Bexhill team victorious in France

The Old Bexhillians Walking Football Club was victorious at an international tournament in France.

Saturday, 15th June 2019, 5:16 pm
The triumphant Old Bexhillians team of, from left, John Martin, Mick Southon, Margaret Blurton, Peter Lipka and Richard Lang. Pictures courtesy Philip Blurton

Old Bexhillians won the Plate competition at an event hosted by Aulnay Football Club in the Charente region.

Twelve teams competed in the two-day competition; the majority were ex-pat France-based teams, alongside French sides and clubs from England.

See also: * More than 100 teams contest Little Common tournament* Bexhill United chairman steps down after six years* Son of ex-Hastings United player signs new Tottenham Hotspur contract* Hastings United snap up proven higher level performerOn day one the 12 teams were randomly split into two groups. The top three from each would play the Cup competition on day two and the other teams would contest the Plate.

Margaret Blurton, captain of the Old Bexhillians walking football tournament team, receives the trophy and congratulations from the chairman of the Aulnay Football Club

Old Bexhillians performed well on the first day, drawing three of their 15-minute games, winning one and losing one. The results placed them fourth in their group, meaning they went into the Plate competition.

Old Bexhillians’ first game on the second day ended in a 5-0 victory against their friendly local rivals Eastbourne A and the second game, against ex-pat team Entente Cordiale, produced a 2-0 win.

The team was on a roll and growing in confidence. More goals followed in a 5-1 success against Aulnay B.

Over lunch the team realised it was in with a chance of winning the Plate competition if it could come out on top in the last two matches.

Margaret Blurton, captain of the the Old Bexhillians walking football tournament team, holds the trophy aloft

Old Bexhillians’ next game was against Eastbourne B and it proved their hardest of the day, yet a good break and a superb strike from Richard Lang secured a 1-0 victory.

Eastbourne B were a strong attacking side, but the Old Bexhillians were well-marshalled defensively and goalkeeper Mick Southon pulled off some fine saves.

Old Bexhillians were back on the attack in their final game to win 4-0 against French team Limoges to clinch the Plate competition with five straight victories.

Across the games, goals had come from all the players bar the goalkeeper, namely Margaret Blurton, Peter Lipka, John Martin and Richard Lang, the latter being loaned from the Aulnay club to make up the numbers.

Margaret Blurton, captain of the the Old Bexhillians tournament team, said: “We enjoyed the opportunity to meet other teams. It was a very friendly, welcoming atmosphere, as well as a great chance to explore a beautiful region of France.

“It was also an opportunity to support the growth of walking football in a country where it is not yet as developed as in the UK, which now has 800 teams.

“It was great to bond as an individual squad, as well as an international group of sports men and women, although I was one of only two women taking part. We were delighted with our trophy.”