Ballina players strut stuff on a bigger stage
Ballina's fledgling Walking Football competition has received a major shot in the arm with two regular players getting to strut their stuff on a much bigger stage.
Scott Lynch and Henri Rennie found themselves part of the halftime entertainment in an A-League game between the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City at Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe.
They played for a combined side taking on Bayside United in a demonstration match during halftime in the national soccer league game.
It was a big change from their regular Thursday evening match at Saunders Oval in Ballina, where any crowd would be friends, family and the odd seagull.
Instead, Lynch and Rennie were on the field in front of 9000.
Although they played well - and Rennie scored the opening goal - there was no fairytale finish as Bayside came back to win 3-1.
However, according to Rennie, it was still a wonderful opportunity to showcase the fledgling sport, which came to Ballina earlier this year and it is hoped will spread to other areas around the North Coast.
"Walking Football is a great opportunity for people who otherwise may feel their sporting days are behind them to get out and be active," he said.
"We've got players who've had heart surgery, knee replacements, or just thought they were too old to keep up, competing and enjoying being part of a team."
Of course it's the social element that is one of the sport's biggest attractions and since earlier this year men and women of all ages and levels of experience have been heading to Saunders Oval each Thursday from 6pm to play, stay fit and make new friends.
"Even in a game like this, in such a competitive arena, the spirit of mateship between the players on both sides was terrific," Rennie said.
For more information, contact Paul Connellan on 0412 692162 or email John Galletly at john_galletly57@ hotmail.com.