West Kent Sunday League News Report – 4th April 2021

At last! Football can be played again, for the first time since November 1st last year. Sunday morning saw twenty-four WKSFL teams in action. The Division One fixtures resume where they left off in November. However teams will play each other only twice instead of the three times it was intended. Unfortunately, it proved not possible to schedule Divisions Two and Three to be completed within the time available. Those teams are therefore contesting a Spring Cup tournament.

Sunday also saw Insulators FC presented with a slightly belated special award to note their 50 years membership of the League. More about that below.

Division One

Simla re-opened their campaign with a 2-0 win at Charcott and remain top of the table. Scorers were Harry Hudson and Brad Draper. Michael Czanner kept the clean sheet.

Second placed Green Lane had been dropping points before the shutdown, which leaves them a tough job to catch the leaders, but they have started well, recording a 4-1 win over Armada. The goals came from David Brooks, Tommy Welch, Johnny Phillips and Harry Savva. Harry Tampsett was the Armada scorer.

Dormansland Rockets picked up where they left off with a 2-1 win at Artois United after a tight game of football. It was a cagey start from both sides, with few chances being created during the opening twenty minutes, although Dormansland were aggrieved to not be awarded a penalty following a last ditch challenge on Ed Sharman in the area. They wouldn't dwell on this for too long though, as soon after they found themselves in the lead. Ali Jones dispossessed one of the Artois back line and his square ball was inadvertently turned into the Artois net by one of their own players. Following the goal Artois had the lion's share of possession but Dormansland kept their shape and didn't allow their opponents to create anything clear cut and it would remain 1-0 as the sides went in at half time.

Artois made a few substitutions at half time and started the second half brightly, with Jack Funnell in particular causing problems. As Dormansland tired, Artois' dominance grew and they could have  been level several times ,but for some very wasteful finishing. Despite not seeing much of the ball, Dormansland offered a threat going forwards and against the run of play found themselves 2-0 up with ten minutes to play. Ali Jones again dispossessed the Artois defence and this time finished the move himself with a clinical left footed volley. After this it was all Artois, who were throwing everyone forward to try and get something from the game. They did eventually pull one back with Lucas Murrain finally heading home Jack Funnell's cross after missing several previous opportunities. It would prove to be too little too late as Dormansland hung on to win 2-1. The game was played in good spirits and I'm sure players on both sides were relieved to finally be playing football again, even if there are some sore legs today!

West Kent Sunday League Division One
including Sunday 4th April
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Simla 6 5 0 1 18 5 13 15
2 Green Lane 7 4 1 2 11 8 3 13
3 Dormansland Rockets 6 3 0 3 14 13 1 9
4 Insulators 6 3 0 3 11 12 -1 9
5 Artois United 5 2 1 2 8 8 0 7
6 Charcott 4 1 1 2 6 8 -2 4
7 Armada 6 0 1 5 9 23 -14 1

Spring Cup

Teams in Divisions Two and Three are split into three groups of six in this special competition. The top two in each group, plus the two best third placed teams, will proceed to quarter-finals. The final is scheduled to be played at Rusthall FC on 20th May.

Group 1

TW Ridgewaye got off to a flying start with a 6-0 win against Artois United Reserves. There was a hat-trick for Callum Seal and single goals from Harry Garside, Dan Kommu and Dylan Lyon. The clean sheet 'keeper was Josh Higgins.

Paddock Wood had been in very good form had been in very good form during the autumn and continued in that vein, winning 3-1 at Goudhurst United. It was a poor match on quality, but fiercely and fairly contested. The only action worth mentioning in the first half was a outstanding save by the Goudhurst keeper Steve Smith to keep it 0 - 0 at half time. The second half started well for Goudhurst with a scrappy goal after James Murphy intercepted a back pass to make it one-nil. This seemed to stir Paddock Wood into upping their game and they soon put the Goudhurst defence under pressure scoring twice.  Both goals came from scrappy defensive mistakes within the space of 10 minutes. Goudhurst then started to change the playing personnel to try and get an equaliser but suffered another mistake at the back that gave Paddock Wood another goal for a 3-1 lead and that’s the way the game finished. A game of defensive mistakes by both teams. They will surely both improve now playing regularly again. The Wood's goalscorers were Harry Gammer (2) and Alex Emery.

The match between Pembury Sunday and St John's Yard ended with that rarest of scores in this League - a goal-less draw!  Jack Greener of Pembury and   of Royal Oak were the successful goalies.

Group 2

There were three fairly close games in this group.  AFC Valour start at the top after a 3-1 win at home to Ticehurst Village Club. This was a close run game, but with two long range goals having been scored by the home team in the first half it was always going to be difficult for the Club to come back Having said that, Ticehurst created a host of chances in the second half including hitting the post and forcing two excellent saves in particular from AFC Valour’s goalkeeper. A free kick that hit the wall but then set up nicely for the Club's Leon Fisher to lash in a 25 yard volley in the top corner meant a come back was on the cards, however this was not meant to be.  Valour's goalscorers were Connor Robbins (2) and Steve Ednie.

