West Kent Sunday League News Report Ė
midseason 2021 - 2022
Happy New Year and let's hope that we can resume something like
normal life was until two years ago.
The disruption to last season which resulted in Divisions Two and
Three being declared null and void presented the Management
Committee with a challenge. Division One fixtures had been
completed, there being only seven teams at this point. How to
organise the new season on merit without too much disadvantage to
those who had been performing well in the lower divisions?
Also, there was the question of a couple of teams being reluctant to
A club secretary says "...many local leagues are having this
problem, ie the difference between the teams at the top and the
teams nearer the bottom seems to be getting bigger. I don't think
that the teams at the top are better than they used to be, in fact
they are probably not as good, just that with fewer teams the
ability seems to have gone down."
After much discussion, the clubs accepted a plan to merge Divisions
One and Two for an initial round of matches in which they would play
each other once. After that round, the top half of the table would
form Division One, the bottom half Division Two. There would then be
another round of matches, each again playing the others in their
section once. Thus the top two Divisions for 2022 - 2023 will
be decided. There will be no relegation or promotion between the top
two tiers at the end of the curent season.
Division Three would be in the standard format, thirteen teams
playing each other twice. At the end of the season, there will be
promotion and relegation between Divisions Two and Three and the
numbers will be evened out.
It was also agreed that all three WKSFL Cup Competitions would be
put on hold until the second half of the season.
At the half way point of the season, things are on track. The
weather has been kind, with only one Sunday badly affected. Public
health issues have caused a few postponements, but in general clubs
are well up with their fixtures.
Fingers are now crossed for a few good weeks on both counts.
Divisions One / Two
With most teams having two or three games remaining, the issues
should be decided by the end of the month.
Pembury Sunday lead the way, but have two games left while those
chasing have played fewer. Simla and Artois United can both
overtake them to claim top spot if they win all their games. A key
fixture in that regard is Green Lane v Simla this weekend. Should
they beat Simla, Green Lane will not be out of it with four more
games to play. Pembury face AFC Valour on Sunday, who will be
striving hard to maintain their position in the top half and the
following Sunday Pembury play Paddock Wood. Both could be awkward
Pembury have proved a surprise package this season. Their record
thus far includes five clean sheets and six consecutive wins since
the end of October. Their only defeat has been a narrow 2-1 loss to
Simla way back in September.
Artois United have four games to go, but are also still in the Kent
Sunday Premier Cup, which may be a distraction. However, those four
games are all against teams in the lower reaches. Form suggests they
should win them all, thus finishing with 36 points which is the most
Simla can get and two more than the most for Pembury or Green Lane.
There won't be a trophy for finishing 'winter leaders' but no doubt
whoever gains that place will be pleased.
The middle of the table, either side of an imaginary dotted line, is
very close. Only three points separate sixth from tenth, so five
clubs are closely matched and jostling for position. A
couple of important games soon to come are AFC Borough v Odukwe this
Sunday and Charcott v Dormansland on 30th January. Odukwe and
Charcott currently sit just either side of that line and play one
another on 23rd January. Dormansland still have five League
games to go in this first session and can finish in the top half if
results go their way.
Down at the bottom, Insulators have struggled with injuries and
availability and will do well to finish out of the bottom three
together with TW Ridgewaye, who even so can mathematically still
finish in the top half and AFC Tonbridge, who cannot.
Ridgewaye have four fairly tough games in January, all against teams
pushing to be in that top half. They have been conceding a lot of
goals recently and their goals for column hides the fact that they
have twice scored seven, but across another four games only once.
The split in the division should provide more evenly matched games
in the second half of the season.
Brenchley top the table and are excelling, with six consecutive wins
during November and December. They have four away games in
January and will need to be on top form when they meet Sedlescombe
Rangers this Sunday and again when they face Royal Oak at the end of
Insulators Reserves have made late progress and could get involved
if retaining consistency. Their last eight games have seen seven
victories, plus three points awarded. A key match for them will be
on the 16th, when Sedlescombe Rangers come visiting.
