I seem to state weekly that time is limited and unfortunately that has proven to be the case over the last couple of weeks with my last preview being for May 3rd. My shift pattern and in all honesty, a bit of exhaustion has led to me being unable to update my Kolumn…I did contemplate it at 2am last Saturday morning but decided that going to bed was a more sensible option. So here is a catch up on what’s been happening since my preview on May 3rd;
St Mary’s seem to have a firm grip on the Division One Trophy. A narrow 1-0 win over All Saints Olympic, courtesy of an Ian Coleman penalty, and their 12-0 thrashing of Zion Athletic last Saturday, (Luke Wiedeman 5, Ian Coleman 4), leaves them requiring just 1 point from their game against Sheldon Community Church tomorrow night to wrap it up. Sheldon, for their part, have bounced back from their slip in form following the Cup Final defeat with 3 fantastic wins over Rowley College and City Church, both 2-1 and beating last years Division One Champions Clarendon, 2-0 on Saturday. With All Saints out of the title race it is a shoot out between St Mary’s and Sheldon so tomorrow nights game will have both teams giving everything in their pursuit to be Champions. If Sheldon are to succeed, they also have to turn around a 21 goal difference deficit in their last 3 games! So will they be going for goals tomorrow like Liverpool did against Crystal Palace or just settle for aiming to walk off the pitch with all 3 points and hope to pull the goal difference back in their last 2 games? If I were them, I would settle for the second scenario, especially as St Mary’s defence is so tight only conceding 18 goals in 21 games. I have previously stated that I thought it too big an ask for Sheldon to play catch up with their fixtures and win the title and whilst their last 3 wins has shown their strength of character I think St Mary’s will win tomorrow night. Sheldon will have to go for the win the longer the game stays level and Mary’s will be able to capitalise on this. Whatever the outcome, this should be a cracker of a game.
All Saints Olympic, who currently sit second in the table, maintain their challenge for the Runners Up spot. St Mary’s extinguished their hopes of the title but All Saints followed that defeat with a convincing 4-1 win over Clarendon and a 5-3 win over Rowley College last Saturday with Ashley Turner bagging a hat-trick in that game. All Saints last game is this Saturday against Sheldon with everything still to play for.
Last seasons Champions, Clarendon, finished their season last Saturday with a 2-0 defeat to end up 4th. But in all honesty, they are miles behind the top 3! Have Clarendon become the new Man Utd and lost that aura of invincibility? Well I suppose we will find out next season. Sadly, Clarendon will be under new stewardship next season with Louis stepping down from his role within the Club. Louis has been part of Clarendon’s Management Committee for 18 years and done a great job. (My personal thanks to you buddy for all your efforts with Clarendon…Neil). I am informed that he may still be around at some games so not all bad news.
Rowley College also finished their season last Saturday with them losing their last 2 games, 2-1 against Sheldon and 5-3 against All Saints. They currently sit in fifth but City Church can overhaul them if they get 4 points from their last 2 games.
City Church will fancy their chances of getting those points in their last 2 games, especially as 1 of them is against Zion Athletic tomorrow night who appear to be in total free fall since winning the Cup. I’m expecting City to bag all 3 points from this game.
St Thomas’ Aldridge gave themselves a chance of staying up with their 6-1 win over Zion Athletic on May 3rd, Tommy Wright notching a hat-trick in the process. This win, following their 8-0 win over City Church has really given them a chance of Division 1 football next season. I had written them off prior to these 2 games but fair play to them. They have won their games and are now asking questions of Amblecote, who currently sit in the bottom 3.
Halesowen Zion signed off their season losing 2-1 to City Church, a game that really had nothing on it as Halesowen had already secured their Division 1 status a few weeks ago.
With Division 2 being complete May 3rd saw the final group games in the Division 2 Cup taking place. Charlemont Star saw off Selly Oak Methodist 3-0 and Connect Sports beat Chawn Hill Church 8-2 in what I had called the ‘Group Of Death.’ Indeed, on the morning of the game there were so many permutations as to who could go through I needed to write an essay to explain the qualifying criteria! In the end, it was not needed as Connect secured top spot with their win over Chawn with Martin Lees scoring 4 and Richard Ricketts bagging a hat-trick and Charlemont securing 2nd with their win over Selly Oak. Chawn had only previously suffered 2 defeats all season so it was a very good win for Connect. In Group ‘B’ Renewal Solihull secured top spot on goal difference following their 2-2 draw with Rockmount United. So the stage was set for last Saturdays Division 2 Cup Semi-Finals, Connect Sports vs Rockmount United and Renewal Solihull vs Charlemont Star. Connect won their game 5-1 with Richard Ricketts hitting the old onion bag twice for them and Renewal progressed to the Final with a tight 3-2 win over Charlemont, Isaac Cooper grabbing the headlines with all 3 goals for them. So it’s Renewal Solihull vs Connect Sports in this weekends Division 2 Cup Final which is to be held at the Pavillions, Moor Lane, B6 7AA.
May 3rd saw the Semi-Finals of the Division 3 Cup with 1st vs 2nd and 3rd vs 4th. I predicted Pye Green Towers to overcome Champions Living Hope Church but was proved wrong as Living Hope looked to add to their title and progressed into the Final with a 2-1 win with goals from Pete Falconer and Jack Chapman. Darren Hill notched a hat-trick in the other Semi-Final as Zion City beat Dudley Lions 7-0. So we were set up with a Final of 1st vs 4th with Living Hope Church facing Zion City.
On the day, Zion City beat Living Hope Church 5-2 to dash Living Hopes chance of a League and Cup double. But Zion were worthy winners on the day, see Steve Farley’s Match Report. So Congratulations to all involved with Zion City.
This match was also played at the Pavillions, Moor Lane and was very well attended with both sets of spectators and players setting exemplary standards of sportsmanship and a match that also did the League proud.
Indeed, the following was sent to me after the game:
I just wanted to spend a couple of minutes, to write to you as Secretary of the League, to say what a privilege it’s been to be involved with the WMCFL this year.
I have been involved in football, as a player, and manager for many years, before decided to become a referee in April 2011. I have refereed in a few leagues since then, but refereeing in the WMCFL is in a different class. The games are competitive, fast paced, physical but yet are played with great respect. Of course you do get a few people who overstep the mark at times, but usually this is realised by the end of the game and apologies are forthcoming.
I’ve really enjoyed my first season in the league and have been involved in some memorable games. I was also honoured to be selected for Saturdays Cup Final between Living Hope and Zion City, which I thought was a wonderful game of football. Also credit should be given to both sets of supporters who helped to make the occasion a special one.
Thank you for allowing me to be involved with your league, and thank you for showing me that with hard work and commitment from all involved, football can be enjoyed in a positive way.