Before the shutdown, AFC Borough had a 100% record in Division Three, eight wins from eight games. Their top scorer at that time was Luke Leppard and he was on the scoresheet on Sunday.  Also scoring in a  2-1 win at Cassidy's Phoenix was Ed Handford.

Sedlescombe Rangers first season in the League had begun a with a very good record.  They will be a form team in Group 2. They travelled up from Sussex to Royal Oak's Hawkenbury home and went back down the A21 after a 1-0 win, thanks to a goal by Austin Gann and a clean sheet from 'keeper Henry Lankston.

Group 3

Yalding & Laddingford are the early leaders following a 3-1 win at Speldhurst Rangers. Rangers started slowly, conceding early from two set-piece moves. A free-kick for Rangers was headed in by Ollie Crees to make it 2-1 but Yalding pulled away with a third goal, also from a free kick. Yalding scorers were Grant Allen, Steve Gilbert and Oliver Leigh.

Close behind are Insulators Reserves, who beat Tonbridge United 2-0.  This was a good game that either side could have won. The home side got a fairly early lead through Sam Minter-Frier and had other chances to add to that lead. Tonbridge United also had a number of decent chances, but found home keeper Craig Smith in top form. In the second half an attempted clearance 30 yards out hit a team mate and rolled back into an unguarded goal for a fortunate 2-0 lead for Insulators. Chances continued to come at both ends, but none were taken. A very sporting game from both sides.

overcame Dunton Green 2-1 with goals from Mark Springate and Joe Harvey. Green's goal was scored by Henry Smart.

Insulators FC - Fifty Years in the West Kent Sunday Football League.

These words and pictures from Andy Stanley, Club Secretary.

Insulators plastic moulding company was one of the largest employers in Paddock Wood from the 1960's to the 198's. It was situated on the corner of Church Road and St Andrews Road. In May 1970 three employees formed a football team with the support of the company’s Managing Director, who arranged for the company to buy the first kit – which was green. The employees were Eddie West, Fred Stanley and Dave Parks.  The team was made up of employees, with the addition of a couple of schoolboys. The club entered the fledgling West Kent Sunday League, which had started in 1967 and was placed in division 5, the bottom division. The captain was Eddie West. The players changed in the factory; home side leaving clothing on the moulding presses; the away side in the toilet area! A different world!

The first match was away to Cowden (the pitch is still there) on 6 September 1970 and with little preparation and the two schoolboys upfront it was no surprise that it ended with a 4-0 defeat.

The club’s first trophy came in 1972/3 when Gardeners Arms were defeated 1-0 in the Junior Cup Final at The Angel Ground, home of Tonbridge FC (now Sainsburys on Vale Rd). On a very wet day, John Tully’s goal proved decisive. Finishing runners up in Division 5 also saw the club promoted to division 3.

Season 1974/5 saw the team win Division 3 and reach the Intermediate Cup Final against White Horse from the Division above. In a tight game at The Angel Ground, White Horse scored a last-minute winner.

1975/6 saw the Division 2 title won and entry gained into the top division. The following season was not successful in the league, but the club reached the Senior Cup Final and beat favourites Bristol Arms 2-0 at the Angel Ground. Insulators were the first club to play in all three of the cup finals (there was no Junior Trophy at that time). Winning the Senior Cup was all the more remarkable as Insulators had lost to Brenchley in the first round, but Brenchley had played an unregistered player and we were reinstated!

1973/4 had seen the club run a reserve team but that lasted only one season. In 1983/4 another attempt was made. Although we didn’t know it at the time, the reserves would run until (at least) 2020/21! A period without trophies followed!

In 2002/3 the club got the boost it needed to return to more successful times. Alan Philpott brought his young under 18 side to become Insulators 3rd or “A” team. In its first season in Division 7 the team were champions scoring 112 goals and were only knocked out of the Junior Cup semi-finals on penalties. The 3rds then became the reserves as they jumped to Division 5 with the old reserves remaining in Division 6 as the third team. 2003/4 saw our newly promoted reserves win Division 5 and win the Junior Cup Final beating Speldhurst 2-1 at Culverden, Tunbridge Wells – James Philpott scoring both goals. The following season the reserves won the Spring Cup Final beating Biggin Hill 2-1.

We reverted to two Sunday teams in season 2008/9.

The club got a boost in 2008/9 with the introduction of a Saturday side in the Tonbridge League. In its first season the team won Division two and beat Hunton Reserves in the Junior Cup Final. The following season saw the Saturday side come runners up in Division 1, but also reach the club’s first Kent Cup Final. The match was played at Thamesmead Stadium and Bexley were dispatched 2-0. Unfortunately, the Saturday side folded on that high note.

Several cup finals have followed. Following relegation to Division 2 in 2017/8 the 1st team bounced back to win Division 2 in 2018/19 and also win the Intermediate Cup Final.

2018/19 was also notable, with a newly formed Insulators Veterans team which started with great success in the Vets Division 3 of the Kent County League, finishing runners-up.

Typically for "Slators", Covid came along to postpone our 50th season celebration in May 2020 but we will get round to it one day!

WKSFL Chairman Stuart Turner (centre) with Andrew Stanley (right) and Insulators FC chairman Alan Philpott.


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