walsh from the edge of the box, from passes by Steve Taylor. There were a number of other chances to increase the score with Ray hitting the upright and the Billericay keeper making a good save from a Steve Taylor shot. Colin, in goal, hardly touched the ball during the game. Pirates maintained discipline throughout the game, with one warning each being issued to Ray and Chris. This victory guaranteed Pirates the championship and took the pressure off for the remaining fixtures against stronger opposition. 

Game 2 v Eastwood Falcons Blues – Won 1 – 0. Whilst this was a more difficult match, Pirates again had by far the better of the play and were able to take all three points following Colin Slasberg’s fine finish from the left, having received the ball from a Ray Bruce pass. The game was officiated by a referee not previously encountered, who advised that there would be no leeway. Any infringement would be considered a warning. Pirates did remain disciplined, although Ray was withdrawn late on, having received a second warning. Falcons did have a man blue carded for a third warning and played the final minutes with five players. Colin in goal was a little more involved than in the first game but Pirates were able to manage the game to a successful conclusion notching up a second win with yet another clean sheet. 

Game 3 v Leyton Orient Whites – Won 1- 0 (Friendly). With our attention focussed primarily on the final game with Wakering, this fixture was a bit of a distraction. Orient always field a well-organised team that can be difficult to play against and they would undoubtedly be keen to beat the newly crowned champions. But Pirates, rotating the players to avoid fatigue for the last game, were up to the challenge. Colin Moody was far busier than in the earlier games and was called upon to make a number of saves, with one particular good save low down to his left from a deflected shot. Pirates secured the win with a goal from Chris Navin in the second half, and were close to another when Mick Devine hit the post. 

Game 4 v Wakering – Won 1- 0. Wakering field a number of teams at various age groups that consist of many players that currently represent England; they appear to have a recruiting policy to attract such players. The fact that this array of talent has not been able to run away with this division is clearly quite a disappointment for them and we were expecting a tough game in which they would attempt to exert their perceived superiority. Previous games have been ill tempered and the results have been pretty even, each team winning one and one match drawn. Pirates played a relatively cautious game concentrating on not allowing the Wakering players the space to penetrate the defence. Their chances were mostly limited to shots from distance that Colin was equal to, making a number of the efficient saves that we have come to expect from him. Pirates also had a number of good attempts with the Wakering keeper making excellent saves from Ray and Steve Taylor. In the final minutes of the game Steve Taylor was able to find Ray making an unmarked move on the Wakering goal, and Ray finished it clinically to put Pirates ahead. An immediate substitution was made to bring on Mick Devine to shore up the defence, but when the game restarted, it ended a few seconds later by the final whistle.

There were no representatives of the Essex League there for this final day, so there was no acknowledgment whatsoever of our success. We wait to hear whether there is a trophy or medals associated with the achievement. 

This round of fixtures resulted in the final table: Paringdon Pirates Played 20 Points 51 Wakering 20 40 Eastwood Falcons Blues 20 28 Leyton Orient Whites 20 26 Chelmsford City Blues 20 16 Billericay Town Whites 20 7. The team lost one game, and drew three, conceding just one goal. This was a great day in the brief history of Paringdon Pirates, a small club made up of local players and not associated with established football clubs like Orient, Billericay or Chelmsford, or financially supported by a generous sponsor to attract top talent, like Wakering. In addition to the nine players selected and available for this final round, the team has been reinforced on occasion by: Steve Fletcher, Dave Russell, Ron Adams and Derek Owen all of whom have slotted in and performed well for the club. 

The club has training sessions for men (aged 50+) on Mondays from 15.30-17.00, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.00-11.30 and for women on Mondays from 17.00-18.00. If you are interested in finding out more, please see the Club’s web site at www.paringdonpirates.org.uk 

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1 Comment for Football: Paringdon Pirates top the walking football league:

2022-10-25 07:26:18

Fantastic achievement by everyone at the club. To infirmary and beyond.

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