Sweet 16 for Watcombe Moves Them Top
Watcombe Wanderers collected nine points in a hectic week of Premier Division action to stretch their perfect record to 16 games and replace Brixham AFC as league leaders. Curtis Booth (pictured) has hit a rich vein of form, scoring both goals against a defensive Newton Abbot Spurs side in midweek and completing a hat-trick in a more open 5-2 win at rivals Waldon Athletic on Saturday. Jordan Finch was once again on target as was Pete Summerfield. The Greens other victory was a 4-0 triumph at Kingskerswell & Chelston, Casey Cooper with a brace and Kallum Styles and Daniel Harvey with singles. Brixham came from behind to beat Waldon Athletic in midweek, the Clarets going a man down while in a winning position. They then dropped their first points at Wall Park, beaten 2-1 by Buckland Athletic Reserves. With 19 points out of a possible 21 in April, resurgent Upton Athletic strengthened their claim for a top three finish. They followed up a 3-0 midweek home win over Buckland with an 11-0 thrashing of Ipplepen Athletic, who will play in Division One next season. Ryan Hare starred for Athletic, scoring six, Louis Bergin managed a double and Scott Davies, Steve Rohan and Colin Bastow added the rest. Kingsteignton Athletic knew that a point on Saturday would mathematically seal their Premier survival and would have been happy to hold Loddiswell Athletic. Loddiswell are seeking a replacement for outgoing manager Richard Gomm who will step down in the summer.
Newton Abbot Spurs bounced back from five defeats on the spin with a comfortable win over Watts, Blake & Bearne. They were made to wait for their first goal by a dogged Wattsies side and it had an element of luck when it arrived. 37 minutes were on the clock when the wind took Tom Chisholm’s right-wing free-kick over everyone and, despite a hand from Wattsie’s young keeper, the ball nestled in the corner. Spurs doubled their lead a minute before half-time through Ben Frost but Wattsies hit back immediately to reduce the arrears through a Charlie Robinson own goal. Spurs were awarded a penalty on the hour mark which Nick Hayman dispatched (his fifth penalty of the season) to increase the home side’s lead. The final goals didn’t come until the last two minutes of the match, Jamie Meaden finishing well after a fine move and Ryan Sanders poking home after a through-ball from Meaden.
Dartmouth AFC are surely up after the Division One leaders secured a convincing 9-3 victory over second-place Bovey Tracey Reserves. This was despite going down 4-1 to in-form East Allington United in midweek. Broadway put away a hat-trick at Longcross, Baker and Frost doubles and Webber and Forrester singles. East Allington have bolstered their own promotion chances with maximum points in their three games this week, including Saturday’s 9-0 hammering of relegated Abbotskerswell. Ben Robey and James Ivatts both put away hat-tricks with Si Hannaford (2) and Steve Weeks completing the rout. Buckland Athletic Thirds can’t go up but the title is well within their grasp after wins over Broadhempston (3-2 at home) United and Totnes & Dartington Reserves (2-0 away). Broads responded with a 6-1 win over unpredictable Chudleigh; Sam Chorley scored three, Alex Felton two and Jamie Felton one. Newton 66 needed two wins at mid-table sides to keep their promotion hopes alive, but after beating Buckfastleigh 2-1 they lost out at Kingskerswell & Chelston Reserves by the same scoreline.
In the intriguing Division Two title race, Babbacombe Corinthians enjoyed a massive 3-2 win at Beesands Rovers who now face a struggle to go up. Justin Grinsill hit two for Corries and Darren Whittington one; Alex Browne and Jed Tucker scored for Rovers. Paignton Villa’s midweek draw against Stoke, and Saturday’s home walkover against Ipplepen Athletic Reserves, sets up a fascinating run-in, with Villa to face Corries and both sides yet to travel to Stoke who could also go up and won 6-1 at home to Foxhole on Saturday with Horrocks netting twice and Horn, Beeschen, Blackler and Boiston also contributing. It was a blow for the Foxes who enjoyed an impressive 5-2 win against Newton United three days before. United responded by beating Hookhills 5-1 in an eventful affair at Bakers Park; Sowerby sunk a double with further goals provided by Dyke, Sheils and Cartmill. Harbertonford’s 2-1 success at Upton Reserves keeps the pressure on Upton whose midweek draw against Kingsteignton Reserves was not enough to ease relegation fears. Paignton Saints’ resounding 5-0 win at Brixham AFC Thirds moves them further from danger with Brixham now facing relegation; Max Corderoy secured a hat-trick and Ole Corderoy and Sam Warren also scored.
The promotion picture at the top of Division Three is complex as ever. Leaders Waldon Athletic Reserves faced a double header with title rivals Watts, Blake & Bearne Reserves, losing 2-0 at Windmill Hill but bouncing back to win 4-2 at Abbrook Park. Second-place Ashburton were held at Bishopsteignton United who also lost to Buckland & Milber in midweek. Promotion-seeking South Brent also won in midweek, 1-0 against Tots Thirds. East Allington United Reserves’ 6-2 home win over Loddiswell Athletic Reserves increases the plight of bottom club Liverton United Reserves; Jon Burt scored twice for Hoops.
In Division Four, back-to-back wins for Harbertonford Reserves against Meadowbrook and Paignton Villa Reserves, lifted them to third and in prime position to pick up any spare promotion places. Villa were also routed 9-2 by Dartmouth Reserves in midweek. Paignton Saints Reserves remain in trouble after a 4-1 reverse at home to Salcombe Town courtesy of goals by Stallard, Hobday, Celins and an own goal. Bovey Thirds are safe, but went down 4-2 at home to mid-table Dittisham.
In Division Five, Riviera United secured a surprise point against leaders AFC Staverton, while Newton Rovers also did well to draw at Preston South End who had beaten Broadhempston Reserves 7-0 in midweek; Rovers took the lead through Guney Uven early in the second half, assisted by the Furzeham Green wind, but Preston hit back soon after. But the title is Buckfastleigh Rangers Reserves’ to lose, as they won 3-1 at home to Torbay Police, goals supplied by Ryan Porter, Bradlei Davison and Arren De Young. Newton 66 Reserves followed up last weeks emphatic home win over Corries Reserves with a 3-2 win at their place; Haylock and Hutchings netted for the home side. The battle at the bottom is as tight as it gets with the bottom four all on 19 points; Buckland & Milber Reserves currently sit bottom on goal difference after losing 2-1 at home to Broadhempston Reserves, Harry Noble’s strike not enough. Neither was De Garces’ strike for Moretonhampstead as they suffered a 2-1 loss at Newton United Reserves.
In Division Six, an improving Torre side took four points off top four sides this week, holding Watcombe Wanderers Thirds 2-2 before Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Barton Athletic who scored through Jody Rooney and Nick Ashby-Pierce. Watcombe then lost 4-3 to Kingsbridge & Kellaton, while Malborough United leap up to second after beating Kingsbridge 3-1 at home and Teign Village Reserves 5-1 away.
Photo (c) Sport South Devon