A combined team of walking footballers from Heart of Midlothian and Ayr United have won the International Super Masters 5-aside Over 65s Walking Football World Cup following a dramatic penalty shoot-out against auld enemy England.
The players who were runners up in last year’s competition were invited by tournament organisers to represent their country once again and this time they went one better, bringing the prestigious trophy back across the border.
Teams from Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, Gibraltar and Holland took part in the annual tournament which was held at Bristol University on Saturday.
Gibraltar’s national team provided the first opposition for the Scots and late goals from Harry Harvie and Tom Dowman secured a 2-0 victory and the first points of the day.
After a break in play, back to back games with Canada, represented by Inter UBC Veterans and then England, represented by Birmingham City, followed, and both matches ended goalless.
Next up were Holland’s international team who fielded a strong side containing three time European Cup winner Sjaak Swart, European Golden Boot winner Kees Kist and World Cup finalists Dick Schoenaker and Wim Rijsbergen.
In a hard-fought encounter, Captain Jimmy Bremner opened the scoring however a quickly taken free kick produced an equaliser before Tom Dowman grabbed a deserved winner.
The final ‘round robin’ fixture was against the Welsh national team and the Scots raced into a two-goal lead through Harry Harvie and Jim Bremner. Wales did manage a late consolation goal but the Scots held on to secure the two points.
At the conclusion of the fixtures, the Scots topped the table with eight points, one ahead of nearest rivals England and the pair faced each other in a winner takes all final.
The Scots dominated the game and took a deserved lead through Harry Harvie only for the English to equalise with the last kick and the final was decided on penalties.
Jimmy Bremner, John Crawford and Billy Thomson all converted from the spot whilst goalkeeper David Barr produced two fine saves to secure the coveted trophy and celebrations went long into the night.
Walking Football Scotland Chairman Gary McLaughlin congratulated the squad for their achievement.
“Everyone involved with walking football in Scotland are tremendously proud of the victorious squad. Well done to you all. This victory moves the selection of representative squads up the agenda for Walking Football Scotland. Starting out you usually have objectives and something to aim for. Winning the World cup, raises a challenging question for us. Where do we go from here?”
Jim Kirk the trip organiser and squad player said,
“It was a joy and a privilege for me at 72 years and 10 months old to play for Team Scotland In the International Super Masters 5-a-side Walking Football World Cup in Bristol, England and to Win this year’s competition after being runners up in Wales last year was an absolutely fabulous and emotional experience.
It was a moment in History and in my footballing life which will never be forgotten and it is only now that, as we have returned home to Ayrshire, I can reflect and realise just what we have achieved as “Team Scotland” +65’s Squad. We topped the League after the round robin sessions and, as last year, remained undefeated through 5 games. Winning the 2018 final, against a strong England Team, meant that we had put together a consecutive run over two years of 11 matches in this tournament undefeated, I would think a unique record for a Scottish Squad at any level.
The Squad was a real “TEAM” with everyone playing their part, from Jason Butler our Coach, David Watson our Manager, all the players as well as our own Tartan Army David Walkingshaw and Norrie Campbell. What a supreme honour it was for me personally to take part with these great teammates and now true friends. Superb”
Scotland Squad : David Barr (Hearts), Allan Thomson (Hearts), Jimmy Bremner (Hearts), Harry Harvie (Ayr United), Tom Dowman ( Ayr United), Billy Thomson (Ayr United), Chris Johnston (Ayr United), John Crawford (Ayr United) and Jim Kirk (Ayr United).
Manager David Watson and Coach Jason Butler.