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TOOLSTATION WESTERN LEAGUE

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Upcoming Fixtures

Saturday 4th August

Premier

Bitton15:00Clevedon Town
Bradford Town15:00Cribbs
Buckland Athletic15:00Willand Rovers
Cadbury Heath15:00Brislington
Chipping Sodbury Town15:00Bridport
Hallen15:00Roman Glass St George
Hengrove Athletic15:00Bridgwater Town
Plymouth Parkway15:00Odd Down (Bath)
Shepton Mallet15:00Shortwood United
Westbury United15:00Wellington

First Division

Bishop Sutton15:00Keynsham Town
Bristol Telephones15:00Calne Town
Chard Town15:00Longwell Green Sports
Chippenham Park15:00Warminster Town
Devizes Town15:00Cheddar
Portishead Town15:00Oldland Abbotonians
Sherborne Town15:00Bishops Lydeard
Wells City15:00Ashton and Backwell Utd
Welton Rovers15:00Corsham Town
Wincanton Town15:00Radstock Town

Premier Division

First Division

THE PODCAST

Podcast.
For our final podcast this season we speak to record breaking goal scorer Mark Salter and promotion winning Melksham Town manager, Kieran Baggs.

Missed one of our Podcasts? You can find them all by following this link

THE BULLETIN

Bulletin.

You can read the latest copy of THE BULLETIN by following this link

MATCH REPORTS

Chipping Sodbury Town 2 Fareham Town 1

Sodbury took an impressive scalp on Saturday as they came from behind to beat Wessex League Premier Division Fareham Town at a baking hot Ridings on Saturday afternoon writes Kerry Miller.

Read more HERE

Latest News

NLS Club Allocations


By Kerry Miller

The Football Association’s Step 5 and 6 constitutions, which were made public on Friday morning, have stunned all connected to the Toolstation Western League from club chairmen to casual supporters and the ramifications and fall out will undoubtedly lead to appeals and questions which demand answers.

While most expected the league to be reduced to 40 member clubs from the current 42 as per the general plan laid down some time ago by the FA, few within it were geared up to lose six and gain just two, leaving Division One with just 18 sides and 34 league games.

The Premier Division set up appears to be as most assumed it would with the departure of both champions Street and runners-up Melksham Town to the Southern League and the promotion of champions Westbury United and runners-up Roman Glass St George. With Wells City and Longwell Green Sports relegated that left 18 in the mix and with SW Peninsula League champions Plymouth Parkway coming straight up to the Premier and Southern Leaguers Shortwood United taking voluntary demotion and being placed in the Premier that made the 20 clubs which it was believed was the FA’s aim for both divisions.

Unfortunately and shockingly, the panel have taken Bristol side Almondsbury and Wiltshire-based Malmesbury Vics and placed them in the Hellenic League and have not granted reprieves to Portishead Town and Warminster Town, who are both facing life in county leagues while staring at an 18 team division. Gloucestershire County League Thornbury Town were also expected to take their place in Division One but they too have been put into the Hellenic League, which has two 14 club Step 6 divisions, albeit underpinned with reserve teams and youth clubs and one which lost every game last season but has still been offered a place.

All last season we had been at meetings where we have been told that the FA wanted two divisions of 20..

Pete Russell

Warminster Town chairman Pete Russell reacted to the news by saying: “All last season we had been at meetings where we have been told that the FA wanted two divisions of 20 only to see today that they have reduced it to 18 and taken Almondsbury and Malmesbury. ‘Having two spaces available and moving two clubs sideways it makes no sense to relegate us and Portishead Town. ‘What happens if the Wiltshire League already has a full quota of clubs when their constitution comes out next week?”

Portishead Town chairman Adrian Green was equally perplexed at the news and said: “We only heard through a supporter’s Twitter feed that the division was down to 18 and so as a club have not had a chance to discuss what, if anything, we can do but it is a bombshell as we were only chatting at the weekend at the Convention about the 20-20 split and frankly how and why the FA have done this is a mystery.”

