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West Kent Sunday League Report – Sunday 12th February 2017

This report begins with the melancholy news of the demise of yet another club. Rusthall Rangers resigned from the League after failing to get enough players for the sixth time this season.  Of the forty-two teams that were members at the AGM in June last year, seven have folded mainly through lack of interest or commitment among players. That is 16.7% of the membership lost in eight months.

Division One

The demise of Rusthalll Rangers has thrown the Division One table wide open. Tonbridge Origin have 'lost' six points, Artois United and Simla three points each.

Artois United have only one game remaining, away at Goudhurst United next Sunday. Tonbridge Origin have no game next week. They were due to play Rusthall Rangers in a Senior Cup quarter-final but now have a bye through to the semi-final. Their final two league matches are at home to Insulators on 26th February and away to Simla, date to be arranged. Simla have four games left, the other three being away to Armada, Dormansland Rockets and Insulators.

 Turning to Sunday's league matches, Artois United comprehensively defeated Dormansland Rockets 5-2 with two goals each from Jack Funnell and George Rodgers, one from Jake Chandler. Rockets, who play in the Surrey Lower Junior Cup quarter-final next week, scored through James Dodgson and Andy Smith. We wish Rockets the beat of luck for their game next Sunday, which is away to a team called Dundonald in the Leatherhead area.

Armada's short run of decent results came to an end at the hands of TW Foresters, for whom it was a second win in a row. Steve Johnson, Ronnie Pugh and Simon Hammond, back up from the reserves, scored for Foresters. Jack Matthews scored both for Armada.

West Kent Sunday League Division One including Sunday 12th February
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Artois United 13 9 1 3 54 24 30 28
2 Tonbridge Origin 12 8 1 3 49 25 24 25
3 Simla # 10 9 0 1 34 13 21 24
4 Insulators 10 5 1 4 41 19 22 16
5 Armada 10 4 2 4 18 22 -4 14
6 TW Foresters 11 4 1 6 27 41 -14 13
7 Dormansland Rockets 9 1 0 8 21 42 -21 3
8 Goudhurst United + 11 0 0 11 11 69 -58 3

Division Two

Division Two is neck-and-neck going into the final furlongs. Both the top teams won, both have three games remaining, including an all important match between the two on a date to be arranged. Gardener's Arms kept top spot with a 2-0 home win against Brenchley, not plain sailing by any means against opposition who had not lost for three matches. The Gardener's goals came from Kane Joseph and Brad Moon. In goal, Ben Carter kept his tenth clean sheet of the season and looks odds-on to claim that particular trophy.

Pembury Sunday kept up the pressure, recovering from last week's blip against Brenchley to crush Langton Green by 11-0. There were two hat-tricks, one from Steve Harper (his sixth of the season) and also Ryan Waterman. Also scoring were Tom Philpott, Mark Wyles, Alun Evans, Tim Marshall and Marc Wood. The second best goalie in the League, Charlton Farrell, kept his seventh clean sheet of the campaign.

Elsewhere, Cassidy's Phoenix picked up a much needed win after a run of four defeats, but it was a close run affair against Hawkenbury Sunday. Phoenix came off 3-2 winners, scorers being Alberto Fernandez, Mark King and Josh Ennis. I do not have Hawks scorers.

West Kent Sunday League Division Two including Sunday 12th February
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Gardener's Arms 13 11 2 0 50 9 41 35
2 Pembury Sunday 13 10 2 1 49 9 40 32
3 Paddock Wood + 14 6 1 7 29 42 -13 22
4 Green Lane 11 6 2 3 30 20 10 20
5 Brenchley 13 4 2 7 25 40 -15 14
6 Cassidy's Phoenix # 14 4 2 8 25 40 -15 11
7 Langton Green 13 3 2 8 31 54 -23 11
8 SE Spitfires 10 3 1 6 16 30 -14 10
9 Hawkenbury Sunday 13 2 2 9 22 33 -11 8

Division Three

We have our first trophy winners of the season. (Still sounds daft to be saying that in the middle of February!) Bricklayer's Arms gained the three points they needed with a close 5-4 win away at Tonbridge Invicta. The all important goals included a hat-trick from Rob Gordon, Danny Lawrence and Craig Bishop were also on the mark. Invicta's goalscorers were Sam Wyles, Cuan Walsh and two from Rob Runciman.

The Bricks travelled to Tonbridge Farm for the fixture against Invicta, needing three points to secure the league title. The normal pre match argument of 'who is running the line' went into the fourth round of rock paper scissors, with Sam Harris delivering a smashing rock to crush Jack Holmes scissors

Bricks started the game strongly, piling on the pressure for the first few minutes. Three3  minutes, in a poor goal kick by the Invicta keeper ´went straight to Craig Bishop, who heads down to Rob Gordon,catching the keeper in no man's land. Gordon slotted home for an early lead. It was only to be only another three minutes before the Bricks struck again. Tommy Mulcahy darted down the line, delivered a beautifully weighted ball for Craig Bishop to head home. At this point it seemed to a case of how many the Bricks would bag. After 10 minutes Ben Freeman was awarded a yellow card for dissent.

