CHIPPENHAM & DISTRICT SUNDAY LEAGUE: Champions Biddestone call it a day
JAMIE Lyons, club secretary of three-time Premier Division title winners Biddestone Social has called time on their participation in the Chippenham & District Sunday League.
Lyons informed league secretary Frank Harvey that the team, managed by Ashley Smith and one of the most successful in recent years, were not in a position to complete their current league campaign despite having just four matches to play.
Social have cited the lack of players due to commitments to their Saturday’s side most notably Toolstation League side Larkhall and Bradford Town.
Biddestone have had a team in the league for many years, although the current crop of players were nothing to do with the side from the late 70’s to early 90’s.
The former Biddestone side were Division Four runners-up in 1979. Two years later they claimed second spot in Division Three, the following season saw them promoted to Division One, once again they just missed out on the top spot.
In 1988 they finally made it into the league's newly-formed Premier Division and, after a wait of three seasons, they lifted the champions crown ahead of FC Cons.
The following season saw them miss out to an excellent Rose & Crown side but in 1994 they lifted the title for a last time before the club disbanded.
In the glory years they also lifted the Knockout Cup in 1993 with a record 14-1 victory over Bromham and finished runners-up to Rose & Crown and Shaw & Whitley Hibs.
Reformed as Biddestone Social Club they won their final game of 1999-2000 season to escape relegation to the bottom division.
The aging side then started to break up and a decision was taken to go for youth.
At the time Biddestone had a successful U18’s team and six of these players were recruited to play alongside the youngsters they already had.
In 2001/-02 the young side surpassed all expectations and finished third in the division and, due to reorganisation of the league they found themselves in the second division.
Joint managers Ian Liversage and Russell Webster left the area to be replaced by John O' Meara who brought in a couple of older, more experienced, players to help the youngsters adapt to the better class of opposition.
The team did him proud and they were delighted to snatch runners up spot in Division Two to claim their first piece of silverware.
Biddestone took Division One by storm in 2004 and walked away with the title, completing a league and cup double by lifting the Subsidiary Cup.
They went on to finish fourth in the top flight in 2005 and since then they have been a one of the top sides in the league, finishing as runners up on four occasions to their nemesis Corsham Centre.
They suffered a shock Knockout Cup final defeat to Parsons Nose in 2006 but went on to lift the cup in both 2010 and 2011 and, having moved out of the shadows of the now-defunct Corsham side, Dan Lardner led the villagers to the Premier Division title in 2011 and 2012.
Under manager Ashley Smith they defended their title in style in 2013 and went on to have the best-ever season of any team in the league, completing an unprecedented quadruple by winning the Wiltshire Sunday Cup, the Knockout Cup for a third time in four years and Subsidiary Cup to complete a clean sweep of trophies.
Biddestone’s withdrawal from the top flight, which follows in the footsteps of Corsham United, Steeple Ashton Rangers, FC Colerne and Bradford Renegades, hands the title to The Castle FC, who will finish top of the four remaining sides.
It also gives Castle a free passage to the final of the Knockout Cup as the sides were set to meet this weekend.
Tom Perkins' side, who are now on for a hat-trick of trophies, receive a walkover to April’s final.
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