DAWLISH Women Walking Football Club returned from their first international tournament with silverware, finishing runners-up in the Plate competition at EuroCopa 2024, writes Kirsten Pybus.

This was a seven-a-side walking football tournament for women aged 40 years and over in Albufeira, Portugal. The competition took place on March 11 and 12. There were teams from Scotland, England, Spain and the host country.  

A squad of 11 players, with an average age of 56, played a day and a half of matches against 10 other teams. They finished a creditable seventh overall with four wins and five defeats. This ensured they got through to the Plate Trophy sudden-death phase. 

The semi-final saw them up against Northampton Town Ladies, who they had faced the previous day and emerged 1-0 victors. They again beat their rivals 1-0, although the scoreline did not represent their dominance in possession. 

Dawlish Women Walking Football

The Plate final was played against Steppers WOC WF team. In a tight knit game Steppers were leading 1-0 at half time. Despite valiant Dawlish efforts to equalise, Steppers scored again and the match ended 2-0.

The team worked tremendously hard but special mentions must go to Twitch, the Devon club’s Golden Boot winner, and Angio, the oldest goal-scorer of the tournament.

Jeanfield Swifts from Scotland were the overall champions of the tournament, beating Cheshunt Women on a penalty shootout in the cup final.

Dawlish captain Jacquie Cooper said, ‘It was an amazing experience watching the team grow in confidence. We went from just a small, local team to beating teams from all over Europe. 

‘We entered the tournament with no expectations but came away as runners-up after a very hard-fought semi-final and final. Every player gave their all and I am so proud of them. The atmosphere was fantastic. 

‘We have made new friendships, and all the teams brought joy and laughter to EuroCopa. Albufeira will remember Dawlish Women Walking Football Club.’

This was the first EuroCopa tournament that women have taken part in. Dawlish are hopeful that they can return to Portugal next year and go one step further.

It is hoped their success will encourage others to take part in the sport. Walking Football is designed to keep people involved in exercise for longer in a safe environment. The club formed in 2022 and trains twice a week. They also run a fun session for women aged over 50, affectionately known as Kick ’n’ Cake. 

Anyone interested in playing can contact the club on Facebook at Dawlish Women Walking Football or email [email protected].

The club would like to thank their tournament sponsors Aaron Printers, Cavanna Homes Ltd and Meadow Lakes Holiday Park for their support.