36 teams, 6 pitches, 2 categories and over 130 games in two days. Teams from the Algarve, England, Scotland, France and Canada gathered together at Browns in Vilamoura last week for the 5th Edition of the Algarve Walking Football Cup.
The Algarve showed her best side with the golden sun shining in the cloudless sky for the 9 am start on Friday morning. Games ran on (no pun intended) throughout the day until 18h00 and continued onto qualification and final stages on Saturday 5th October. Sixteen teams participated in the over 50s category and twenty in the over 60s, with players just starting their walking football career to 80-year-old, Peter Walpole, winner of the “forever young award” given to the oldest participant in the tournament.
The sport has definitely grown in recent years with over 1000 teams registered in the UK alone and more and more teams forming in other European countries. The growth of the game in the Algarve alone has been tremendous, with teams growing and multiplying across our southern towns.
Every player has their own personal story on how the game has improved their physical health, but the common theme is certainly that of friendship and the experiences gained by sharing the common passion for this wonderful sport.
The way the tournament at Browns was structured is in itself social; all the teams played throughout the 2 day period, with 7 to 8 games for each team. The scores are tallied up and over 12 teams got up on stage to accept their trophy at the award ceremony held at the tournament’s barbeque.
In the over 50s category, Final Cup winners were local team Olhão, Plate winners Heart of Midlothian, the Bowl Trophy went to Sheffield Wednesday and Tavira won the Wood Final.
The final classification of the over 60s category saw Birmingham Greens victorious, Ormskirk South winning the Plate final, Tullibody Reds winners of the Bowl Final and Tweedvale Yellows accepting the winning trophy for the Wood Final.
After the award ceremony, the party continued with local DJ Simon Perry on stage playing songs that got everyone moving, which some may say was a form of active recovery!
Next year Browns will host the 5th edition of the Browns Walking Football Festival in May followed by the 6th edition of the Algarve Walking Football Cup in October.
More information can be found on the event's official facebook page: www.facebook.com/walkingfootballatbrowns