The Bricks strong start began to slow, with Invicta getting the ball down and playing some nice football, until on the fourteenth minute they broke behind the bricks defence finding Runciman who scored to get one back.The game settled at this point with both teams creating chances and applying pressure so the half finished with the Bricks leading 2 1

Three minutes into the second half Brick's 'keeper Alex Gunn made a great save from the Runciman, who once again broke through the Bricks defence. A minute later,  Bishop played in Danny Lawrence, who finishing coolly but only to be denied by the offside flag. Invicta equalised on the hour and then moments after the restart Bishop dragged a shot just wide of the post.

Bricks really needed to compose themselves at this stage in the game, but it was Invicta who were playing the better football picking the Bricks apart again in the 24th minute to make it 3 -2.  Bricks regrouped and in the 30th minute Lawrence set up Gordon for his second, the equaliser and 3-3. Invicta dug deep doing all they could to ruin the Bricks party to regain the lead on the 35th minute. 4-3. The lead lasted just three minutes,  Tommy Mulcahy was brought down in the box, penalty awarded, Gordon stepping up to complete his hat trick from the spot. 4-4.

So at four-all the Bricks knew a point would not do. With three minutes to go, Lawrence bagged their fifth, the winning goal and with all three points in the bag the Bricks win the league for the first time in their short history. "Alex Gunn must try harder" said their reporter!

It's a three horse race for runners-up position. Green Street Blues kept in the chase after a 4-2 win at Ticehurst Village Club. Blues scorers were Ash Birchruffel (2), Tom Wilken and an own goal. For the Club, Rob Guile and Dan Studholme scored.

Rusthall Club Athletic are behind with their fixtures but if they win five of their final six games, including the all important one at Crowborough Town they would just pip the the other contenders. But, not that I wish to put a hex on proceedings, two of those games will be against Bricklayer's Arms!

The Club had dropped points last week at Tonbridge Invicta but came back well, recording a 7-2 win at home to Speldhurst Rangers. All hail Ben Johnson, who hit five of his side's seven. George Webzell and Rob Johnson hit the others. Rangers scorers were Jake Aldridge and Sam Richardson.

And finally, St John's Yard won 2-1 at home against Paddock Wood Reserves, thus ending a run of four successive defeats.  Paddock Wood Reserves took the lead after ten minutes when the Yard failed to defend a corner. Jack Veness equalised for the Yard on the half hour. Rory Wilson scored the winner midway through the second half of a very competitive game.

West Kent Sunday League Division Three including Sunday 12th February
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bricklayers Arms (C) 14 12 0 2 58 19 39 36
2 Crowborough Town 15 10 1 4 46 29 17 31
3 Green St Blues 14 9 1 4 33 22 11 28
4 Tonbridge Invicta 15 8 2 5 53 30 23 26
5 Rusthall Club Athletic 10 5 2 3 35 21 14 17
6 Paddock Wood Reserves 14 5 1 8 21 40 -19 16
7 St John's Yard 15 5 1 9 27 58 -31 16
8 Ticehurst Village 16 4 2 10 34 48 -14 14
9 Speldhurst Rangers 15 0 2 13 23 63 -40 2

Division Four

The news during the week that TW Foresters Reserves had been docked three points for having played a player under suspension, coupled with their defeat on Sunday at the hands of FC Grinstead, has opened the door slightly for others to mount a challenge for the Division Four title.

In that all important game at the Cadogan, hosts Foresters were 2-0 up at half time against FC Grinstead, the goals being scored by Harry Hickmott and Ashley James. Grinstead roared back in the second period, Charly Harris scoring his fifth hat-trick of the season and Micky Neatherway adding a fourth to record a noteworthy 4-2 victory. The return match will be on 26th February. Next week, Foresters will need to be on best form in their penultimate League match as they face FC Hayward, who have lost only once in their last seven matches.

Hayward had to work hard against TW Ridgewaye, making the trip home from Skinner's having won 6-3. Jeff Harrison's hat-trick plus single strikes from Dylon Thomas, Adam Ball and Zak Pollard overcame the young men of Ridgewaye, whose scorers were Matt Harman, Ben Adams and Marcus Harding.

Tonbridge Casuals completed their league fixtures with a good win at Insulators Reserves, thus putting a dent in the latter's chances of finishing as runners-up. The score was 3-2 to Casuals, with evergreen Mark Whorlow scoring one, Kev Fasting and Adam West the others. Insulators were leading 2-1 at half time through Jon Miller and Ryan Hesmer, but things didn't go their way in the second period.

The Tonbridge (Farm) derby between Origin Reserves and United went the way of Origin Reserves by 4-0, Dean Larter's three goal haul being the key. Alex Pocock scored the fourth. In goal, Dave Gillham kept his team's first clean sheet of the season, unfortunately for United it was the eighth time they have failed to score.

West Kent Sunday League Division Four including Sunday 12th February
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 TW Foresters Reserves # 14 12 0 2 70 25 45 33
2 FC Hayward 13 8 2 3 47 25 22 26
3 FC Grinstead 12 7 3 2 43 28 15 24
4 Insulators Reserves + 14 6 3 5 41 39 2 24
5 AFC Six in One 15 7 2 6 70 54 16 23
6 Tonbridge Origin Reserves 13 5 3 5 39 40 -1 18
7 Tonbridge Casuals 16 3 5 8 31 55 -24 14
8 TW Youth (Ridgewaye) 14 3 1 10 41 74 -33 10
9 Tonbridge United 13 1 1 11 9 51 -42 4

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