Football’s a walk in the park for over-50s

GET SET: Teams from Seaburn, Jarrow, Durham and Harton & Westoe that took part in the Durham Football Associations first walking football tournament at the Riverside Sports Complex, Chester-le-Street.
GET SET: Teams from Seaburn, Jarrow, Durham and Harton & Westoe that took part in the Durham Football Associations first walking football tournament at the Riverside Sports Complex, Chester-le-Street.
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IT was a football game in which everyone was a winner.

Four teams - including two from South Tyneside - met on the pitch yesterday in a friendly walking football tournament.

Instead of the fast game spectators are used to seeing, players were confined to chasing the ball at a speed no faster than power walking pace.

The mini tournament was sponsored by Durham County FA and Just Play FA in a bid to boost the sport - which is aiming to encourage more people over the age of 50 to join in the fun.

At Chester-le-street’s Riverside Park players - some aged in their late 60s - put on their sports gear to represent their respective teams - Harton and Westoe South Saints, Jarrow Walking Football Club, Seaburn Walking Football and Durham Old Codgers.

Chris Hutchinson, Football Officer for the FA Just Play initiative said: “We just wanted to bring the teams together for a friendly kickabout with a view of making it a regular feature once a month.

“We hope to be able to encourage more teams to get involved from other areas so we can get a league going.”

He added: “The vast majority of players who come along to the sessions are in their late 60s, but we also have players who are 85 with some as young as 58.

“Some of them have not done any exercise for a long time, but walking football gives them that opportunity to take part in a game they like to play and to socialise with others.”

Walking football is aimed at men and women over the age of 50 who want to get fit and enjoy a new lease of life.

It is played under the same rules as normal football, with a few key exceptions.

No running or jogging is allowed and it is also a non-contact sport,

Anyone interested in walking football can contact Chris on 387 2928 or e-mail chris.hutchinson@durhamfa.com.

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