Uxbridge Amblers have gone from strength to strength during 2016. Both on and off the pitch, with success in tournaments at home and abroad, a number of successful social events, the continued development of walking football with the Middlesex County FA and the raising of several thousand pounds for local charities. Thanks to Dave Gentry and Pete Dean for their efforts in boosting the charitable donations this year.
The year started with a visit to the Amblerdome by the Mayor and Mayoress of Hillingdon to watch a demonstration of walking football and the presentation of cheques for Prostate Cancer (£2,000.00) and to DASH (Disabled Association of Hillingdon) for £300.00.
At the end of January, the Amblers were successful by winning the trophy at the Herefordshire Walking Football Tournament. This was followed by an enjoyable evening in Hereford, hosted by our friends the “Scrumpy Boys”.
February, and Barry ran a successful first aid course, congratulations to Jim, Mel, Dave, Lakhi, Chris, Pete & John for completing the course.
In March, the Amblers organised a Swing & Soul Night which was well supported and sold almost 100 tickets, raising over £600.00 for our charities. The Darjeeling at Ickenham was the venue for the first Curry Night of the year and was well attended by up to 20 Foxes with a great time had by all. Later in the month we hosted Wealdstone for a friendly at the Amblerdome. Also, Mick Geraghty presented a cheque for £400.00 to the Hillingdon Brain Tumour and Injury Group.
At the beginning of April the Amblers travelled overseas to Lignano, Italy to compete in the Stannah European Masters and returned victorious as champions. Not only did the Amblers Blue win the trophy, but the Amblers Yellow finished as runners up, a great achievement for our club and probably the high point of the whole year. As expected, this was well celebrated in true Amblers style during that weekend. April also saw Mick Harvey’s fourth Amblers Quiz Night and the first of the year, which was well attended and raised over £500.00 for our partner charities.
In May, the Amblers supported the DASH Walking Football Festival at the Amblerdome which was well organised by their member, William. This was an enjoyable day attended by young and old alike. On the field in May, the Amblers progressed through from the Middlesex Round of the National Cup in both the Over 50s and Over 60s age brackets and were also successful in retaining the Woking Cup, beating Caterham in the final by 3-0. At the end of May, Bunker turned 60 (sorry Bunker, but it can’t be a secret!) and an evening out in Ickenham was the order of the day (and night). The last weekend of May was the first Amblers Walking Football Tournament and we welcomed a number of teams, including our friends from the Netherlands, WF Estria. Unfortunately we couldn’t win our own tournament as Wealdstone won the Graham Barnes trophy.
In June, on the field the Amblers retained the Berks & Bucks Tournament trophy and the DASH Amblers won the Middlesex Disability County Cup and off the field the Darjeeling in Ickenham was again the location for the second Curry Night of the year.
July saw the Amblers start a partnership with Queens Park Rangers, whereby we would assist them in developing walking football for their community. Another of Mick Harvey’s successful Quiz Nights raised another £450.00 for our charities.
August and we had a visit from Andy Sinton (ex-England, Brentford, QPR, Sheffield Wednesday, Spurs and Wolves midfielder) through our partnership with QPR, with a promise of more visits to come next year. We organised our first Race Night which was a lot of fun and again was well supported by the Silver Foxes and their guests.
Into September and the Amblers were involved in more on the field action. A trip to the Etihad in Manchester for the Manchester City tournament had mixed reviews, due to the amount “running” involved. This was followed by success in the Over 50s Regional Final of the National Cup, unfortunately, the Over 60s had to bow out at this stage. The main social event of the month was the Annual Beano and this year we travelled to Portsmouth, with visits to the Historic Docks and several watering holes around the town.
In October, the Amblers Over 50s were beaten in the South East Finals of the National Cup by Herne Bay, who went on to become the eventual winners. Towards the end of October, the first annual Amblers Beer Festival (Wetherspoons Real Ales at Uxbridge, Ruislip Manor and Ickenham) was well attended and a different brew was sampled on each round. The following day was the first Amblers Boules Competition, as we branch out to other activities.
November’s social event was another Quiz Night. Well done to Mick Harvey for continuing to come up with the questions. This event raised another £600.00 for our nominated charities. Towards the end of November, the Amblers Christmas Bash was a Chinese meal at the ROC Cottage restaurant in Ickenham and again was fully subscribed by the Silver Foxes.
Into December and as the year comes to a close, our last club night of the year was last Friday and tonight, we are enjoying a Christmas Drink with our wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and carers, looking back at the highlights of 2016 and what we can look forward to in 2017.
Next year, the Amblers have another full social diary, with a Curry Night (January), Quiz Night (February), Swing & Soul Night (March) and Race Night (April), plus a Casino Evening and Foot Golf being planned and, of course the third annual Beano and second Beer Festival. On the football front, a three counties friendly league, a tournament in Wiltshire in January and the setting up of a Middlesex League will mean more competitive football next year for Over 50s and Over 60s. The Amblers will also be defending the European Masters Championship in Italy in May. On our charity work, we will be welcoming the Mayor and Mayoress of Hillingdon once again to the Amblerdome in January to publicise our new charities for the year ahead.
So, with a successful 2016 behind us and 2017 ahead, we must give a huge thank you to Mick Harvey, club Chairman for his efforts including the Quiz Nights, Mick Geraghty for all things football, including Friday night training sessions, Dave Ball for all things media, including the Web site, Facebook and Twitter posts and John Handell for looking after all the club’s Financial affairs and the club shop. Without their hard work, Uxbridge Amblers wouldn’t be what it is today. A big thank you also goes to all the Silver Foxes for your continued support and attendance on Friday nights, and at matches and social events. Your efforts make it all worthwhile and have made Uxbridge Amblers one of the leading clubs in the rapidly growing sport of Walking Football, including over £6,000.00 raised in our first two years.
Well done all, I wish you a Happy New Year, and remember…..
Ken Wood - Ambler since August 2015. Life long Watford fan