National website Non-League Matters very quickly exploded with posts as the whole of the Step 5 and 6 set ups were published and Salisbury-based Sarumio posted: “Why is the Western League Division One running with 18 teams - why have they not reprieved Portishead and Warminster to run with 20? The Wessex have had their bottom side (Folland Sports) reprieved, so why are the Western League sides being treated so differently? How can the FA relegate Warminster Town and Portishead Town and yet let Tytherington Rocks stay at Step 6 despite not gaining a single point last season.“

Meanwhile Tim Burgin, a Stourbridge-based Welton Rovers supporter who is often seen at Western League grounds commented: “I'm sure there are sound geographical reasons, but I can't help feeling sorry for Almondsbury and Malmesbury Victoria, who are moving from a proper 22 team division in a proper football league to a 14 team division with reserves and youth teams. ‘I hope Portishead and Warminster appeal: no reason why they should be relegated.”

Another fan, Ashtree RockBee stated: “ I dread to think what Almondsbury and Malmesbury Victoria think about eight less home league games a season, as well as some local fixtures against first teamers replaced by a handful against youth / reserve set-ups.”

As the situation stands it is understood that clubs have a right of appeal channel whereas individual leagues may not have and with the Step 7 constitution being formulated in a few day’s time, and with a Bank Holiday in between, time is of the essence for the various clubs affected by these decisions.

Meanwhile over in the Premier Division the league are looking forward to welcoming Plymouth Parkway and Shortwood United, who have arrived from different directions both geographically and metaphorically. Parkway come with a reputation as a strong club on and off the field and although well-known and respected throughout Devon and Cornwall there will be many further up country ready to find out what the fuss has been about in recent seasons. Their well-appointed home ground, Bolitho Park, is on the northern edge of Plymouth not far from the Tavistock road and they often play home games on Fridays, although that would appear less of an option next season given the distance some clubs will be travelling. They backed up their league title win with victory in the Devon St Lukes Bowl to complete the double and have already designed a new kit to commemorate entry into the Western League as well as cementing a money-spinning pre-season friendly against Plymouth Argyle on July 7.

Shortwood United have taken the alternative route having decided that life in the Southern League was a step too far at the moment and have dropped down to Western League football as the northern most side in the competition. Situated a mile or so across the valley from Forest Green Rovers, Shortwood’s delightfully appointed Meadowbank home is reached by a tortuous route up a valley road which would have had Christopher Columbus scratching his head and binning his Sat Nav. He may well have found Japan, the Bahamas Archipelago, San Salvador, Venezuela and Central America but even he would be doing well to hit Meadowbank first time round. Once there, contemporary explorers will not be disappointed and all at the Western League welcome them into the fold.

Pre season action is being formulated each day and Premier Division Bradford Town have been busy on and off the park since the last games were played only a couple of weeks ago. First team boss Danny Greaves has resigned after two successful years to take over at Southern League neighbours Frome Town which has left a managerial void which the Wiltshire club will be looking to fill very soon. They begin on July 7 with a home friendly against Welsh side Cwmbran Town and are committed to an attractive weekend of competitive football at Swindon Supermarine for the Supermarine Cup with matches against the home side at 1pm on Saturday July 28th and Banbury United a day later, also at 1pm. Sadly it will be without striker Karim Rendall as the experienced and much travelled player has decided to retire.

Some other clubs have published friendly dates starting on July 7 with Calne Town v Devizes Town and three days later Hengrove Atheltic entertain neighbours Fry Club while Bridgwater Town go to Somerset County League Somerton Town.

A day later Corsham Town are home to Highworth Town then on Saturday July 14 Chipping Sodbury Town face Wessex League Fareham Town, Fry Club play Cribbs and Kintbury Rangers have a visit from Calne Town.

Calne also visit Shrivenham on July 21 while Chard Town are home to Somerston Town on Thursday July 26.

Saturday July 28 sees the staging of the Toolstation Charity Cup at the Memorial Ground Penistone, between Northern Counties East side Penistone Church FC, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and Buckland Athletic. Kicking off at 2.30pm it is a curtain raiser which is bound to be competitively fought and will be ideal as a final run out before the league begins seven days later.

Annual Convention

Convention.

Congratulations to all the award winners at this year's Annual Convention.

You can view photos of all the award winners BY CLICKING HERE

The Bulletin of the Convention can be downloaded here

It's Been A Long Season...

