TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE: Six new teams to join in 2014-15
SIX new sides were elected to the Trowbridge Windows and Conservatories-sponsored Trowbridge & District League at their annual meeting at Trowbridge's Wesley Road club last week.
Division One runners up and A&B Cup and Knockout Cup winners Westbury United Reserves and Trowbridge Wanderers have left to join the Wiltshire League, while Division Two winners Lacock FC and third division outfits Polenez Westbury and Marshfield withdrew following th end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Ben Howe will be in charge of first division side North Bradley as he chases the Wiltshire Junior Cup, with Bradley also being the main challengers to champions Freshford United who will be looking to become the first side since Seend United to win back-to-back titles.
Aces FC are joining from the Bath Saturday League, with FC Box Steam Brewery, Melksham Town A, Potterne FC, Worton Cheverell Reserves and FC Trowbridge, who will be playing at Stanley Park due to the lack of facilities in their home town, making up the newcomers.
Trowbridge Windows and Conservatories are continuing their main sponsorship of the league, with owner Bob Farion, who has sponsored the league since the start of the 2010/11 season and previously sponsored the Knockout Cup, made a league vice president to the league.
Farion himself enjoyed many years playing on the league with a number of sides that included Nelson Haden Old Boys, Rudloe, Box, Winsley, Freshford and he was part of the successful Hilperton United side of the 1980s.
The league's presentation evening followed the annual meeting where president Ian Hibberd and vice chairman Phil Senior presented the awards.
Andrew Ansell took the Eddie Meaden referee’s award, presented annually to the best upcoming new or young referee.
Ansell, who is a serving member of the Royal Air Force, has officiated in the Service and civilian leagues for the past 14 years both in this country and abroad.
Having moved to the area 18 months ago he is now working at the MoD in Corsham and hopes to finish his last five years of service in the Wiltshire area.
Having just gained his level five qualification, his first season on the league saw him referee the Knockout Cup Final and the Wiltshire Junior Cup.
Westbury-based whistleblower Neil Hawker picked up the inaugural trophy to honour the memory of former league referee John McMackin, who passed away in May 2013 at the age of 58.
The family of John McMackin, who was originally from Ireland before settling in Westbury in the early 1990s, wanted to give something to the league in which he refereed for some 17 years.
Hawker, 50, was one of the most improved referees of the season making him a deserved winner of the accolade which was presented to him by McMackin's wife Patsy and son Adam.
Hawker, who took to refereeing in 2008, moved to Westbury in 1965 and was promoted to level five last season. He is the current chairman of Westbury Cricket Club.
After stepping in at the start of the season to take over as secretary of Westbury Town FC, Fosu Gharban single-handedly kept the team in the league throughout what was a troubled season for the Division Two outfit.
Gharban, who was also manager, saw his team put together a five-match unbeaten run before things dramatically fell to piece and they only managed one win from their following 11 matches.
The team came close to calling it a day on more than one occasion but, despite a 19-0 loss to champions Lacock when they only had nine players, Gharban somehow managed to see the season out.
His paperwork over the season was exemplary, making him a deserved best secretary award winner.
Roy Wenham, secretary of Division One side Calne Eagles, claimed the club correspondent award.
Wenham received a trophy and a cheque for £30 for his match reporting efforts over the season.
It was a third straight win for Wenham and the sixth time in seven seasons that he had taken the accolade.
Their first season in Division One may have seen Calne Eagles finish bottom of the pile and relegated back to Division Two, but for a second successive season their fair play efforts shone through as they picked up the Dudley Cradock Sportsmanship Award with an average of 80.79 from their 20 league matches.
With the cup they received a cheque for £100, as did Bratton who topped Division One.
League newcomers Zeals FC were also £100 better off as they finished top the third division fair play charts.
Castle Combe pocketed £75 as Division One fair play runners up and Westwood News (Division Two) and Polenez Westbury, from Division Three walked away with £75 apiece.
Semington Magpies, Westbury Town and White Horse FC, another of the league’s new clubs from the start of last season, all picked up £50 each for finishing in third place in their respective division’s fair play standings.
Third Division village side Zeals FC, who only joined the league at the start of last season, also claimed the club linesman’s of the season award with an impressive average of 80.69.
Fellow new boys White Horse FC averaged 80.53.
Trowbridge Wanderers Reserves finished second in Division Two with Steeple Ashton third, but both teams were well beaten by Paul Speering’s Worton & Cheverell side.
The sides in Division Three who made up the top three were Westwood News, Bradford United Reserves and The Fleece.
The new season will kick off on August 30th with 30 sides competing for the honours across the three divisions.
Ten sides will be battling it out to finish as Division One champions.
Newly-promoted Bradford News (formerly Westwood News) will be hoping to continue their rapid rise from the third division to Division One champions.
Mark Hurkett’s side face stiff competition from current champions Freshford United, North Bradley and both Trowbridge Town and Hilperton United (formerly The Lamb).
Bradford United, Castle Combe, Semington Magpies, Steeple Ashton and Warminster Town Reserves make up the ten sides.
Having gained promotion from Division Three last term, both White Horse and Holt will like to think they will have what it takes to be among the sides fighting for promotion to the top division.
United FC and Trowbridge Rangers, who were also pushed up, could give a good account of themselves while Trowbridge Wanderers Reserves, Calne Eagles, seeking an immediate return to the top flight, Westbury Town, Bradford United Reserves, Heytesbury and Worton & Cheverell also compete.
Division Three welcomes six new sides, Aces, FC Box Steam Brewery, FC Trowbridge, Melksham Town A, Potterne FC, and Worton & Cheverell Reserves, who join relegated Bratton, Hilperton United Reserves (formerly Lamb Reserves), The Stiffs and Zeals.
Dudley Cradock Sportsmanship awards - Division One, Calne Eagles, £100; Castle Combe, £75; Semington Magpies, £50; Division Two: Bratton FC, £100; Westwood News, £75; Westbury Town, £50; Division Three: Zeals FC, £100; Polenez Westbury, £75; White Horse FC, £50.
Overall winners (Sportsmanship Cup): Calne Eagles (80.79).
Club Linesman’s awards - Division One: 1 Steeple Ashton, 2 Semington Magpies, 3 Bradford United; Division Two: 1 Westwood News, 2 Trowbridge Wanderers Reserves, 3 Bratton; Division Three: 1 Zeals FC, 2 White Horse FC, 3 Polenez Westbury.
Overall winners (Club Assistant Referees Award): Zeals FC (80.69).
Eddie Meaden Referee’s award: Andrew Ansell.
John McMackin Referee’s award: Neil Hawker.
Club Secretary’s award: Fosu Gharban (Westbury Town).
Club correspondent’s award: Roy Wenham (Calne Eagles).
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