It was the Rovers show at the FA People’s Cup, first round walking football stage, as both Blackburn teams that entered reached the final.
Rovers headed across to PlayFootball in Bury with a strong pool of players at their disposal which allowed coach Billy Legg to enter two teams of six players for the five-a-side competition.
The teams, named after the colours of the Rovers kits they were wearing, ‘Blue’ and ‘White’, reached the final to face off against each other, with team Blue running out 4-1 winners.
Steven Riley, Tony Hartley, Trevor Hanson, Tony Jones, Stuart Dunn and Colin Green represented the Blues, as they kicked matters off in a four-team group stage victories over Third Space Seniors (Bolton), 6-2, Middleton Legends City, 6-0, and Burnley, 7-1.
Riley in goal, and defender Hartley made sure that whenever any danger arose it was dealt with. The goals in the league section were scored by Hanson (3) from his defensive role, Jones (4), Green (1) from midfield and Striker Dunn grabbed 11 including five against Burnley.
The Blue team was made up of John Sykes, Mick Stockley, Ian McCann, Gordon Arkwright, Barry Kirby and Mark Jenkinson. Their wins in a five-team group had much tighter scorelines than the White’s group but they also managed a 100% record with wins against Bury Relics, (2-0), Chorley Legends, (2-0), Third Space Old Codgers (Bolton), (3-2), and Middleton Legends United, (1-0).
Tough tackler Stockley marshalled the defence alongside McCann, who also got forward to back up the strikers. Keeper Sykes made key saves to keep the Blues in the hunt for progression to the semi-finals.
Midfielder Jenkinson was commanding in the heart of the team, providing a link between defence and attack, where Kirby and Arkwright were too good on the ball for the opposing defenders, capitalising on the creative platform provided by the players behind them.
The goals came from Arkwright (4), Kirby (2), and one each for Jenkinson McCann and Stockley and with them a place in the semi-finals against Third Space Seniors, runners up from the other group.
In the semi-finals both the Blues and the Whites proved too strong for their opponents. The Blues went through courtesy of a 3-1 win over Third Space Seniors (Bolton), with one goal from McCann and two from Arkwright.
The Whites followed in similar fashion by beating Middleton Legends 4-1 with a hat trick from Dunn and the other courtesy of a good goal from Jones.
Reaching the final meant that both teams had qualified for the next round in March, so the last-game decider was one for internal glory, which went the way of the Blues with a 4-1 victory.
Their quick passing and intelligent defence proved too much for the below par Whites and despite Dunn’s 15th goal of the afternoon, the Blues took the bragging rights with two from Arkwright and one each from Stockley and McCann.
If you want to find out more information about walking football at Blackburn Rovers, please email Adam.Aspinall@brfctrust.co.uk.