Along with all other competitions up and down the country, the Toolstation Western League’s season has been decimated by the constant wet weather which has shaped many club’s campaigns while utterly ruining many others, writes press officer Kerry Miller.

It rained every single Saturday this year until last week apart from a brief spell when it snowed and any number of member clubs have been thrown a logistical conundrum which at one point threatened to become unsolvable. It is therefore to the immense credit of the myriad of club officials, volunteers and players plus the league officials who all grafted tirelessly over the past nine months, that the season had a conclusion which it could reach.

It has led to several clubs being forced into intolerable schedules, not least Buckland Athletic who have had 25% of their games rearranged

George McCaffrey

Western League fixtures secretary George McCaffery has had a baptism of fire, having taken over the role in the summer but he has come out at the other end battered and bruised but ready to take on the task once again as soon as the jigsaw puzzle which is the FA’s non-League restructuring shows any signs of having the final few pieces slotted into place. At the moment it is the equivalent of a 2,000 piece puzzle with a number lost down the back of the sofa but George is happy that once it is all in place, things cannot be any worse than they have been. “Records showed that the most rearrangements suffered in the past was 164 and we are now at over 250 for this season which shows what everyone has been up against” he said on the eve of the very last fixtures scheduled. “It has led to several clubs being forced into intolerable schedules, not least Buckland Athletic who have had 25% of their games rearranged.”

Buckland did not play a game between Dec 16 and Jan 13 and then March 13 to April 14 which took eight Saturdays out of the 40 week season and with 38 league games, plus the Les Phillips Cup matches on Saturdays, which they won last Monday, the FA Cup and FA Vase plus the 125 anniversary weekend and county cup commitments, it is no surprise that their particular jigsaw puzzle stayed unsolved almost to the end.

George went on to explain what happened with the FA’s season extensions: “The FA granted two extensions up to May 12 but their promotions meetings were due on Thursday May 10 and so clubs involved in promotion and relegation issues had to finish by the previous day and of course, with Buckland enjoying success in the Les Phillips Cup and the quarter-final being rained off it meant more games were bumped.” It was a similar scenario for the likes of Bridport and Cadbury Heath who suffered from waterlogged pitches and are still playing their games off well into May but it could not have been predicted and playing more games earlier on last autumn would have had a reverse impact for many clubs. George added: “Four Premier Division clubs had no games at all in the extension period and finished on time and if we had played more matches in September and October they would have been finished in March. It would be unwise to change completely because a couple of clubs ran into problems.” It may well be that some help is in the pipeline as it is believed a proposal to play the Les Phillips Cup in midweek next season may be debated at the AGM next month but meanwhile George and the rest of the Toolstation Western League officials thanked everyone involved for their work in what has been one of the hardest hit seasons in living memory. “On behalf of all the directors, thanks go out to all the unsung heroes from Buckland to Devizes who have somehow kept things going, from the programme editors to those who provide the hospitality, prepare the grounds and sweep the dressing rooms and the players who have ensured every game has been played.”

Les Phillips Cup Winners

Buckland Athletic.

Congratulations to Buckland Athletic on winning the Les Phillips Cup after extra time and a penalty shoot-out against Shepton Mallet.

You can view photos of the match taken by John Cuthbertson BY CLICKING HERE

If you would like to see more photos of the final you can see them BY CLICKING HERE

Team of the Month

Team of the Month.

Director Julian French presents the Premier Division Team of the Month Award for January/February to Bridgwater Town. Pictured are Club Secretary Ian Barber and Chairman Bob Buckingham.

CHAMPIONS!

Westbury United.
Westbury United were crowned First Division champions after their 1-0 win over Devizes Town and were presented with the trophy by Vice Chairman Allan Skuse.

FOOTBALL SHIRT FRIDAY

Football Friday.
Thank you to everyone who supported our #FootballShirtFriday campaign to beat bowel cancer. The final whistle may have blown but there’s still time to donate BY CLICKING HERE

CHAMPIONS!

Street.
Street were crowned champions of the league and were presented with the trophy by President Brian Beer.

Photo courtesey of Richard Palette.

