It’s a busy time of year for Santa but even so he took some time out on Sunday to play for Raith Rovers A in the inaugural Raith Rovers Christmas cup. In what is hoped to be a new annual event 8 teams were due to face off at Starks Park. Unfortunately Dundee United had to pull out which left 7 teams playing in two groups (one of four and one of three). Santa’s team were in the group of three so had only two games to play in the initial round meaning every result counted.
The first team up were Arbroath. A Walking Football Scotland East Region League team who Rovers had played a few times this year. A tight game was witnessed by the packed(?) crowd with Raith squandering a lot of chances that on any other day would have been buried. And they were to be punished with a late Arbroath goal. No matter how many chances and how much possession you have if you don’t take your chances you don’t win.
The second game, against St James B, was now a must win game for Raith A. With Arbroath having beat St James B in the first game of the group they had already won the group so whoever won this one would have the more favourable draw in the next round. The game started well for Raith and with a 2-0 lead it was time to bring on Santa. And Santa gave the team the perfect present with a glorious drive from the right of the goal into the back of the net to make it 3-0. But the presents didn’t stop there as Santa helped himself to another. Excellently blocking a throw out by the keeper with his knee Santa sent a controlled lob over the keeper’s head and into the goal for what had to be the goal of the tournament. Well maybe not but it will be talked about for a long time. Certainly by Santa it will.
And so to the 1/4 final. A tie against Linlithgow Rose. A team Raith last played in the Semi final on their way to winning the Scottish Cup in June. A good win for Raith to progress to the semi final in a “competitive” game saw Santa contribute but not score.
The semi final was always going to be a tight affair coming up against Walking Football Scotland East Region League rivals Fife Wanderers. The last game was a comprehensive 2-0 win for Raith with once again many chances missed. This game proved a lot tighter with a 1-1 draw perhaps being the fair result. However this being a semi final a result is needed and so we move to penalties. There’s not much in the penalties but Raith squeak through and move onto the final.
Against St James A!! St James ran away with the Walking Football Scotland East Region League earlier this year winning 16 of their 21 games and only losing once. This was going to be a tough one and Santa would have to use all his contacts in the ethereal world to help Raith pull this off. And that’s what he did, for a bit. A 2-0 lead coming up to half time saw Raith looking comfortable. But a team doesn’t win the league by giving up and a late goal in the first half brought St James back into the game promising an interesting second half. A penalty for St James for a 3rd running infringement brought them level. Game on!
Now things were getting serious and Santa had to take notes for some last minute gift cancellations as tempers got the better of some players. There’ll be a few lumps of coal in a few stockings this year!!
And then the game was over and once more penalties were needed. St James won the toss and elected to shoot first.
St James Goal 1-0
Raith (Willie Carrol) Goal 1-1
St James Save (Martin Page) 1-1
Raith (Jimmy Robertson) Goal 1-2
St James Goal 2-2
Raith (Scott Jackson) Goal 2-3
St James Goal 3-3
Raith (Derek Finnie) Goal 3-4
St James Goal 4-4
Raith (John Wylie) 4-5
And that’s it all over. Another piece of Silverware for Raith Rovers Over 50s Walking Football team.
It’s been a good year.