Tavern face future challenge - Saturday Football League review

Jimmy Britton.
Jimmy Britton.

TWO teams in the Boston Saturday Football League gained back-to-back promotions – Freiston Reserves and Benington - while Tavern Colts lifted the Premier Division trophy one season after promotion from Division One.

There were also major celebrations for two of the new sides in the form of Wrangle United and Queen’s Rangers, who both won their respective divisions.

Wrangle United were making a comeback after an absence of two seasons to top Division Two, but Queen’s Rangers, despite a few hiccups on the way, sealed a successful debut season by winning Division Three.

Taylors Garages

Premier Division

TAVERN Colts’ Premiership title has been slightly tarnished with the news that manager, Gary Frost has now elected to ply his trade at the previous season’s champions, Wyberton.

The set up at Wyberton is still geared up for higher-grade football and Frost couldn’t resist the opportunity to test his attributes and kickstart the club after a disappointing campaign.

It is also believed that some of Tavern’s squad will follow their manager to the Causeway.

Although the club have decided to withdraw their reserve side from Division Two, they have also requested that the first team starts off next season in the First Division because of the expected exodus of players.

There was no question that Tavern Colts deserved to be crowned as Champions after heading the top flight for the majority of the season, and they kicked off with an opener against Freiston.

The outcome was ominous for Freiston, who suffered a heavy 8-1 defeat while, adversely, the signs looked good for Tavern with key striker Daniel White claiming a hat-trick.

The following week saw Freiston gain one of their more satisfactory results – a goal-less draw at Billinghay Athletic - while Tavern carried on churning out the goals with a 5-0 victory against Skegness Town Reserves.

Danny Maddison then left Colts to join Pinchbeck, with Frost responding by bringing in transfer signing Curtis Yeatman from Freiston.

Woodhall Spa United also got their season underway and they went down 4-2 at Wyberton, and things continued to go downhill for United as they never managed to haul themselves from the bottom of the table. In mid-September Tavern were held to a 4-4 draw at Pointon, but the blip was only temporary and they remained in charge culminating in a mid-October thrashing at Old Doningtonians, with White hitting four in a 7-1 away win.

On the same day, Tavern’s nearest rivals Old Leake remained in the chase with a 3-0 win against Billinghay.

In early November, a last-minute goal from Old Leake’s Chris Baker kept his side in touch at the top following a narrow 1-0 away win at Wyberton.

On December 10, Tavern Colts and Old Leake shared the points after a 1-1 draw.

Two weeks into the New Year, and Frost’s decision to bring in Yeatman paid dividends when the striker hit five of the six goals in a 6-0 thumping of Wyberton.

Kirton Town’s Chris Hilton was also keeping his side in the hunt with a hat-trick in an 8-2 win over Old Dons, while Old Leake slumped at Billinghay 4-1.

White hit another hat-trick in a 6-2 win against Billinghay in February, and the next two fixtures against rivals, Kirton Town and Old Leake confirmed their superiority with 4-0 and 4-1 victories respectively.

The last day of March saw White continuing to add to his tally with a four-goal haul following a 6-1 against Woodhall.

Two weeks later Ben Jacques and White scored two goals apiece in a 5-0 win at Spilsby.

They played Spilsby again a week later and a similar outcome (5-1) meant the title was secured.

Taylors Peugeot

Division One

THE Division One campaign saw two amazing feats of differing fortitudes - featuring Benington at the top and Sutterton at the bottom.

Benington deservedly claimed the title after an amazing season, while Sutterton somehow kept going despite losing several players and suffering some horrendous results.

The basement club even submitted a letter of withdrawal in early January, but retracted it at the 11th hour.

The signs were not good for Sutterton when they kicked off in the first week of September, as Coningsby wracked up eight goals without reply.

Billinghay Reserves started the season strongly with a 2-0 win at Fishtoft – these two sides along with Spalding Harriers would battle out for the runner-up spot.

The following week saw Sutterton continue to leak goals as Billinghay secured a 7-1 victory.

Benington got their season up and running the same week with a 4-4 draw at Mareham United, with Tim Bell claiming all of his side’s goals.

The top two sides met during October and it was Tim Bell, this time, who grabbed one of the goals in a 2-0 victory against Billinghay Reserves.

Leaders Spalding Harriers showed their potential in early November with an impressive 4-0 defeat of Benington.

