West Kent Sunday League News Report – Sunday 1st September 2019

The new season of the West Kent Sunday Football League is underway. Twenty-seven teams split into three divisions will contest the various competitions. Many will also enter their respective County cups.

The league welcomes new members AFC Valour, who are based at East Peckham. Returning to the League after various absences are Charcott, Paddock Wood and Hawkhurst United. Artois United and TW Ridgewaye have entered reserve teams.

Charity Shield and a big donation to Hospice in the Weald

After three years without one, the traditional curtain-raiser took place on Friday night at Rusthall FC. Senior Cup winners Simla overcame League winners Artois United 2-0 with goals from Joe Fuller and Robie Bissett. Simla«s 'keeper Joe Cullip kept the clean sheet, which he will no doubt be hoping will be the first of many this term. 

WKSFL Chairman Stuart Turner said after the game  :

"I would like to thank all concerned with the recent Charity Shield Match between Artois and Simla which Simla won 2-0. First of all Rusthall FC who made their ground available to us at no charge.  Second, The four match officials. Referee Mick Syrett, Assistants Stephen Ryan, Dave Hogan and Jerry Annandale. The generosity of both Artois and Simla and of course all that attended the match or contributed to the two bucket collections I made at the pre-season meeting and on the night.

As a result we have been able to make a healthy donation in excess of £1000 to Hospice in the Weald. They are of course most grateful so once again many thanks."

Division One

With Simla and Artois playing on Friday, only three games were scheduled. Green Lane, who put in a serious challenge to the established order last season, started well with a 3-0 win at Pembury Sunday. Leading scorer Tom Welch kicked off his season with two of the goals, with the other coming from Bayley Colbran. Jamie Cutts was the clean sheet goalie.

Insulators were the winners in a high scoring game against St John's Yard, the score being 6-4 in their favour.  It was an end-to-end game in the sunshine that started the season for two newly promoted teams. It's fair to say that attack had the better of the day!

Insulators took a 13th minute lead when last season's top scorer, Jake Pingault, slotted past the keeper. St Johns were level within seven  minutes before Pingault ran through to score again. Billy Smith (on his debut) added a third for Insulators after some good passing, but within a minute the away side pulled it back to 3-2 with a run through the centre and free shot at goal. Two minutes later and St Johns were level with a tremendous shot from outside the area. In the 39th minute a headed own goal put 'Slators back in front.  Amazingly, six minutes without goals saw the game 4-3 at half time.

The second half threatened more of the same as Jake Pingault completed his hat trick, but then the game slowed in the warm weather and 25 minutes passed before Tom Bridger made it 6-3 after being played in by Pingault. St John's Yard completed the scoring with a free header to make it 6-4. What a thriller!

And Petts Wood Old Boys beat Armada 1-0 with a goal from Ollie Nicholas and a goalkeeper's clean sheet by Matthew Rose.

Division Two

Three games were scheduled, but at Biggin Hill a problem with the pitch caused a postponement.

Big winners of the day were FC Grinstead. Having dominated Division Three last season thus gaining promotion, they set out their stall for the new campaign with a comprehensive 7-2 at home to Speldhurst Rangers. Seven goals and seven different scorers - Tom Hawkins, Lee Warbey,  Joe Moulding, Ben Wright, Kieron Bence, Bud Brazenell and Fred Webb. Rangers replies came from James Hughes and an own goal.

In the other game, AFC Valour's debut saw them lose 2-3 to Charcott, for whom Jay Pring scored a hat-trick.  Valour’s hopes of a win in their first game back at East Peckham were dashed by two goals in the last five minutes from an impressive Charcott FC. Both sides had early chances and great goalkeeping from Mark Taylor prevented Valour going behind. The home side were the first to score and break the deadlock after Paul Shuffle-Botham was fouled by the Charcott centre back. Callum Hoare stepped up to score the penalty. A little bit of trivia for you, Hoare scored Valour’s last ever goal as a Saturday team and their first as Sunday league team. Charcott, clearly frustrated, had a rare spell of losing possession and Valour capitalised after Shuffle-Botham latched onto  a great through ball and dinked the ball past the onrushing Charcott keeper. 2-0 Valour. The home side’s chances of entering the break with a two goal lead were denied after the impressive Charcott frontman Jayson Pring neatly finished after Valour failed to clear their lines.

Second half and all to play for, Charcott maintained good possession and looked dangerous going forward. Valour defended resolutely, but struggled to keep hold of the ball. Further good goalkeeping from Mark Taylor and some wasteful finishing looked like it would be enough to earn Valour the win. However Charcott kept pressing forward and got an equaliser from close range courtesy of Pring. With their tails up Charcott were now pressing for a winner. They got their reward with two minutes to go as a long ball over the top was poorly dealt with by Valour and Pring charged through to finish emphatically and complete his hat-trick. Valour did have a chance at the death through Shuffle-Botham but some good goalkeeping prevented them recouping a point.

Overall a great game for the neutrals and Charcott! The Tonbridge based side will be a strong contender for a title challenge this season. For Valour, they go again vs TW Ridgewaye in what is expected to be another tough game.

Valour MOM - Mark Taylor  Charcott MOM - I’d imagine Jayson Pring!

Division Three

Big winners of the day were the newly formed TW Ridgewaye Reserves, who smashed Hawkhurst United 7-0. Hawkhurst's management bemoaned the fact that four players didn't turn up and were grateful that Ridgewaye subbed their best player or, they said, it could have been 20-nil! Ridgewaye did not send in their goalscorers.

A closer game was played at Ticehurst, where the Village Club beat Tonbridge Origin 3-2. Oli Marsh and Darren Nicol scored, as did an un-named Origin player into his own goal. At the correct end, Louis Quinton and Alex Webster hit Origin's replies.

Goudhurst United, last season's Junior Cup winners, replayed the final against Yalding and Laddingford to start the new season. The outcome was not as comprehensive as the Final victory, but still a good 4-2 win with which to begin the season. Familiar names on their scoresheet as well, one each from Harvey Parks, Will Mantle, Ben Young and Michael Peever.  Yalding responded with goals from Jacob Lambert and Grant Allen.

No league tables this week as not everyone has played.

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