The catalyst for this championship was the 7-1 defeat at Willand Rovers

Richard Fey

Read Kerry Miller's interview with Street FC manager Richard Fey BY CLICKING HERE

Photo of the Season

Photo of the Season.
Each year we award the Photo of the Season which is judged by the previous year’s winner. The competition was judged by John Cuthbertson.

Congratulations to Debbie Gould on winning this year's competition with the above photo.

Our thanks to John Cuthbertson for judging the competition and to all the photographers for their time and effort throughout the season in taking some great photos.

Click This Link to see the top three photos and all the entries.

Respect Award

Respect Award.
Corsham Town being presented with the Respect Awards for December and March by Director Sue Merrill.

Pictured are Sue Merrill, Jon Bazley (Corsham Town captain) and match officials Sam Fudge, Paul Huntley, Steve Higgins.

Photo courtesey of John Cuthbertson.

Long Service Awards

Long Service Awards.

League President Brian Beer was on hand to present Long Service Awards to Dave Phillips, Mike Perrin and Jenny Perrin of Melksham Town.

You can see the photos of the presentations by CLICKING HERE

Photos courtesy of John Cuthbertson.

Club Secretary Wanted

Westbury United are looking for a new Club Secretary. Anyone interested should email their interest or for any enquires to Chairman Greg Coulson: chairman@westburyunited.co.uk

You can also phone Greg on 07814956428

Team of the Month

Team of the Month.

General Secretary Andy Radford presents the First Division Team of the Month Award for January/February to Manager Andy Gurney of Roman Glass St George.

Photo Julian French.

Mike North Shield

Mike North Shield.

Finance Director Dave Brammer presents the 'Mike North Shield' to Phil Eddie who refereed last seasons Les Phillips cup final.

The shield is presented in memory of ex-Western League and football league referee Mike North who sadly passed away whilst refereeing a match.

Thanks to Mark Edmonds who resurrected the tradition and league director Sue Merrill and league reporter Kerry Miller for getting the engraving up to date with the correct details.

Manager Wanted

Applications are invited for the position of First Team Manager at Hallen AFC. Please email applications or for any enquires to Club Secretary Richard Stokes: sinbad88@hotmail.co.uk

Applications close on Friday 16th March 2018.

Monthly Awards

January/February Awards.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Safe Hands Award

Safe Hands.

Street goalkeeper Tom Punchard receiving his Safe Hands Award for January/February from Director Martin Painter.

Team of the Month

Team of the Month.

Bradford Town manager Danny Greaves receiving the Premier Division Team of the month award for December from League Director Sue Merrill.

Photo courtesy of Richard Tucker.

Convention 2018

Convention.
Annual Convention will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Plymouth from Friday 18th May until Sunday 20th May.

Artificial Pitches

Artificial Pitch.
With the constant heavy rain putting paid to most of the non-League programme once again last Saturday, Western League press officer Kerry Miller went down the 4G route and enjoyed an unusual treble with three games in three different counties last Saturday.

One young side who are always worth watching are Exeter City’s U18s and they look on course to repeat last season’s triumphs with a League Cup semi-final thrown in for good measure. The club’s training ground is the impressive Cat and Fiddle complex in Clyst St Mary which many years ago was the home ground of Western Leaguers St Lukes College and the changing room pavilion is still there and largely intact although the iconic Rothman’s Western League scoreboard was finally taken down a few years ago. The old Western League pitch is still there and surrounded by advertising boards but the youngsters now have a 4G pitch alongside the varied grass pitches, all of which would have taken a battering had they had been used on Saturday.

Instead the all weather surface came up trumps and City hammered their counterparts from Premier League AFC Bournemouth 5-1 to emphasise what a fine set up the Grecians have at youth level.

With Western League games going down at regular intervals and even Shepton Mallet’s fine pitch giving up the ghost, it was 4G again for the afternoon part of the day and with Roman Glass St George away, Keynsham Town’s home game with Almondsbury was definitely on while a few games in Bristol did get the final go ahead elsewhere.

