EASTLEIGH Walking Football Club have once again progressed to the finals day of the National Cup, which they won last year.

Having fought their way to the regional final, overcoming local rivals Portsmouth along the way, they made the 300-mile round trip to the Kent coast for a 20 minutes each way regional final against the wonderfully named Bay City Strollers, based in Sandwich.

The long journey was worth it, as, in relentlessly rainy conditions, Eastleigh came out on top by a solitary goal to make further progress in the competition.

The result was even more impressive as the squad was depleted by the loss of regular captain Les Gatrell, Ross Everton and Barry Joslin, injured or unavailable.

Manager Martin Curtis reflected that Eastleigh were the better side and should have been out of sight by half-time, but a combination of good goalkeeping and some hesitant finishing kept the scoresheet blank.

Eastleigh continued to dominate the second half and finally put together a slick passing movement from goalkeeper to John Dymott at the back to Micky Pink who perfectly laid the ball off for James Trant to slot home the only goal of the game.

That goal came midway through the second period and Eastleigh then comfortably played out the closing minutes to earn a trip to finals day.

There they will face the other regional qualifiers and hope to emulate the success of last year when they brought back the silverware.

That finals day is Sunday, September 23, in Nottingham.

The Eastleigh squad was Ian Ritchie (captain), John Dymott, Dave Blake, Paul Fruin, James Trant, Martin Gallop, Micky Pink, Dave Wallis and Alan Powell.

This fast-growing sport is played by teams of six with three substitutes, usually on artificial turf.

Eastleigh Walking Football Club was formed in 2014 and is a part of Eastleigh FC. They meet on Thursday mornings and Monday evenings.

New players over the age of 50 of all abilities are always welcome at the sessions and typically some 30 members participate each time.