Women in Lesmahagow are walking into better life and getting fit

Having only launched in December, Three Valleys Women walking football club already has 20 female members loving life within the sport.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

Women's walking football has really taken off in Lesmahagow
Women's walking football has really taken off in Lesmahagow

Meeting up at Lesmahagow High School between 7 and 8pm on Tuesdays, ladies aged between 32 and 73 are coached for free by Douglas-based Hazel Pringle, who also coaches Kirkfield United girls’ team.

In addition, a squad of 12 Three Valleys women play in a four-round Walking Football Scotland League at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility in Motherwell between May and October, featuring competing teams from across Scotland playing 15-minute, six-a-side matches.

Sign up to our GlasgowWorld Today newsletter

"Most of these women who have joined up had never played football before,” said club treasurer Desmond Middleton, 54.

"The ones who take part have been saying that playing is improving their mental health and social interaction, much needed since the start of Covid-19.

"Most of the players are from the Lesmahagow area but we have some that come from afar as Motherwell and Biggar.

"There’s not many opportunities for women to play walking football in Lanarkshire. We are the only team in Lanarkshire.”

If you would like to get involved with the Three Valleys Women team, contact Moira Baxter on 07576 992227.

Men wishing to get involved in the sport locally can take inspiration from Middleton, who plays for the Glenbuck and Douglas Football Academy walking football team which has been going since February 2021. They meet outdoors on Sundays, on the 3G surface at Douglas Primary School between 11am and 12 noon on Sundays.

On Saturday, June 11, Middleton and his team-mates took part in the Walking Football Scottish Cup, which was contested by over 50 teams in different categories. Glenbuck recorded two wins, a draw and a loss.

At the same event, Three Valleys women participated in the female over-40 event.

To get involved with Glenbuck, call Kevin Robertson on 07853 943975.

"An enjoyable thing about walking football is that anybody can play,” Middleton said.

"And unlike normal football, because it's slower you can talk at the same time. It’s very sociable.”

Usually officiated by SFA referees, basic rules for walking football matches in Scotland include players conceding a free-kick if they run; if they do this three times a penalty is conceded.

No high balls are allowed and it’s non contact, although players are allowed to challenge for a 50/50 ball from the front.

If an individual player touches the ball more than three times they are penalised, with a free-kick awarded to the opposition.

Outfield players can’t legally enter the goalkeeper’s defensive zone, with the keepers not allowed to exit these areas. There are kick-ins instead of throw-ins.