Waltham Forest entered 2 sides into this tournament in deepest Hampshire, and thoroughly enjoyed this fun tournament, even if we didn’t win any trophies (although Turgut did win a raffle prize).
Our Vets team was the only Over 35 team in the competition, but they acquitted themselves well against younger opposition and won 1, drew 1 and lost 3 of their Group matches.
In the first of their Group games Ferhat Erdogan gave Forest a 5th minute lead, but opponents Klopp’s Out scored two late goals to win 2-1. In their second game against Shrewton, Forest were behind without touching the ball, and a second goal after 8 minutes sealed the Wiltshire club’s victory. It was a similar story in game 3, opponents Pilot scored early on and held on to win 1-0. By game 4 Forest had mastered the art of defending and earned a 0-0 draw against Cove Manor. In their final game against Wiltshire Glass & Windows, Forest at last found form. Berk Emul gave them a 5th minute lead and 2 late goals from Erdogan gave them a 3-0 win, but not enough points to reach the knockout stages.
The other Forest team fared much better in their Group matches. Their first game, against South Coast Ink was a dour 0-0, with William Hunt making a late save to keep the point. In Game 2 against Magdon Scaffolding, Ibrahim Sari an early lead which was doubled on 7 minutes by his younger brother Ihsan. Magdon scored late on, but that proved to be just a consolation. Forest fell behind early on against Alameda in game 3, but Charlie Gregory levelled midway through the game and Claudio Jose scored a late winner. In game 4 both sides were dominant in defence, but Gregory broke the deadlock on 19 minutes to beat Brit Sport 1-0. In the final group game Ihsan Sari scored early on against Testwood Tornadoes, and Jose quickly added a seond. Gregory slotted home a penalty late on to seal a 3-0 win and first place in the group.
However, in the knockout we were drawn against Testwood again and they were far more defensively minded and the deadlock was not broken even after extra time, so a penalty shoot out was required. Testwood scored first, but Gregory’s spot kick was saved. Testwood found the net with their second penalty, but Ibrahim Sari kept Forest’s hopes alive to make it 2-1. However, Testwood’s third spot kick also went in to give them an unassailable 3-1 advantage.
The tournament saw 56 teams take part and was won by Globtrotters (from Yeovil) who beat Throop (from Bournemouth) in the final.