Norwich rub shoulders with the elite – and come away with silverware

Norwich SOCA Seniors, Italian European Walking Football Seniors champions - Keith Starr, Barry Buxt

Norwich SOCA Seniors, Italian European Walking Football Seniors champions - Keith Starr, Barry Buxton, Chris Rackham, Dave Florido, Martin Stewart, John McBride, Geoff Brown, Rodney Smith, Mike Ottolangui. Picture: Keith Starr - Credit: Archant

It's a dream of fans from Norwich to be competing against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal – but the Norwich SOCA Seniors Walking Football club has been doing just that.

Norwich SOCA Seniors, Boston tournament winners  Martin Stewart, Jim Bond, Urban Gregory, Dave Wils

Norwich SOCA Seniors, Boston tournament winners Martin Stewart, Jim Bond, Urban Gregory, Dave Wilshire, Dave Frosdick, John Rogers, Dave Florido, Tony Hamm Picture: Keith Starr - Credit: Archant

The club added two pieces of silverware to their trophy cabinet in the space of a week after competing successfully in two major tournaments, in Italy and the UK.

The club sent two qualifying teams to Ge Tur Sports Village, just outside of Venice, to compete in the Italian European Masters and European Seniors tournaments.

Competing against some substantial clubs from Manchester City, Arsenal and Italy, the Norwich sides performed strongly.

The Senior team (over 65s) won their tournament with a two-point lead over second-placed Manchester City and the Masters team (over 50s) finished in a creditable fourth position, out of 14 in theirs.


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Masters team captain Jim Bond said: 'We would have been runners-up had it not been for that 2-1 defeat in our final match against Arsenal.'

Exactly one week later the club was back on the road, sending two more teams to play in the Boston United Walking Football tournament, a competition which attracted 18 teams from across the East of England.

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The club's first team delivered some fine football throughout the competition and progressed comfortably to the knockout stages where they met arch-rivals Norwich City FC in the semi-finals.

This must have been the game of the tournament, with the two Norwich sides evenly matched, but in the end it was a scorcher of a goal from Norwich SOCA Senior's Dave Frosdick which sent them through to the final. Frosdick scored the winning goal once more against finalists Long Bennington to secure the second tournament win in a week.

Club secretary Chris Rackham said: 'It is so gratifying that a club like ours, which welcomes and encourages older players of all abilities, can compete in these tournaments on level terms. The sportsmanlike spirit in which both these competitions were played made them very enjoyable and we should congratulate both the other participating teams and the organisers for that.'

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