Royal Oak have a couple of games in hand on the top two, while
Sedlescombe have three. Royal Oak are still involved in the Kent
Sunday Junior Trophy and will fall further behind in their League
fixtures if they win their two games scheduled for early January.
It does look like a four horse race in Division Three, with a big
gap between Sedlescombe in fourth and Artois United Reserves in
fifth. But, Artois Reserves have recovered after a lean spell of
seven games without a win. They face both Insulators Reserves and
Sedlescombe in January. Wins for them will make things interesting.
The predictions program says that Brenchley will finish top with 61
points, seven ahead of Royal Oak and Insulators Reserves who
will be split by goal difference, with Sedlescombe fourth on 50
points. We shall see, come mid May!
Here is the view from Ticehurst, which I am sure many will agree
Ticehurst Village FC started the 2021/2022 season optimistically
even with the change of management and having to use a temporary
home pitch for a few months. Squad numbers were high, with new
players being signed on and a core of senior players remaining with
the club for a another year. Results have certainly been mixed
though and itís taken a while to establish some consistency, but due
deteriorating player reliability and more recently a number of Covid
cases within the squad the club have struggled with both player
numbers and picking up points.
Thereís continued hope that the new year will bring a fresh start
and a chance for the club to gain momentum whilst climbing back up
the table. However it remains that the wider pandemic, that just
wonít go away, and the fact that there seem to be less and less
young players coming through the ranks into men's grassroots
football, will continue to hinder progress in what is certainly a
transformative period for the club.
This is echoed to some extent by another club with what they say
having been the case for many years now. He said "...due to
pubs/clubs being open later and longer opening times, also the same
with shops, people working on Sundays etc, have all contributed to
making it harder to get a team out each week. Hence, ours and others
inconsistent results. For example, the week before last we had ten
players available yet the week after had a full complement of
sixteen with more not even selected. As a consequence, one has to be
loyal and look after the more regulars even if as a result it means
selecting a weaker team, as it is the regulars who keep any club
Most have fallen by the wayside, but there are games to look forward
In the Kent Sunday Premier Cup, Artois United have made it through
to the fifth round, the last 16, which is played on a county-wide
basis. In that fifth round match they will host the strong Market
Hotel side based in Ashford. Market Hotel accounted for Green Lane
in the third round and former WKSFL side Armada in the fourth. Their
league form is misleading to say the least. They have not played a
league match since the end of October and currently sit fifth of
eight teams in the Ashford Sunday League Premier Division.
But, history says they will always be tough opponents.
Goudhurst United received a bye in the fourth round of the Kent
Sunday Junior Cup and have to travel to Sittingbourne in the fifth
round, also a county-wide last sixteen tie. Their opponents are Park
Regis NEO FC, currently fourth of nine in the Sheppey Sunday League
First Division. Goudhurst's recent league form has been
inconsistent, although they have had some tough games against the
top teams. Best of luck to them!
Royal Oak's delayed fourth round Kent Sunday Junior Trophy match
against Vinters of the Maidstone League is scheduled for this
Sunday. Should they win, they will be at home the following week to
Sandwich Town of the Thanet Sunday League in the last sixteen.
In the Surrey Sunday Cups, Dormansland Rockets went out in the third
round of the Sunday Lower Junior Cup. Charcott also entered Surrey's
Cup and had a bye in the first round of the Premier Cup. Their
'reward' is a trip around the M25 on Sunday morning to play Banstead
Rovers, currently second of seven teams in the Premier Division of
the Leatherhead and District Sunday League. We wish them well.
And finally, the question of referees. I can do no better than point
you to a recent article in the monthly football magazine When
Saturday Comes. It's a fairly long read but covers all the salient
points that ultimately may mean that there is no qualified referee
available to cover your game.
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