RIVERSIDERS UNITED hosted South Lakeland’s inaugural five-a-side football tournament for disabled players at Kendal Leisure Centre on Saturday.
A total of 12 teams from Cumbria, Lancashire and Durham competed, with Inter St. Annes – a team name influenced by their Italian coach – crowned champions.
Westmorland Football Association chairman Gary Aplin presented members of the Inter St. Annes side with their trophy but complimented all players on their enthusiasm and determination.
“In all my travels watching football across Europe he had seldom seen football played in such a positive and entertaining manner,” he said.
As well as the FA, the event was sponsored by Kendal and District Lions Club, National Mencap and the Riversiders Trust, with trustee Kevin Jones declaring the event a success.
“From the feedback we’ve had the tournament was absolutely wonderful, really good,” he said.
“Some of the teams have written to us and emailed the coach of the team Paul Gillard to say how fantastic it was and how all their members really enjoyed it.
“They also said they want to come again next year and do it again so you can’t say better than that really.”
Riversiders United – currently the only disabled football team in South Lakeland – meets for coaching and a five-a-side game every Wednesday at Kendal Leisure Centre between 5pm and 6pm.
They regularly play in tournaments organised by Lancashire FA and Cumberland FA although the competition at Kendal Leisure Centre was the first of its kind in South Lakeland.
Building on the success of their most-recent event, Riversiders United already have a firm commitment penned in their diary.
“As far as the football team is concerned, we’re going to Kendal Town when they play Darlington 1883 on February 1 to have a half-time penalty shoot-out against Tim Farron MP,” he added.
Riversiders are very keen to encourage more volunteers to develop other sports such as ladies netball and other activities such as arts and crafts, cooking and baking, IT, music and dance.
For further information, please contact Kevin Jones on 07855 954905 or Karen Kidd, the club leader at Oaklea Trust, on 01539 735025.
Teams Involved: Riversiders United (Two teams), Lancaster Lightning, Might Oaks (Carlisle), Sale and Altrincham Mencap, Eden Mencap, Hastwell Mencap (County Durham, Two teams), Inter St. Annes, All-Star Rangers (Fylde), Fleetwood Town , Fleetwood Flyers