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Amputee footballers get in on the action
Buy this photo » Oxford City Amps’ Ray Westbrook, left, battles for the ball in the match against Lancs & Mersey Amps. Pictures: OX58049 Antony Moore
AMPUTEE footballers from across England came to Oxford as the city hosted a national league for the first time.
Teams from Manchester, Preston and London travelled to take part in the games staged by the England Amputee Football Association. The league competition was launched in January.
Saturday’s games were played at Oxford City FC’s Community Arena in Marston.
The sides included Oxford City Amps, formed last year by Jericho literary agent James Catchpole.
Mr Catchpole – whose right leg was amputated due to an illness when he was 18 months old – said: “It was extremely exciting to host the games, especially for all of us in the south.”
Following the side’s defeat in all three games, Mr Catchpole said: “It was not their best day.”
He added: “When people lose a leg, people always assume they will never be able to play again.
“It’s a case of showing people who have just lost legs that they can play football.”
The 32-year-old, who is also a member of the Great Britain development squad, said: “It’s not recognised as a Paralympic sport, sadly. We’re pushing hard for it.
“We have a World Cup every two years and a Euro as well.”
The Oxford side includes players from further afield, including Birmingham and Cambridge.
Joe Willmott, 20, from Birmingham, who lost a leg four years ago due to cancer, previously travelled to Manchester to play the sport.
He said: “It’s much better for me here.
“It is very important to have this team, because there isn’t one in Birmingham.”
Hertfordshire’s Michael Masters, 26, lost his leg when he fell in the gap between a train and a station platform on the London Underground in 2007.
He said: “I joined the team just to get back playing again. It is an opportunity to play football. It took me a while to play, I didn’t know about it until James told me.”
For more information about Oxford Amps, call Mr Catchpole on 07789 588070 or see theeafa.co.uk
- The results of Saturday’s matches were: London Amps 0 Manchester Amps 1; Oxford City Amps 0 Lancs & Mersey Amps 2; London 2 Oxford 1; Lancs & Mersey 1 Manchester 3; Lancs & Mersey 2 London 1; Oxford 1 Manchester 2.