The Herefordshire Mind Veterans League came to its conclusion on Sunday with two-times Runners Up Hinton FC overcoming Civil Service in a thrilling Shield Final. Holme Lacy secured a convincing 3-0 victory over Fownhope in the Plate competition to bring the season to a close.
With the addition of two new teams coupled with a shortened season due to the impact of Coronavirus, the competition took on a new look for 2020 with the clubs split into two groups of 4. From here the top two in each group qualified for the League Shield with the bottom two continuing into the League Plate.
After a fiercely fought group stage, last season’s top 3 were joined by league new boys Shobdon FC in the Shield semi-finals with the two group winners, Civil Service and Hinton, successfully navigating their way to the final on 13th September. Meanwhile in the Plate competition, Holme Lacy continued to improve as the competition went on, narrowly beating Hay in the first semi-final as Fownhope won a battle of a match against Hereford City. This form continued into the final day for Holme Lacy as a powerful attacking performance saw them prove too much for Fownhope on the day.
In the main event, Civil Service looked comfortable in the first half as they dominated the match and took a deserved 2-0 lead into half-time. It looked like Service were all set to retain their title until a Hinton goal in the second half reduced the deficit and left Civil Service rocking, and when they pulled level it looked like extra time was beckoning. A dramatic late goal left Civil Service with too much to do and Hinton held on to celebrate a deserved comeback. After finishing second twice in the last two seasons, the Hinton squad finally have their hands on the Veterans Shield which was presented by Herefordshire Mind CEO Alicia Lawrence. In the final match of the day, Belmont Wanderers and Shobdon pulled out all the stops for the crowd in an end-to-end 11 goal extravaganza with Belmont pulling away at the end to win 7-4 and finish 3rd for the second season in a row.
Joe Mathias, League Secretary was delighted with how the season unfolded
“For a while it looked like the veterans’ season wouldn’t be taking place this year so it’s brilliant to see it all culminate like it has done today. Full credit to all the teams and match officials who got themselves organised and ready to go in just a couple of weeks after we received the green light – the new format has worked really well and ensured that the competition between teams remains high throughout. The feedback from the teams has been really positive and I’ve been told there is interest in continuing the Veterans football on Sundays during the regular season so this is definitely something we will be looking at.”
For the first time this season, the league was sponsored by Herefordshire Mind. Alicia Lawrence, who presented the League Shield to Hinton FC added
“Herefordshire Mind was delighted to support the HFA Veterans league as we recognise what a positive impact physical exercise can have on someone's mental health. Team sports such as football also bring the added benefit of personal connection and a sense of belonging that can really help maintain positive wellbeing.
We also recognise that male suicide remains the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 in the UK and we are keen to promote our new Safe Haven service which can provide support for anyone at the point of crisis. Our service is available Sun, Mon and Tues evenings by phone (01432 372407) and email email@example.com or through pre booked face to face appointments. We work across Herefordshire to ensure that no one has to face a Mental Health problem alone.”
The Herefordshire Mind Veterans Football League offers competitive 11-a-side football for male players aged 35+. Anyone interested in participating should contact Joe.Mathias@HerefordshireFA.com