Benington bounced back with a crushing 6-1 win at Wyberton, although the result of the day came at Sutterton where the home side went desperately close to beating Billinghay, who recovered to end up with a point in a 5-5 draw.

Fishtoft held a 1-0 half time lead when they entertained Benington in early December but Benington snatched victory with two second half goals from Alasdair Hutton. On the same day Billinghay beat Mareham 6-1 and Sutterton chalked up their first victory against Spalding Town, 3-2 the score-line.

The week before Christmas saw Spalding Town beat Sutterton 14-0.

Sides queued up to boost their goal tallies as Holbeach Bank recorded a 17-0 win, Fishtoft 16-1, Boston United Community 11-0, Mareham United 12-1 and Benington 14-0.

At the end of February, Fishtoft were still playing catch-up and a 5-0 win at Wyberton Reserves kept them in contention for promotion.

Gavin Bell hit a hat-trick for Benington in their mid-March win against Mareham before they suffered only their second defeat of the season on April 14 when Spalding Harriers completed the double over them with a 2-1 victory.

Benington were not to be denied and a midweek victory over Fishtoft secured the title as Gavin Bell hit two in a 4-2 victory.

Taylors Ford

Division Two

WRANGLE United, under the guidance of Nigel Birtwistle and Steve Howe, gained promotion from Division Two at the first attempt following an absence of two seasons.

Newly-promoted Freiston Reserves started impressively, beating Tavern Colts Reserves 9-2 early on.

Spalding Town Reserves struggled throughout the season and even had to forfeit three fixtures due to a lack of players.

It was probably inevitable, therefore, that, at the end of the season, the club decided to withdraw their reserve side for the forthcoming season.

Wrangle’s second fixture, a home match against Nelson FC, saw the edge victory with a single-goal victory – Sam Duff grabbing the all-important finish.

FC Kirton were another side who found themselves facing a titanic struggle to survive due mainly to players jumping ship.

By the end of the campaign no less that 11 players had left.

FC Kirton gained a major boost in early October with a 5-1 win against Coningsby Reserves and, on November 5, Wrangle were beginning to find their feet with a 3-0 win at Pointon Reserves.

Freiston Reserves and Wrangle United clashed in early December and two goals from Dave Whalley helped Freiston to a 4-2 away win.

Wrangle hit eight against Park United at the end of February and a week later Freiston Reserves kept the pressure on with a 2-0 win at Pointon Reserves.

Wrangle then drew 2-2 with Tavern Colts Reserves in mid-March.

It was a case of unlucky 13 for Mareham United Reserves a week later when they conceded 13 goals to Tavern.

The first Saturday in April saw Wranglew held to a 1-1 draw by Pointon Reserves, but they finally clinched the title with a 4-1 win at Freiston Reserves.

The Champions signed off in style with a 6-0 victory over Coningsby Reserves.

Taylors Vauxhall

Division Three

QUEEN’S Rangers debut season saw them finally clinch the title but not after a few hic-cups on the way.

Twice they got caught out with playing a player serving a Lincs FA suspension, losing four points into the bargain.

But they still had enough in the second half of the season as their form clicked into gear.

Queen’s got their season up and running at the end of August, but they came up against an FC Hammers side who enjoyed a good start to the campaign – Hammers won 2-1.

The following week the eventual top two sides, Queens and Old Doningtonians Reserves, met in an early-season encounter and the spoils were shared after a goal-less draw.

This was one of the games Queen’s fell foul of the rules and the point was deducted.

It didn’t get any better for Rangers the next week as they went down 2-1 at home to Spalding Harriers Reserves.

Old Doningtonians Reserves were going well and this was evident on the fourth week of the season with an impressive 6-2 away win at Spalding Harriers Reserves – Giles Favell scoring twice for the Dons.

FC Hammers were also going well as they defeated Pointon A 4-2.

The end of September saw Queen’s show their intentions in getting their promotion chase back on course – this coincided when they captured Jimmy Britton on a transfer from Freiston.

He wasted no time in getting his scoreboard rolling with two goals on his debut at Spilsby Town Reserves in a 3-2 win.

In October came a 12-2 victory against Pointon A, with Britton hitting half of their goals. Queen’s started the new year on a mission with a 3-1 win against Old Dons Reserves, and Britton started firing on all cylinders as three hat-tricks came from his boots during March, as Queen’s went on to clinch the title.