In the first part of his review of the Boston and District Saturday Football League season, Neil Johnson takes a look at the top two divisions - where Swineshead recorded a double double...
Swineshead Institute achieved an impressive double when they lifted both the Premier Division trophy and the Willoughby Cup.
They also reached the last four of the county cup, bowing out at Hykeham Town.
Swineshead kicked off their season on the opening day last August with a comfortable 3-0 away win at Ruskington Rovers while rivals Spilsby Town also kicked off with an away win at Billinghay following a 3-2 scoreline.
Both sides scored five times the following week with Swineshead winning 5-3 at Pointon and Spilsby edging out Kirton Town 5-4 at home.
Mareham United also reluctantly kicked off their campaign with an 8-0 defeat against Old Leake and this, unfortunately, was a sign of the struggles ahead.
A 19-0 trouncing at Wyberton followed in the first week of September and this score-line was repeated at the end of October where Swineshead striker Jack Houghton bagged eight of his side’s goals.
Mareham deserve special praise during their immensely difficult campaign.
The club, who initially started off by suffering a mass exodus of first-team players, had no option but to withdraw their reserve side from Division Two, although they would have preferred to pull out their Premier side owing to the standard of players remaining.
The club decided to carry on despite admitting that their playing staff would be better suited to competing in the second division rather than The Premier.
So, not surprisingly, the team suffered trouncing after trouncing, conceding a total of 186 goals in their 24 games and, when many clubs would have called it a day by Christmas, the struggling outfit carried on to the bitter end - earning many admirers along the way.
Holbeach Bank too, although under slightly different circumstances, must also take huge credit for carrying on in Division Two despite only drawing one of their 24 games and conceding 138 goals in the process.
Swineshead continued to look strong and, although they were held to a 1-1 draw by Skegness in mid-October, they also showed their potential with an earlier 8-1 home win against Fishtoft.
Spilsby were also looking threatening and the top two clashed at the end of November with Swineshead just scraping through 1-0 with an Alex Snaith winner.
Mareham, on the other hand, were showing encouraging signs of an improvement with 1-3 and 0-4 defeats in consecutive weeks, both against Skegness Town Reserves, followed by a 4-8 defeat at home to Billinghay.
Things really hotted up when Spilsby defeated their rivals 2-1 in March.
Both sides continued to grind out results towards the end of the campaign, although some wins were tinged with nervousness - evident when in mid-April Spilsby just scraped through 2-1 at home against Skegness, while Swineshead edged out Pointon 1-0 on the same day.
Swineshead slowly chalked up the points from their catch-up games and after they had beaten Ruskington Rovers 3-2 in a midweek game, Spilsby were required to score an impossible amount of goals in their final game.
Swineshead’s final game would have been no more than a celebratory party but unfortunately opponents Benington pulled out, giving the champions a walk-over victory.
In Division One, Swineshead’s Reserves side mirrored their first team’s achievements by also securing an excellent double with the Division One title and the Reserve Cup.
Newly-promoted Heckington Millers pushed their rivals all the way but were always just too far adrift, but they still finished second.
Heckington kicked off at the end of August with a 5-0 win at Fosdyke, while Swineshead Reserves started a week later with a 2-1 victory at Coningsby.
Swineshead continued to look impressive, although they were held to a 3-3 draw against Sutterton the following week, while Heckington showed them how to do it a week later when they defeated Sutterton 3-2.
Richard Barker’s goals were to prove crucial for Swineshead Reserves and he netted one of his many hat-tricks against Freiston at the end of September in a 4-2 away win.
Friskney also started well and this was evident when they held Swineshead to a 5-5 draw in early October, although it was Michael Wood who claimed a hat-trick for Swineshead this time while Ryan Appleton also struck a treble for Friskney.
Friskney were involved in another high-scoring draw a week later when they held Heckington Millers to a 4-4 draw with striker Greg Brown grabbing a hat-trick.
Sleaford Colts, another new side to the league, were also showing promise and they gave Swineshead a good game later in October despite going down 3-1.
The top two clashed on the first day of November with Richard Barker scoring twice in a 2-1 home win against the Millers, although Swineshead were then held to a 2-2 draw a week later by Fosdyke.
Heckington boosted their goal difference seven days later when they trounced Pointon Reserves 10-1 with a Daniel Eastgate hat-trick.
Coningsby were another side who had obvious potential but, with their cup-tie involvement, they were always playing catch-up.
Heckington and Swineshead met again on the first Saturday of the new year and a 2-2 showed how little there was between the two sides.
Towards the end of February both sides were still going well and a Sam Elliott goal gave Heckington Millers a 1-0 win against Sleaford Colts while, on the same day, Swineshead Reserves were hammering Old Doningtonians 6-0 with a Barker double.
Heckington also thumped Old Dons a month later before a 4-3 defeat at Freiston on second weekend of April probably ended their hopes of catching the leaders.
A 4-1 midweek win against Coningsby sealed the title for Swineshead the following week.