These reports are no longer published in the local press. They are not copyrighted, feel free to use providing you acknowledge the source!

West Kent Sunday League Report – Sunday 27th November 2016

This week's report begins with the sad news of yet another club folding. After 14 years, Hadlow United threw in the towel, citing lack of committed players and that no-one seemed willing to take on any of the work needed to keep things going. I personally hope that these uncommitted players won't be allowed to fetch up elsewhere and bring down any other club. A pity for those who did turn up every week, let down by the others.

I don't have the full numbers, but as background the league expanded from four to five Divisions at the 1971 - 1972 season. Between 1979-80 and 2005-6 we had either seven or eight divisions and often the maximum of 84 teams. My guess is that current membership of just 37 teams is the lowest it has been since 1971, that's 45 of the 50 seasons the league has been in existence. We had 42 teams declared as members at the 2016 AGM, we have lost five since then. That's a 12% loss. At that rate of decline the League will, in ten years time, consist of one Division of 12 teams.

On a much brighter note we have reached the end of November with scarcely any weather related disruption, which is welcome.

Division One

Leaders Artois United were without a game, the chasing three therefore had their chance to gain ground. But something had to give, as third met fourth at Tonbridge Farm. Simla beat hosts Tonbridge Origin 3-1 to leap-frog over them into 3rd spot. Origin took an early lead through Chris Stoate, before Joe Fuller equalised for Simla. One each at half time. In the second half Simla started to put pressure on Origin, winning a penalty which was converted by Steve Smith. Simla went further ahead with a fine shot from Richard Cole. Simla looked comfortable at this time, then Origin started to push forward but it was too late to make any difference to the result.

Insulators meanwhile bounced back from three successive defeats in League and Cups to defeat gallant Goudhurst United 10-0 and stay second, but only on goal difference and just one goal at that. That's two goals more than they hit when the pair met a month ago at Goudhurst.  Tommy Bridger scored four (all in the first half) together with Alex Buxton and Mike Potter. In the second half Martin Page-Mitchell (2), Kane Ramsell and Marc Scott added to the score. Max Bridges kept the clean sheet.

In the only other game, Dormansland Rockets won for only the second time in the league this season, a very convincing 9-1 win at home against Blackham & Ashurst. Top scorer Richard Wetton scored four, Ali Jones two and there was one each from Louis Stone, Kieron Curtis and Lee Heaton. Luke Jones scored Blackham's goal. Dormansland will no doubt be hoping that this form continues next Sunday, when they will meet Ash United in the Surrey Lower Junior Cup. We wish them all the best.

West Kent Sunday League Division One including Sunday 27th November
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Artois United 9 6 1 2 34 13 21 19
2 Insulators 9 6 1 2 34 14 20 19
3 Simla # 8 7 0 1 39 10 29 18
4 Tonbridge Origin 8 5 1 2 27 14 13 16
5 TW Foresters 9 4 1 4 27 28 -1 13
6 Armada 6 2 2 2 9 11 -2 8
7 Dormansland Rockets 8 2 1 5 31 28 3 7
8 Blackham & Ashurst 9 2 1 6 17 41 -24 7
9 Goudhurst United + 8 1 0 7 9 47 -38 6
10 Rusthall Rangers 4 0 0 4 1 22 -21 0

                                    + 3 points awarded # 3 points deducted

Division Two

Gardener's Arms and Pembury Sunday both gained three points on Sunday to keep themselves slightly ahead of the challengers. Pembury's points were gained without kicking a ball as scheduled opponents Hawkenbury Sunday failed to fulfill the fixture.

Gardener's Arms faced up against Cassidy's Phoenix, who had failed to score in their two most recent games, both in WKSFL cups. One of those was against Sunday's opponents, who went two better than the cup game recording a 5-0 win. Top scorer was Karl Smith with four, Kane Joseph added the fifth. Goalkeeper Ben Carter kept his sixth clean sheet of the season and stays on top of that little table.

Green Lane's form has been up and down lately but they gave themselves a shot in the arm with a resounding 7-1 win at Langton Green.  Their top scorer Josh Harris hit a hat-trick, Matt Brown scored twice and also finding the back of the net once each were Robert Montandon and Tom Welch. Adam Radford hit the Green's only reply.

