'It is getting harder to win year on year'
BECCLES Town player-coach Dean Bowen admitted it is getting harder to win each year after his side lifted the Suffolk FA Walking Football Cup sponsored by Replay Maintenance.
It was the fourth year that Beccles have won the competition, which saw seven teams vying for the title at Goals in Ipswich on Saturday afternoon.
Beccles topped the table following the round-robin competition with 16 points following five wins and a draw against Cornard.
Kesgrave were second with 15 points after winning five matches and losing only to Beccles, while Cornard, who drew with Beccles, were third on 11 points.
Sue Baker, office manager of competition sponsors Replay Maintenance, presents the cup to Dean Bowen, player-coach of Beccles Town
Player-coach Bowen said: “It is getting harder year on year. When we won it four years ago we had two teams enter and they both got to the final, but the standard now is far higher.
“We never take anything for granted. We know we are good footballers and always think we will be in the frame, but there is no arrogance at all – we are level-headed lads.
“It is pleasing to win again today because it is getting harder. We had six games and four were difficult games.
“It has been a long day playing in the sunshine, but because we are quite experienced now we know we need to protect our fitness for the duration of the tournament.
“We know that if we get a goal or two up how to keep our lead and then move on to the next game.”
The Beccles Town team comprised of goalkeeper Jonathan Blankley, player-coach Dean Bowen, Dave Cullen, Peter Doubleday, Ian Holmes, Peter Milton and Gary Swift.
Beccles won without either of their former Ipswich Town players – Trevor Whymark and Laurie Sivell – while Jim Wade, who is 72, would have been in the squad but was attending a trial for the FA Regional Walking Football Over-70 squad at Barnet. Whymark is a member of the regional Over-65 squad.
Dave McGregor of Coplestonians is pictured scoring in their 6-1 victory over Newmarket Ramblers during the competition at Goals in Ipswich
Suffolk FA Senior Football Development Officer Darren Scoulding, who organised the tournament, said: “It is great to see the ongoing commitment of the players and teams and the level of skill goes up every year.
“Although Beccles Town have won the cup for the fourth time they have been pushed all the way to the end.
“Although Beccles Town remain the benchmark, other teams are catching them up.
“It was nice that our sponsors, Replay Maintenance, came along to see how the game is thriving in Suffolk.”
Sue Baker, office manager of Replay Maintenance, who sponsor the Walking Football programme in Suffolk, presented the trophy.
Besides the main tournament three teams also took part in a non-competitive round-robin festival.
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Kesgrave 1 Beccles Town 5, BSE Howard 1 Newmarket Wanderers 2, Cornard 3 Newmarket Ramblers 1, BSE Howard 0 Coplestonians 6, Cornard 1 Beccles 1, Newmarket Ramblers 0 Newmarket Wanderers 1, Cornard 1 Kesgrave 2, Newmarket Ramblers 1 Coplestonians 6, Newmarket Wanderers 0 Beccles Town 1, Newmarket Ramblers 5 BSE Howard 0, Newmarket Wanderers 1 Kesgrave 2, Beccles Town 2 Coplestonians 0, Newmarket Wanderers 1 Cornard 1, Beccles Town 5 BSE Howard 0, Coplestonians 1 Kesgrave 3, Beccles Town 7 Newmarket Ramblers 0, Coplestonians 0 Cornard 1, Kesgrave 8 BSE Howard 0, Coplestonians 2 Newmarket Wanderers 1, Kesgrave 5 Newmarket Ramblers 0, BSE Howard 0 Cornard 10.