A TEAM of walking footballers from Hexham have returned home after reaching the quarter finals of an international tournament.

The six-a-side team Wentworth Wanderers progressed through the group stage of the Majorca Walking Football Tournement, before reaching the knock-out rounds.

They bowed out after losing their quarter final 2-1 against a Sheffield Hallam side which went on to win the tournament.

Hallam’s star player was none other than former England, Newcastle United and Sunderland player Chris Waddle, now aged 57.

“He’s still got a great footballing brain,” said Wentworth Wanderers’ player Roger Waters.

“It was quite something to be on the same pitch as him. He didn’t move about like he once did, but he used the ball well and orchestrated all of their passing moves.”

The tournament also included teams from Hull, Leyton Orient, Edinburgh Spartans, and a side from Feyenoord in Holland.

It was played on 4G outdoor surfaces, which provided a different experience to the indoor pitches at Hexham’s Wentworth Leisure Centre, where the team is based.

Richard added: “We had a wonderful time. The standard of play was harder than we expected, but we came through it all right.

“We reached the quarter finals and bowed out against the best team in the tournament.

“We were quite happy to lose just 2-1, which was very respectable.”

Wentworth Wanderers played in the over 55s category of the Majorca Walking Football Tournament.

They were almost eligible for the over 65s, but one of their squad wasn’t quite old enough.

Entering the tournament was new ground for the players.

Walking football was rolled out at Wentworth two years ago in a bid to help people in their 50s and over to get back into football.

Richard said the sport can also help people recovering from illness or injury to gain regular exercise.

He added: “Walking football rules ensure there is no physical contact between the players, and that the game is played at a strictly walking pace.

“But playing the game again has allowed the players to step back in time and emulate, or at least try to emulate, their feats from many years ago.”

Between 12 and 18 people regularly attend the Wentworth sessions, which are available for men and women aged over 55.

They are organised and supervised by Active Northumberland.