A group of ‘senior’ gentlemen walking footballers have just returned from Majorca where they were competing in the Majorca International Walking Football Tournament.

The Wentworth Wanderers are based at Wentworth Leisure Centre, where they practice twice weekly.

They took part in the 2018 and 2019 Majorca competitions; and also, the 2022 and 2023 tournaments, with some success.

Relishing the opportunity once again to relive their youth and pit their football skills against foreign opposition as well as other English teams, a squad of 12 local men who play walking football on a weekly basis headed to Santa Ponsa in the south west of the island.

The first day saw the preliminary rounds of the over-65’s competition, and Wentworth were pleased to qualify for the semi-finals after playing seven matches, winning five, and drawing two, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two in the process.

The over-60’s competition took place the following day, and the Hexham team were unable to continue their form of the previous day, only winning two and drawing two of their seven matches.

Sadly, this left them in fifth position of their group of eight, with only the top four teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.

However, the over-70’s fared better and in their eight games, they won three and drew five, scoring 18 goals and only conceding once. This meant that both the over-65’s and the over-70’s were unbeaten in the group stages, and qualified for the semi-finals.

Semi-finals and finals were played on the third day and in temperatures of 25 degrees. In the over 65’s semi-final, Wentworth Wanderers were up against Playa Flamenca from Spain, and after a drawn match in the group stages, it was always going to be a tight game and so it proved with a final score of 0-0.

Penalties would decide who would go through to the final, and the Wentworth penalty takers held their nerve to send their team through 3-2. In the final later that day, Wentworth Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers were led onto the pitch behind the flag of St George, and lined up whilst the National Anthem was played, with a large crowd in the stands watching on.

The game started at a ferocious pace although there were few goal-scoring opportunities. Eventually, it was Blackburn who managed to score to lead 1-0 and then play out time until the final whistle. It was a close game which could have gone either way.

In the over-70’s semi-final, Wentworth defeated Den Haag Old Stars from the Netherlands 3-0 which took the team through to the final against Duno Allstars, also from the Netherlands.

Both teams again lined up whilst the national anthems of both countries were played. Duno were favourites after beating Slavia Karlovy from Czechoslovakia 4-3 in their semi-final. Both teams had chances to score in a very closely fought game but the Wentworth defence held out and the game ended 0-0. The competition would be decided on penalties and sadly Duno Allstars were to triumph 5-4.

When the presentation of trophies took place, Wentworth Wanderers players were each presented with their runners-up medals for both competitions, and two large trophies to bring back to Hexham.

A magnificent achievement for the teams to reach two finals, with their success built on a solid defence which conceded very few goals. The dates of next year’s competition are already in the diary as Wentworth Wanderers look to go one better in the 2025 tournament.

New players are always welcome and information regarding walking football is always available at reception in the Wentworth Leisure Centre or on 07525 211485.