These reports are not copyrighted, feel free to use providing you acknowledge the source!

West Kent Sunday League Report Sunday 14th May 2017

The 2016 - 2017 50th Anniversary season of the West Kent Sunday Football League came to a close last Sunday with the two Spring Cup Finals being played at Tunbridge Wells FC. A few days earlier, Dormansland Rockets played their Surrey Lower Sunday Junior Cup Final.

Surrey Lower Junior Sunday Cup

AFC Thornton 5 Dormansland Rockets 3

Dormansland Rockets adventure in the Surrey Cup ended at the final hurdle as they lost 5-3 to AFC Thornton. This was the first time the Sunday team had reached a county cup final since 1972 so you could say it was overdue! But with over 80 teams entering, it was no small feat even getting to the final.

On a fine evening at Carshalton FC, on one of the better 3g pitches, Rockets' were soon under the cosh from the quick AFC Thornton forwards. This pressure soon resulted in a goal, when they were unable to clear a corner. The game then settled down and Rockets equalised from a Jake Dodgson header.

AFC were next to strike when their forward went down in the box after what looked like a fair challenge. Despite the protests, AFC dispatched the penalty to put them 2-1 up.Further defensive slackness saw them score the third goal when one of their players was allowed to much space on the edge of the area. An already weakened back line (due to enforced absentees) was further weakened when Ross Waghorn had to come off with an injury. 

3-1 down at the break, Rockets had it all to do.

For the second half Rockets came out fighting. Consistent and prolonged pressure resulted in  further goals from Jake Dodgson again and Andy Smith and the scores were back level at 3-3.

Just when one thought the tide had turned, Rockets conceded another goal from a corner due to slack marking. The game at this point was very open and it was felt the next goal would be crucial. Unfortunately it was AFC Thornton who scored it, making Rockets task that much harder.

The game ended with no more goals. It just wasn't to be, but they gave it their all. Numerous West Kent League Management Committee members made the long journey to watch the final, for which Rockets are appreciative.

Spring Cup Senior Final

No goals were scored in the regulation 90 minutes nor during extra time, so the Artois United v Simla match went to penalties. Simla won the shoot-out 4-2 and added the Spring Cup (Senior) Trophy to their collection.

Spring Cup Junior Final

Green Street Blues capped a fine season with a 3-1 win over St John's Yard.

The Green Street Blues got off to a dream start with an early goal from a set piece, a free kick swung in from the left taken by Tom Wilken, headed superbly into the back of the net by Steve McGinn. Further chances were created by Green Street Blues, and they were unlucky not to extend their advantage when James Phillips got through on goal and lobbed both the keeper and the cross bar.

St Johns Yard started to get back into the game and managed to equalise via a penalty awarded when their forward went over in the box, the penalty was coolly converted sending the goal keeper the wrong way, all square at 1-1 and it remained that way until half time.

The second half commenced with both teams showing determination and passion to win the game. Green Street Blues put on some early pressure which was rewarded by a classy strike from the outside of the box from their midfielder Tom Wilken on the outside of his weaker left foot landing in the top corner, making the scoreline 2-1.

Green Street Blues had the upper hand and were unfortunate to have a goal disallowed when Jonathon Simms converted from a cross in, the referee adjudged a foul and awarded St Johns Yard a free kick.

As the game wore on St Johns Yard started to commit more players forward and looked to add more pressure to their opponents, but Green Street Blues defended well led by their captain Matt Heathcote and a rarely troubled goalkeeper Nick Edwards who commanded his area superbly.

Some late drama at the end of the game where St Johns Yard were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, their players including the goal keeper flooded the box in search of an equaliser. Green Street Blues managed to clear and find striker Sean 'Boycie' Boyle.  Sean ran the length of the pitch slotting home in the penalty area, he was mobbed by his team mates, taking the game out of site at 3-1.

The referee proceeded to blow the full time whistle straight after the goal and celebrations from Green Street Blues were underway, in the full knowledge they had been given a really good game and test from St Johns Yard.

Kudos to manger Chris Pope who, in his first season managing the side, got Green Street Blues promoted and silverware from the Spring Cup. Chris did a fantastic job, moulding some fantastic individuals into a winning team.

Pictures below from Tony Vanns

The teams line up
195
St John's Yard FC

201
Green Street Blues FC

208
WKSFL Chairman presents the trophy to GSB captain Matt Heathcote

226
Celebrations

!229
and a few more thanks to Green Street Blues
some are available at larger size - click or tap
image 1
image2
image 3
image 4
image 5
image 6


A quick look back at the season.


The season began with forty-one teams in four Divisions. That itself was the lowest number playing Sunday Football for many, many, years, but by the end several had fallen by the wayside. The season ended with six fewer than that already low number. There has been a 50% fall in the numbers within the last ten years. Not since the second season of 1968 - 1969 have been been only three divisions, a prospect that the League faces for next time around.

On the bright side, competition was good in all four Divisions. The driest winter 'in decades' meant that there were very few postponements, only a couple of evening games and no double headers, all of which have been the curse of Sunday football for many years. The leagues were more or less wrapped up by the end of March!

Had it not been for the deduction of three points for using an ineligible player, Simla would have had every chance to gain their sixth league title in ten seasons. They still had the opportunity, needing to win their final game at Dormansland Rockets, but lost 2-1, so it was Artois United who pipped Tonbridge Origin on goal difference to claim the Division One and league honours. That was their first title since the 1999 - 2000 season. There has been only other such close finish in recent times. Back in 2012 - 2013 It was Simla who won the league on goal difference over Artois United.

Gardener's Arms won Division Two by a clear seven points, ending the League season unbeaten.  Their goalkeeper Ben Carter took the award for the most clean sheets through the season. They will provide stiff competition next season for those already at the higher level.and will hope to emulate their successes of a few years ago, when they claimed the WKSFL championship three times. Likewise Pembury Sunday, on the way back up and who also have previous recent successes to follow.

Division Three was closely fought to the end, with only five points separating the top four sides. Crowborough Town were in with a chance right until the last but lost their final two matches. Rusthall Club never quite made up for a poor start to the season, always playing catch-up and hoping eventual winners Bricklayer's Arms and runners-up Green Street Blues would drop points.

Tunbridge Wells Foresters Reserves won Division Four by just three points over FC Grinstead. Grinstead also started the season badly but quickly gained momentum, which was to see them rise swiftly up the table only to be held to a unexpected draw by the young men of TW Ridgewaye. Those two dropped points made their task almost impossible unless TW Foresters themselves dropped points, which they did not.

Statistic of the season was the 132 goals recorded in the sixteen league games involving AFC Six in One. Their top scorer, Ryan Smith, was also the League's top scorer.

Simla claimed their third successive Senior Cup and their fifth in six seasons, Tonbridge Origin were the beaten finalists. Gardener's Arms and Pembury Sunday, first and second in Division Two, played the Intermediate Cup final with Gardener's coming off the winners and in the Junior Cup FC Grinstead avenged their defeat of two seasons ago the final of the same competition by Bricklayer's Arms, winning narrowly.

In the County Cups, Dormansland Rockets reached the final of the Surrey Sunday Lower Junior Cup after a series of big wins (and one win on penalties) but lost at the end. In the Kent County competitions, Tonbridge Origin had the best run. They reached the county wide stage of the Sunday Premier Cup in January but lost to the powerful Quested outfit from Chatham, the eventual winners.


Back to the reports index

Back to the main page