Two football teams made up of Fit Rovers veterans received mixed fortunes as they faced a tough opposition in Barnsley FC’s Fit Reds at Oakwell Stadium on Saturday.
Fit Reds, the men’s health project at Barnsley FC’s Reds in the Community, boasted an impressive result in the 9-a-side contest, whilst also coming from two goals down to salvage a draw in the 11-a-side game.
After the match, players from both sides got together for a bite to eat and a drink, strengthening the relationship between Fit Rovers and Fit Reds.
The matches were entertaining throughout, especially the 11-a-side matchup, which ended in thrilling fashion, Fit Rovers holding out for a 3-3 draw. After seeing both a 2-0 and 3-1 lead slip, the men from the award-winning men’s health project in Doncaster survived a late Fit Reds onslaught to gain a much-deserved draw.
Adam Hogg scored the opening goal of the game for Fit Rovers in the second half, before Dave McDonald doubled Rovers’ lead with an excellent finish in the bottom corner.
After conceding a soft goal, Fit Rovers found another gear, as Dave Wells-Burr used his pace to run clear and execute a fine finish to restore Rovers’ two goal cushion.
As fatigue began to set in, Fit Reds restored parity, scoring twice in ten minutes to level the scores, before a frantic finish saw Gareth Dawson almost score from the halfway line for Fit Rovers.
The 9-a-side game, which was tailored for those who are used to a slower, steadier game pace, saw Fit Rovers beaten by their Barnsley counterparts. The result, however, is not the sole focus of these games.
Fit Rovers prides itself on its inclusivity, giving those who would never take part the chance to don the Doncaster Rovers badge and represent Fit Rovers. Mark Johnson, a veteran from the first ever Fit Rovers course, would never have played football if not for the opportunities presented by the health and wellbeing team.
Health and wellbeing manager at Club Doncaster Foundation, Nick Gillott, said: “There were mixed fortunes for both squads at Oakwell, but we are extremely proud of every single player that put a Rovers kit on.
“The ethos of the project has and always will be inclusivity, not ability, when it comes to playing football. The result is not important, all we want to see is vets playing football with a smile on their faces.
“To other clubs, the win is the most important thing, but here at Fit Rovers we will continue to stick to our principles as long as the project is running."
There are still places available on the final Fit Rovers course for 2019, which begins on October 10.
Interested? Get in touch with the health and wellbeing team on 01302 764663, or alternatively at firstname.lastname@example.org.