Grimsby Ancient Mariners walking footballers triumph to make the National Finals
Working with Grimsby Town Sport and Education Trust we, the Grimsby Ancient Mariners, entered a team in the 2018 EFL Walking Football Cup, the first round matches to be played in Barnsley's Oakwell Ground.
Taking a squad of nine players, playing six-a-side, we joined up with teams from Mansfield, Sunderland, Bradford City and our arch rivals, Scunthorpe United.
Playing in a round robin where all teams play each other, that's four matches, 10 minutes each way, a total of 80 minutes football played on a warm afternoon in deepest Yorkshire.
The first match versus Mansfield saw the Grimsby team run out convincing winners 4-0, they dominated and some poor finishing kept the score reasonable.
The next game, against Sunderland, started off extremely well, racing into a two goal lead but just on half time the opponents pulled a goal back rather luckily, a fumble from the GAM keeper.
Bouyed on by this stroke of good fortune they pressed for the equaliser and eventually got it, then right on the final whistle a hit and hope shot flew in off the post giving them a 3-2 victory.
Our next opponents, Bradford City has won both their opening games, although against the two weaker sides, but nevertheless they had six points.
To ensure that we took the competition into the last round we could not lose this game and we managed to stop them with a gallant 0-0 draw.
This meant that the unnygames three teams had it all to play for to join Bradford in the finals.
Against our old rivals, Scunthorpe United, it was winner takes all. Nothing short of a victory for GAM would guarantee a slot at the finals at St. George's Park, Burton, in July.
Racing into a commanding 2-0 lead, all looked rosy, but against the run of play Scunny pulled one back, half time 2-1.
The Grimsby lads were not going to miss out on the trip in July and stepped up a gear and the goals went in, 3-1, 4-1, 5-1, 5-2 before a last kick of the match saw the Ancient Mariners home by 6-2 and a trip to England's Training Camp in Burton upon Trent.
Bring on July 10, we are ready.
Picture from left to right, Len Davidson, Paul Goodhand, Andy Shaw, Alan Rodgers, Dave Hand. Front row Rob Andrew, Roger Newsom and Dave Warrender, all looking splendid in their Grimsby Town kit.