With conditions and facilities near perfect, AWF walked into this tournament full of confidence. 4 games in 2 hours, 2 halves of 8 mins.
With referees fresh out their walking football wrappers, the team kicked off against DUCT. An extremely nervous affair with Kev Craib the one to settle his nerves first and score a brace to befit any opening game of a tournament. (2-1)
Catching their breath for their next game, it was about to dawn on the team that the referees, although new to the game had grabbed the rules by the scruff of it’s neck and applied them firmly and fairly. Players were pulled for running and too many touches and before the team knew it they were up against a dogged Kirkcaldy team who took their chances in an evenly matched 2nd game. Windaeman scored a sublime goal only to run out 1-2 losers.
Game 3 matched AWF up with Raith Rovers. From kick off it appeared AWF had found their step. Great interplay and passing saw them easily have a few shots on goal with Raith Rovers not able to keep the ball. The first couple of minutes saw only AWF as winners of this game until their opponents scored with their first attack. Some teams would have struggled from there but Arbroath knuckled down and very quickly were back on level terms. The 3 running penalty rule then started to come into play. Arbroath first fell foul to it, losing a goal. With the game swinging one way then another, an excellent refereeing advantage saw D. Milne “race” onto the through ball to cut back for K. Craib to slot home. The veteran striker D.Milne started to take a game and the trusty left peg came on line helping to secure a 4-3 win.
Game 4 proved to be a roller coaster of a game and one that will need to be reviewed and understood if AWF are going to learn to play within the rules. This referee was a real stickler for running. No one could argue with his decisions and it really is the wake up call that perhaps ALL of Walking football required. There simply is too much running by all of us and the 4(or maybe just 3) impartial referees highlighted that well. Penalties were shared between both St James and AWF with D. Milne showing true emotion to smash a hat trick and I mean SMASH! The real kicker came at the death when AWF fell foul of the penalty rule again to make the last kick of the game the lifeline that St James took to make the game 3-3.
From the sideline, it’s easy to see the mistakes in all the games, but for the players it must be a real wake up call that everyone needs to slow down. This is by no means a criticism because we all do it. The last referee was as fair as any but took particular exception to anything that was remotely like a run. Even the 2 step run (which is a run) was penalised. He spotted guys off the ball running too. The referee set his stall out early and AWF didn’t adapt to it. If we can recognise the stickler of a referee, then we can adapt. You can’t knock the ball past someone and overtake them expecting the ref not to pull you up. You’re going to have to pass your way round players. Penalties will undo the great performances. But we all know that now.
Great performance by the team and the Management. But I’m sure we can all agree, this league is not going to be a walk in the park.