CHAMPIONS SLIP TO OPENING DAY DEFEAT
After what has felt like a never ending summer (but to be fair I was glad of the break) The 2016/17 season finally got underway this weekend
In the Premier Division, champions Riverside Rovers started the defence of their title with a tough looking trip to Acle Rangers, and that proved to be the case as goals from Julian Bussell, Perry Kelf and Daniel Foreman helped the home side to a 3-2 victory. Luke Tuttle and Roy Bevis replied for the champions. Schoolhouse, last season's runners up, started the season well as they won 6-2 at Lakewood United. DE FC made a good start to life in the Prem, scoring five without reply at fellow new boys Horsford United, whilst Dilham Cross Keys first game in the top flight saw them beat Farmhouse 6-2 with goals coming from Dan Tindall 3, Jamie Duffield, Dan Duffield and John Bell. I saw a very entertaining game at Poringland Wanderers where Bungay Town were the visitors and it was the Suffolk side who took an early lead when Marcus Strak ran onto a through ball to score with a cool finish. The lead lasted for fifteen minutes as, after a very good move, Matt Cook put the home side level with a good finish and the same player put the home side in front before the break. Bungay started the second period well and eventually grabbed a deserved equaliser. Aiden Lowe bulleted in a twenty five yard effort that was superbly saved by Tommy Taylor, but Pat Hudson was on hand to slam home the rebound. Both sides had chances after that as the game flowed from end to end but a point apiece was a fair result. Tommy Taylor was impressive in the home goal, whilst Aiden Lowe was at the heart of Bungay's best efforts. Referee Richard Gostling also had a decent game in the middle.
Glen Spooner made a great start to the season scoring all four of Vale Longo's goals as they kicked off with a 4-1 win at home to Constable Crusaders. Despite problems getting into the ground, Windmill Wanderers recovered from an early setback against Brooke to also win 4-1. There was a debut goal for Brandon Leggett, two for Jordan Plunkett and a 30 yard "worldie" for sixteen year old Alfie Robson. Bungay Town Res had a 4-2 win at home to Warwick St United and a last minute goal from Lee Barnes ensured Longdale Rovers won at Middle Green by the odd goal of seven, with Ryan Roberts and two goal Josh Castillo Hall also scoring for the visitors. Norman Wanderers got their season of to a good start with a 2-0 win over Mischief FC.
In 1B, biggest winners of the day were Sprowston Wanderers who scored seven as they won at Hethersett Athletic, Adam Waters hit two for the home side. Jutty Womack scored twice as Aslacton came back from the long trip to Briston Wanderers with three points and a 2-0 win, whilst Binham Village ran out 5-2 winners at home to Acle Rangers Res. Phoenix FC, last seasons 2B winners, suffered defeat in their first ever senior game as they went down 2-1 at Salhouse Rovers.
2A started off with some big wins. SNS FC scored seven (Joe Manning 3, Shane Gammage, Edvinus Radvillas, Simon Walsworth, Ben Morgan) as they won at DCS Rapid, Hewett OB hit six (Lee Roper Smith 3, Oli Dodds, Luke Jeal, Callum Speck) when beating Mettingham and Norman Wand Res also hit the half dozen (Kane Smith 2, Jimmy Buxton, Dan Stammers, Chris Jermy, OG) as they won at Brooke Res. Winfarthing scored five (Nathan Styles 3, Aaron Day, Jack Ballard) without reply at Warwick St United Res and Micawbers won 4-0 at Dynamo.
2B saw what was undoubtedly the comeback of the day. 4-0 down at half time to Hellesdon FC, Norwich CEYMS stormed back after the break and thanks to a Darren Smith hat trick and further goals by Jack Hurrell and Kane Wetteland, CEYMS won the game 5-4. Hethersett Res got off the mark with a 5-0 win at FC Viking and Blofield United were 6-1 winners at Sporting Iceni. Sprowston Athletic kept a clean sheet when scoring five at Bunwell, whilst Stephen White scored all four for East Tuddenham who were 4-1 victors over Harleston Town Under 21's.
With the majority of the division being new teams 3A could be an interesting season. Mad Moose Athletic went behind early but then hit nine (Michael Cullum 4, Josh Malin 2, Josh Buckley, Max Marsham, Freddie Turner) as they won at Longdale Rovers Res as did AFC Norwich for whom Luke Perry 3, Matthew Butcher 2, Gordon Horine, James Smith, Brendan Edwards and Oliver Cheeseman all scored when winning at Woodton United. Woolpack got off to a winning start with a 6-3 (Chris Holmes 3, Ricky Bevis, Jamie George Declan McAvoy) win at Cotman United, whilst Nelsons Athletic won 6-3 at Eaton Park Corinthians. Referee Justin Grosse praised the attitude of both sides as Norman Wanderers A beat Hempnall 4-1, Isaac Mace, Shane Empson, Reece May and Zakaria Anwar scoring for Norman and Drayton Dazzlers will be delighted with their start to life in the league as they won 3-2 at Marlborough. Jack Lincoln and Adam Wilson scored for the home side.
As you know, that despite the doom and gloom that has become associated with the grassroots game, we take pride in our league being one of the biggest Adult Sunday leagues in the in the Country. A very interesting article in one of today's papers proves that whilst things can always be better, we are not as badly off as some. http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/premier-league-clubs-spend-1billion-8763005