Young Boys reach second successive final

THE semi-finals of the Harrison & Rowley Cup took centre stage in the Bedford Sunday League at the weekend.

In the first semi, 21st GNG Tigers from Division One came head to head with Premier Division Queensmen the at Mowsbury Park and from the first whistle, the underdogs attacked and showed no fear or respect for their senior opponents.

Theire constant attacking nearly provided the opener in the sixth minute when Ayaz Hussain sped down the left and drove in a fierce shot which was desperately cleared by the Queens defence.

But Queensmen slowly adjusted to the pace but could only manage the odd shot from distance in reply. For most of the half it was cut and thrust at both ends with the tackles flying in, but five minutes ahead of the break, and against the run of play, Queenmen scored.

Danny Hollis caused confusion in the Tigers’ goalmouth and Tigers’ keeper Jack Rashid beat out his shot. But the ball fell to Carl Ramsey who scored from six yards.

In the second half the same pattern emerged with most of the action in the midfield with only a few good attacking moves in evidence. GNG had the most chances but squandered them with hurried shots which flew wide. Young Ayaz Hussain had three shots on target but all were comfortably dealt with.

With both teams seeking another goal, defences became stretched and it was the Queenmen who took their opportunity to score. Robbi Goodman was set free from the halfway line and he clinically drove home for 2-0 to seal their place in the final against Caldecote Young Boys at Biggleswade Town’s Carlsberg Stadium on April 29 after they beat Meltis Mexicans 4-2 after extra time.

Facing a Meltis side who can boast having former West Ham United star Callum Davenport in their ranks, Jack Boyd stroked home a spot kick to give Caldecote the lead on the half hour while Lee Bilcock added a second ten minutes later with a long range strike.

Young Boys keeper Nathan Buckland then made a coule of fine saves and with Dan Webb and Paul Gower marshalling the midfield it all seemedcx to be going to plan.

Bur with ten minutes left, the Mexicans reduced the arrears and when Davenport headed in an 89th minute equaliser, this semi-final was destined to go into extra time.

But the Mexicans task was made harder when Damien Hazelwood was dismissed by referee Mark Ives after a clash with Ricky Aris and when Bilcock put them ahead in the first period, Boyd smashed home number four in the second to seal the win.

So Caldecote are through to both the final of the Harrison & Rowley and Beds FA Senior Sunday cups in the space of two weeks. And that helped the league committee conclude that the Young Boys management team of Nathan Buckland, Kevin Smyth and Pete Waller should receive the Harrison & Rowley Manager of the Month award for March, having also won it back in the joint December/January period.

There was only one scheduled game in the Premier Division but Lawson Park Rangers fail to muster a team to play Oakley.

Division One is wrapped up already with Sharnbrook Casuals completing their season in style with a 14th win in 14 outings to take the title after beating Kempston Hammers 2-1.

Stewartby are still bottom following a 3-0 defeat at Old Hastingsburians, but they can overtake Harrold & Carlton if they win their game in hand although getting out of the bottom two looks very improbable.

Newtown Rangers lost their last game to Dunton 3-0 but should avoid being overtaken by Harrold & Carlton.

Wootton Wanderers appear to have secured the Second Division title after coming out on top 4-0 at Eagle Heating while second placed Mowsbury Athletic need to win their last game by a huge margin to overtake Wootton.

Bumble Bee Flitwick got a welcome two points off faltering Renhold when they beat them 2-1 which means the Bees are safe now. Marston Reds have been confirmed as the bottom club after their 5-1 defeat at the hands of Cranfield.

It’s not all over yet in Division Three where there are three clubs in contention for the title. Leaders Grafton Celtics beat Mile Road Casuals 4-0 to stay clear of second placed Bedford Panthers who beat Bedford Allsters 4-2.

M&DH Clapham have two games in hand over the top two and appear to be the favourites to secure the division, despite being beaten this week 4-1 by Flitwick Eagles.

There’s a lot to play for in the Fourth Division which has Rose Biggleswade on top after playing all their games. In effect, five clubs are in the frame to finish top, but the favourites would appear to be Shillington Pirates who have four more games to play, two more than their immediate rivals.

The Pirates had the simple task of getting two points this week from lowly BMC who let in nine without reply.

Rose Biggleswade beat Bedford Albion 6-1 but that should not be enough to secure top spot at the end of the season. Bedford Cupids are in second, clumsily dropping a point this week away to Bird in Hand Lower Stondon.

Goldington Rangers kept up their challenge with a 6-1 demolition of Bellini’s and Fox & Hounds Clapham faltered by dropping a point at Oakley Reserves.

Westoning Gijon RC need two more points to be certain of taking the Division Five title. AF Mato are the only club mathematically able to catch them but that would mean the leaders losing six times and AF Mato winning their six remaining games.

Westoning beat bottom club Salento 10-0 this week while AF Mato beat Bedford Old Boys 4-0. I

n the only other game in this division, Sandy Titans beat Oakley Wanderers 2-0.

In the Under 21 Extra Competition, Group A, Brickhill Wanderers ‘A’ beat Hitchin Town 6-2, the result contributing to the decision to award the League’s Manager of the Month award to Brickhill boss James Petty.

Also in Group A, Shefford Saints lost 3-2 to Barton Rovers. Barton were a goal up within five minutes when a deflected shot by Bryn Reynold found the Saints’ net. Shefford then drew level and went 2-1 up just before half time when Barton’s keeper Dean Carney lost a high ball in the sun.

In the second half Barton levelled through Reynolds and ten minutes from time, Reynolds passed to man of the match Dennis Mpinginjira who cut in from the right and fired home.

In Group B, Leighton Corinthian Seniors beat Luton Central 5-0 while Watling Youth beat Brickhill Wanderers ‘B’ 4-2.

This Sunday there is a full list of league fixtures while the following week the first of the midweek games begins on Thursday (April 5).

Clive Milton