South East Spitfires made it two league wins in a row when they made the long trip to Brenchley and came away with a 1-0 win, thanks to Sean Ludlum. Liam Baldwin in goal kept the clean sheet, their first of the season.

West Kent Sunday League Division Two including Sunday 27th November
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Gardener's Arms 7 6 1 0 28 7 21 19
2 Pembury Sunday 7 6 1 0 23 6 17 19
3 Paddock Wood 8 5 0 3 20 21 -1 15
4 Green Lane 8 3 2 3 18 18 0 11
5 Hawkenbury Sunday 8 2 2 4 16 19 -3 8
6 Cassidy's Phoenix 7 2 2 3 14 17 -3 8
7 SE Spitfires 7 2 1 4 12 21 -9 7
8 Brenchley 9 2 1 6 18 33 -15 7
9 Langton Green 9 1 2 6 24 31 -7 5

Division Three

Bricklayer's Arms made it four League wins in a row, notching their biggest win of the season against St John's Yard. For the Yard, the eight-nil loss was their heaviest defeat of the season. A new name was top amongst the scorers, Ollie Hyland hitting a hat-trick.

With the Bricks needing three points to remain at the top of the table, it was only to be four minutes in when Hyland won the ball on the right wing, feeding James Bodkin to find the back of the net. With the Bricks dominating with possession, only ten minutes passed before Bodkin delivered a perfect ball over the Saints defence to reach Tommy Mulcahy who calmly finished. Bricks kept pressing the Saints, creating chance after chance but it wasn't until the 31st minute when Simon Munday delivered a throw in which was chested down by  Ollie Hyland on to his left foot to make it 3-0 at half time.

It was only two minutes into the second half when Bert Freeman made a run from the back dodging four Saints challenges, finally feeding Dan Papper with a shot across goal beating the keeper to make it 4-0. Saints kicked off, managing to break the Bricks defence, finding their number 11 two yards out from goal with the ball at his feet only for him to fire over the crossbar. Thirteen minutes into the half Danny Lawrence played in Hyland for his second and 5-0. A minute later, Bricks subbed Bodkin and Papper for Craig Bishop and Sam Harris. Just five minutes after that, Hyland made a fantastic run into the box being brought down just inside. Penalty awarded and with Hyland set for a hat trick he stepped up, blasting to the bottom right. 6-0

Midway through the second half Bert Freeman looped a ball over the top,  finding Bishop who surprised himself as well as the keeper by bumbling the ball goal-wards for the seventh. Three  minutes later Bishop repaid the favour,  setting Freeman up for his first Bricks goal and 8-0. With a few minutes to go and the Bricks hoping for double figures it was to be denied by Bishop firing over the bar from five yards and Lawrence heading wide once again. With less than two minutes left, Saints burst through the Bricks defence James Goold tracked back with a fantastic challenge, but finding the back of his own net. 'Keeper Alex Gunn's clean sheet was saved by the flag, finishing the game with clean sheet at long last!

Defence is obviously tighter, Bricks have conceded only three goals in their last five WKSFL League and Cup matches.

Challengers Crowborough Town are firmly back on track. Three wins in a row now, the latest being a 3-0 win at Paddock Wood Reserves. After last week´s luxury of five substitutes Crowborough just managed a team plus one this week. However the return of their leading goalscorer Matt Pickett turned out to be the difference between the teams.
Town started off brightly enough and on a near perfect pitch they played some very attractive one touch passing football. Paddock Wood managed to hold them at bay for thirty minutes, until Matt Pickett broke away and after a thirty yard run he fired an unstoppable shot past the home team keeper. Just three minutes later Pickett became provider when, after another run down the right, he hit a fierce ball across the Paddock Wood six yard box and before it could reach a team-mate a defender put the ball past his own keeper. For the remainder of the half the neat football continued, but Town were unable to convert possession into goals and at half time the score remained at 2 - 0 to Crowborough
The second half saw the home team come more into the game and it needed two remarkable saves by Town's Ryan Hunt to keep his team in front. Gradually, however, the visitors came back into the game and with ten minutes to go, after a goalmouth scramble, Pickett scored his second to make the game safe for Crowborough.

Ten man Speldhurst Rangers seized a valuable point at Ticehurst Village Club in a 3-3 draw. A first half hat trick from manager and stand in striker Barney Mellors who, despite playing with a hernia, rolled back the years. Goalkeeper Michael Hanson earned himself man of the match with a near perfect performance including a Banks like save at the death. Ticehurst rallied after going behind, getting back on level terms by the end through Rob Briley, Josh McNab and Ben Banfield.

