AWF travelled through to play in the Champions League finals of the Scottish Walking Football season at the superb indoor facility at Ravenscraig, Motherwell.
It involves the champions and runners-up from the East, West, and Central regions playing in a round-robin tournament.
With St. James, who are the current East champions and Champions League winners having to pull out due to injuries and transportation issues, Linlithgow Rose managed to raise a team to preserve the format.
The representative teams were: East – AWF, West – St. Anthony’s, Pollok, Central – Hearts, Linlithgow Rose and Oriam.
With sharpshooter Steve Cargill unavailable, manager Mckenzie selected a squad of GK Davie Waddell, Wullie and Kev Craib, Dave Scott, Phil Skelly, Alan Durno, Ally Gordon, big Gogs Smith, Allan Harrison and Davie Milne.
First up was Linlithgow Rose, and AWF made a great start with Gogs Smith slamming home a very early goal. This was soon added to by penalty king Kev Craib who converted a penalty after a Rose player entered his own penalty area. Skelly was then replaced by Dave Scott, who was resolute in defence for the entire tournament. Kev Craib then stroked the ball home to make it 3-0.
Next up was Pollok, who had ex-MSP Tommy Sheridan in their team and whose blatant running went unpunished for the whole game.
AWF made a few changes to the starting team and played very well but conceded a goal against the run of play. Gogs Smith capitalised on an error, and his goal ensured it was a share of the spoils at 1-1.
It was Hearts next, and both keepers were kept busy in a ding dong game; AWF was awarded a penalty due to 3 running offences and up stepped Kev Craib to put AWF 1-0 up in the battle in the maroons. The ref then inexplicably awarded Hearts a penalty in the dying embers of the game when he adjudged Scott to have entered his own penalty area, much to the bewilderment of both teams as he clearly hadn’t.
Hearts converted the kick and the game finished 1-1.
It was Oriam next, and AWF maintained their form as both teams gave a committed performance. It was Ally Gordon who put AWF up 1-0 after he controlled a raking pass from Waddell and finished sublimely. Oriam had some fine efforts on target but Waddell thwarted all attempts. It was Gogs Smith who again found his shooting boots to put AWF 2-0 up and win the 3 points.
The last game was against Glaswegian St. Anthonys who are another fine team. AWF again fought fire with fire and saved arguably their best performance until last. AWF took the lead via a Kev Craib snapshot, making it 1-0. The Saints struggled to contain Ally Gordon, and he showed great composure to put AWF 2-0 ahead. AWF defended strongly, with Scott mopping up attacks and Waddell pulling off a couple of great saves to preserve the lead. It was left to Gogs Smith to hammer home a fine shot. Gordon was then substituted for Milne after being booked by the ref for a robust challenge. AWF finished the match worthy of their 3-0 win.
After five games, AWF topped the league as undefeated champions with 11 points from a possible 15, scoring ten and conceding two, which is a testament to all players and management contributing to a resounding success for AWF and the East Region.
Report by A. Harrison
Arbroath Walking Football. Scottish Champions 2022. Pictured with Craig Brown and Matt Ramsay