Keynsham have played at the Crown Field since just after the war and in recent seasons the ground has been transformed into a much used and much changed venue which gains from not being completely enclosed by a hideous 12 foot chain link fence like so many others. The new seating came courtesy of Bristol City’s Ashton Gate make over and having been painted and brushed to within an inch of its life, it has possibly never looked better or brighter.

A good crowd, including a number of neutrals just happy to see a game, watched Keynsham go back to the top of Division One with goals from Tauren Williams and top scorer Matt Brown, his 50th for the club in 70 games.

The third game in the 4G trilogy was at Oaklands Park, formerly the home of Southern League Almondsbury Town but now the HQ of Gloucestershire FA and on the opposite side of the road to Almondsbury. Oaklands Park is used by a host of clubs including Roman Glass, Lebeq FC, and Bradley Stoke Town from the Bristol and District League Senior Division as well as by the county and Bristol Rovers U23 side on occasions.

This Saturday, for a 5.30pm kick-off it was the turn of Premier Combination side Real Thornbury who had the services of Taunton Town winger Ross Staley for one game before he headed off to Perth, Western Australia to play and coach. Predictably he was far too lively for the Oldland Abbotonians’ second string and netted five in an 8-0 win. Oaklands Park, along with the other two grounds, has an excellent surface but the complex suffers a little from the plethora of small sided goals which are dotted about the place including a group of them directly behind the main goals which is off putting to spectators and can’t be any fun for the players of officials. However with plenty of covered seating and standing areas it is a comfortable venue and for those whose footballing fix can stretch to more than one game on a Saturday, theregular 5.30pm kick-offs are an interesting idea.

Picture courtesy of www.sportsandsafetysurfaces.co.uk

The Bulletin

Blocked Emails.
We have received reports that some people are not receiving their weekly copy of The Bulletin. Unfortunately it would seem that some service providers are blocking these emails and there is little we can do about it. We apologise for any inconvenience this may be causing.

The Bulletin is available every Sunday on this website and for download.

125th Anniversary Dinner

125th Anniversary Dinner.
The Western League’s 125th anniversary celebrations continued with a dinner at the Marriott Hotel in Bristol on Saturday night.

Past and present members of the league met up to celebrate this historic occasion and were joined by guest speaker Geoff Twentyman of BBC Radio Bristol.

You can see the photos from the evening byCLICKING HERE

125th Anniversary Match

125th Anniversary Match.
The Western League’s 125th anniversary celebrations got under way on Wednesday night when the representative XI took on an FA XI at Oakfields, home of Melksham Town FC, and the excellent 532 crowd were treated to 90 minutes of faced paced football fitting of such an occasion, writes Kerry Miller.

The driving rain and wind which threatened to drown out the whole night thankfully abated early enough to entice a crowd to watch the match at the newest ground in what is the third oldest league in the country. Guests from many clubs, leagues and FAs attended as England C team manager Paul Fairclough brought a side picked predominantly from Southern League clubs based in the south and west. Gosport Borough, Salisbury, Basingstoke Town, Dorchester Town, Wimborne Town and Winchester City were represented as well as Mangotsfield United and Larkhall Athletic more locally and both teams showed what they could do in a fast paced opening on Melksham’s immaculate playing surface which is made quick passing football.

Read more

Match Photos

Groundhop 2017

Almost 1,700 spectators watched seven Toolstation Western League matches over the past weekend and were treated to 28 goals across the board with all the participating sides putting on a show which sent the disparate group of Groundhoppers home with a collective smile on their faces writes Kerry Miller.

Bishops Lydeard and Cheddar rounded off the series with a cliff hanger at Cothelstone Road on Sunday afternoon leaving the visitors to start their trips home to the likes of Germany, Norway, Sweden, Wales, Scotland, Suffolk, Scunthorpe, Hebden Bridge, Oxford and Ramsgate.

Congratulations were universally offered to all the home sides – Ashton and Backwell United, Welton Rovers, Radstock Town, Odd Down, Hengrove Athletic, Shepton Mallet and Bishops Lydeard – who played their part in what was a superbly run weekend in the main enjoyed in favourable conditions. Chris and Lawrence from Groundhop UK were again the catalyst behind the event which is in its third year which brings in much needed funds to member clubs as well as giving many players the chance to perform in front of crowds rarely seen nowadays in the Western League.