A scrappy traditional Sunday league game ended even, with Rangers disappointed not coming away with all three points.

Unfortunately the game at Longmead between Tonbridge Invicta and Rusthall Club Athletic had to be abandoned in the first half. A player received a serious injury, the Ambulance service insisted he should not be moved until they arrived. Referee Alex Conteh had no choice but to call the players off.

West Kent Sunday League Division Three including Sunday 27th November
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Bricklayers Arms 9 7 0 2 32 14 18 21
2 Crowborough Town 10 7 0 3 33 19 14 21
3 Tonbridge Invicta 8 5 0 3 25 13 12 15
4 Green St Blues 7 4 1 2 21 11 10 13
5 Paddock Wood Reserves 9 3 1 5 14 24 -10 10
6 St John's Yard 9 3 1 5 19 37 -18 10
7 Ticehurst Village 9 2 2 5 16 28 -12 8
8 Rusthall Club Athletic 5 2 1 2 16 13 3 7
9 Speldhurst Rangers 8 0 2 6 15 32 -17 2

Division Four

The demise of Hadlow United has caused the table to be adjusted.

Here's what it looked like before on the left, current table to the right. All the leading teams 'lost' three points.

West Kent Sunday League Division Four including Sunday 20th November
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 TW Foresters Reserves 9 8 0 1 42 14 28 24
2 Insulators Reserves 10 6 3 1 36 21 15 21
3 FC Hayward 8 6 0 2 29 13 16 18
4 AFC Six in One 10 5 2 3 59 29 30 17
5 FC Grinstead 7 3 2 2 25 19 6 11
6 TW Youth (Ridgewaye) 9 2 0 7 18 52 -34 6
7 Tonbridge Origin Reserves 5 1 2 2 13 18 -5 5
8 Tonbridge Casuals 9 0 5 4 11 26 -15 5
9 Tonbridge United 7 1 1 5 6 24 -18 4
10 Hadlow United 8 1 1 6 14 37 -23 4
West Kent Sunday League Division Four including Sunday 27th November
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 TW Foresters Reserves 9 8 0 1 44 17 27 24
2 Insulators Reserves 9 5 3 1 31 19 12 18
3 FC Hayward 7 5 0 2 25 11 14 15
4 AFC Six in One 10 4 2 4 51 34 17 14
5 FC Grinstead 7 3 2 2 23 20 3 11
6 TW Youth (Ridgewaye) 9 2 0 7 20 53 -33 6
7 Tonbridge Origin Reserves 6 1 2 3 16 23 -7 5
8 Tonbridge Casuals 9 0 4 5 15 31 -16 4
9 Tonbridge United 6 1 1 4 5 22 -17 4

The number of goals in matches involving AFC Six in One shows no sign of lessening. Their game on Sunday against top side TW Foresters Reserves had another eleven, but unfortunately for Six in One a majority of them were scored by their opponents. Foresters' tally featured two hat-tricks, scored by Mark Inglis and Dean Squires.  The league's top scorer Ryan Smith scored two of Six in One's five, regular scorers Ben Boodle, Ross Billyard and Dave Cherry the others.

Tonbridge Casuals are still without a league win this season, but came oh so close at FC Grinstead. The end result was a 5-4 win for Grinstead, goals from Ben Whiteman (2), Connor Tobin, Callum Gardner and Alex Pearse doing the damage.  For Casuals, there were two goals each from Paul Edwards and veteran Mark Whorlow.

TW Ridgewaye won a League game for the first time since the opening week of the season, not counting the now annulled win over Hadlow United. It was back to winning ways in the league with a spirited win over Tonbridge Origin Reserves. A well contested game saw Origin take the lead with a well worked goal after 10 minutes before Ridgewaye turned it around to go in at half time 4 -1 up courtesy of a hat-trick from Ben Adams and a Scott Beasley goal direct from a free kick. A strong come back from Origin saw them reduce the deficit to 4-3 before Ben Adams struck from long range to seal a deserved 5-3 win.  Origin's scorers were Alex Willamson (2) and Jamie Edwards,.

Back to the reports index

Back to the main page