Hooper's superb performance moves Weston over-60s into national finals

All smiles for Weston over-60s after securing a place in the National Finals.

All smiles for Weston over-60s after securing a place in the National Finals in Barnsley. - Credit: Chris Day

Mark Hooper scored four times as Weston over-60s hit Abbeymead for five to book a place in the national finals in Barnsley.

The Seagulls made the trip up the M5 to Gloucester earlier this month on a very wet and windy day.

Despite a very tough game against Abbeymead on their own ground, they started well with Lach Geddes at the back making some good interceptions and stifling any threat from Abbeymead's strikers.

Rich Bourton was threading the ball forward to his fellow midfielders who were starting to dictate play. 

Mark Hooper received the ball and turned his defender before scoring with a crisp left foot shot to put Weston one-up.

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The same player scored two more goals in similar fashion and Weston where looking comfortable. 

A couple of decisions made by the referee saw manager Arie Van Vliet shaking his head in disbelief as two players found themselves in the sin bin.

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The Seagulls changed their shape to accommodate being men down as John Hembrow made some fine saves.

Needing to freshen things up a bit, Abbeymead made substitutions to try and get back in the game and it seemed to have work as they got one back.

This gave Abbeymead some hope but It was to be short-lived as Peter Dawes beat his man and shot from distance and scored to put Weston 4-1 up. 

Abbeymead's goalkeeper John Hammonds pulled off a series of excellent saves to keep the score down.

Rich Rzeznicki came on and calmly added to the Weston defence but Hoops had not finished his scoring for the day. 

Yet another series of twists and turns saw him score his fourth and Weston's fifth.

Terry Keeling and Keith Seabourne came on into midfield and helped Weston see out the rest of the game with some fine passing and place in the final.

"We were outstanding today and just blew Abbeymead away," said  Van Vliet 

"It's the best performance of the season.

"Hoops was unplayable today and he seems to be getting better. We now go to Barnsley in the national finals in fine form and full of confidence."

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