With book, programme and badge dealers plying their wares at all the games and food outlets doing a roaring trade throughout, it was left to the teams themselves to put on a show, and they did not disappoint. Six of the seven games went to the wire with the exception of Shepton’s home win over Brislington and with an average of four goals a game the league was definitely shown in a good light with all hoping for a repeat next season.

Much thanks must also go to the respective bands of merry men and women who worked so hard for their clubs to ensure that the hungry hoards were sent away with full bellies, and in many cases full bladders. At Odd Down the ladies catered for the vegetarians among the visitors with a stroke of genius neatly packaged up as humous salad rolls for just £1 while at Bishops Lydeard there were industrial quantities of veggie curry as well as the chicken variety, on the simmer all afternoon.

Representatives from leagues and clubs all over the country descended on the grounds as the non-League fraternity met up again with friends whose paths sometimes only cross once a year and tales were spun of grounds and clubs far and wide who collectively make up the non-League scene.

You can read the match reports from all seven matches by CLICKING HERE

125th Anniversary Pin Badge

125 Pin Badge.

The league has for sale a limited number of 125th Anniversary pin bagdes. The cost is £2.50 plus £1 postage.

If you would like to buy a badge, email Sue Merrill sue.merrill@toolstationleague.com

New Android App Now Available

Android App.
The Android version of our league app is now available on the Google Play Store. And it's FREE!

Keep up to date with all the latest fixtures and results for the Toolstation Western Football League. Follow your favourite Western League club with the 'Clubhouse' giving you their last result and their next fixture. Get directions to the match at the touch of a button using your devices maps app. Find information about all the Western League clubs including admission prices, kick off times and contact details.

Our thanks to Cocoon Development for writing and developing both our apps.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE APP

Sport Financial Services

Sports Financial Services was set up to some 2 years ago to help sports club, in particular Toolstation Western League clubs, to help and aid them achieve success with improvements they needed with infrastructure projects to enable them to move up the Pyramid System or to update their current facilities.

During this time we have managed to secure over £300,000 from the Football Foundation and Sports England towards ground improvements for Keynsham Town FC, Barnstaple Town, Oldland Abbottonians, Gillingham FC, and Street FC. We are currently working with three other Toolstation clubs trying to secure funding for projects that they want to achieve.

If you are interested in having a project you have in mind discussed, we would be only be too happy to listen and advise accordingly. If you'd like to make contact with your initial ideas, you can contact us on our website at: sportsfinancialservices.com

Alternatively give us a call on 07754543719 or 07454320934

You can dowload further details by following this link

App.

Toolstation League App Now Available

The new Toolstation Legaue App for iPhone and iPad is now available to download.

Keep up to date with all the latest fixtures and results for the Toolstation Western Football League. Follow your favourite Western League club with the 'CLUB HOUSE' giving you their last result and their next fixture. Get directions to the match at the touch of a button using your devices maps app. Find information about all the Western League clubs including admission prices, kick off times and contact details and more...

Click on the image to download the our new App now!

Concussion Guidelines

Information is available on how to recognise concussion and on how concussion should be managed from the time of injury through to safe return to football. At all levels in football, if a player is suspected of having a concussion, they must be immediately removed from the pitch, whether in training or match play.

You can dowload a copy of the FA's Booklet by following this link

Western League Almanac.

Western League Almanac

A complete history of the Western League with tables, all time club and ground details, cup results, biographies of personalities etc.

Follow >> THIS LINK for further details and how to buy the book.

Armed Forces

Armed Forces.The current men and women of Her Majesty's Armed Forces are doing such an exceptional job both at home and abroad during these difficult times.

The Toolstation Western Football League is proud to offer all current serving members of HM Forces FREE ADMISSION to all League matches.

Proof of ID will be all that is required at the turnstile.

MATCH ACTION

Shepton Mallet vs
Buckland Athletic

Monday 07 May 2018

Bishop Sutton vs
Radstock Town

Saturday 05 May 2018

Welton Rovers vs
Devizes Town

Saturday 05 May 2018

Welton Rovers vs
Radstock Town

Wednesday 02 May 2018

125 Book.

Haynes.