The iconic hub of England Football, St. George's Park, hosted the Derbyshire Walking Football League's Challenge Cup finals this Summer.
Two finals were contested at the prestigious St. George's Park. These were the Over 65's Challenge Cup final on August 4th, between Derby County Community Trust and Heanor, and the Over 50's Challenge Cup final on August 17th, between Heanor and Etwall.
Paul Jackson, secretary of the Derbyshire Walking Football League, said,
“After two difficult years with the cessation of activities and the stop/start effects due to COVID-19, lockdowns and the closure of our regular pitch facilities we were pleased to be able to hold the Derbyshire Walking Football League’s Challenge Cup finals at the prestigious St Georges park venue. The finals took place on the Tony Larkin pitch with the over 65s challenge cup final on August 4th and the over 50s on August 17th .
There was a great atmosphere at the 65s final – Derby County Community Trust v Heanor - with the ageing players relishing the opportunity to play at SGP, producing some good football and some very close games. Heanor won overall after three tight games that ended 0-0, 1-0 and 1-0 and the refereeing from Bob Green was excellent.
There was a sizeable crowd at the 50s final – Etwall v Heanor – and once again a great atmosphere. The players were treated to top class facilities in the Bryan Robson changing rooms and produced some top quality play on the pitch. The games were very tight and pulsating between two strong, skilful and competitive sides that had been close rivals all season. It was fair to say that top refereeing was required from Malcolm Mackenzie who managed proceedings. Etwall won overall with the three matches ending 0-0, 1-1 and 2-0.
The finals at SGP are a league first, a fantastic experience and we hope to have the opportunity to do this again in the future.
Finally thanks to the FA for allowing the league to hold the finals at SGP and to the staff at SGP for their hospitality and ensuring the arrangements went smoothly.”
Derbyshire FA's Development Officer Callum Convery was impressed by the high level of play on the evening, saying,
"I'd first seen Heanor play around 2015, and the standard of play since then has rocketed and is a credit to the clubs and the Derbyshire Walking Football League committee who have been the driving force in the development of walking football in the county and nationally. The high levels from both sides were well managed by the referee Malcolm Mackenzie, congratulations to both sides for a match befitting the surroundings of St George's Park!"
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