East Sussex League teams up for the cup as 50 sides restart

Football made its long-awaited return for East Sussex League teams over the Easter weekend following an absence of more than three and a half months.

South Coast Athletico and Victoria Baptists are two of the sides involved in the ESFL's April/May competitions
South Coast Athletico and Victoria Baptists are two of the sides involved in the ESFL's April/May competitions

The East Sussex League’s April/May competitions kicked off on Saturday as players got back on the pitch for the first time since December.

Some teams, in fact, hadn’t played since October as a result of the second and third national coronavirus lockdowns.

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With the league season declared null and void, the April/May competitions will give clubs and players some match action at the end of a campaign ravaged by the pandemic.

There are three separate competitions – one for sides in the Premier and Division One, another for clubs in Division Two and Three, and a third for Division Four and Five outfits.

Each has been split into two groups. All teams will play seven matches - regardless of whether their group contains eight or nine teams - and the winners of each group will contest a final.

With 51 sides signing up to take part, proceedings began with 25 matches on Saturday.

There were some close contests in the Premier/Division One competition, with two matches producing 2-2 draws and three ending in 2-1 scorelines.

Premier Division sides Rock-a-Nore and Battle Town were the biggest winners, recording 3-0 wins over Division One teams Victoria Baptists and South Coast Athletico respectively.

Two Division One outfits defeated Premier Division opposition. Bexhill AAC won 3-1 at home to Wadhurst United and Sidley Utd II prevailed 2-1 at home to St Leonards Social.

Oscar Hammond, Ben Packer and Lee Paine were on the scoresheet for AAC, while Chris Agutter and Simon Tomlinson found the net for Sidley.

Other games to finish 2-1 saw Punnetts Town triumph at home to The JC Tackleway and Sedlescombe Rangers II edge out fellow Division One side Battle Town II. Adam Hull netted for Tackleway.

Bexhill Town and Robertsbridge United contested a 2-2 draw as goals by Kevin Barden and Isaac Miller for Town were matched by Paul Barnes and Bradley Lyne for United.

In the other fixture to end 2-2, Division One team Rye Town picked up a commendable point away to a Crowhurst outfit who topped the Premier Division table when the season was curtailed.

Ashley Kidman and Jack Fletcher scored for the Crows; Craig Pierce and Rob Levett for Rye.

One fixture was played on Easter Monday and Bexhill Town moved on to four points by virtue of a 3-2 success away to Sidley United II.

Catsfield and SC Pass + Move Arrows were the biggest winners in the Division Two/Three competition.

Adam Reilly scored a hat-trick as Catsfield won 6-2 at home to Westfield II. Antony Atkin, Jacob Jones and Antony Luke also struck for the Cats, while Dayne Beaumount and Ryan Harffey replied.

Pass + Move were 4-0 victors away to Old Town Lions via the finishing of Jonjo Wright (2), Frazer Discala and Jack Booth.

Little Common II, who had eight league wins out of eight during the season, triumphed 3-0 away to Northiam 75 II. Kit Harris-Macrae, Nickolas Kavanagh and Andrew McTear were on the scoresheet.

Hampden Park enjoyed a 2-0 success away to Robertsbridge United II in an all-Division Three affair. Bill Coles and Ryan Knowles got the goals.

Two games ended 2-1, with Bexhill Rovers winning at home to Mountfield United and Bexhill AAC II victorious away to Hawkhurst United II.

Daniel Goergen and Louis Munnery were on the mark for AAC, while Kieran Eland netted for a Hawkhurst side who finished with 10 men.

There were two draws. The JC Tackleway II and Herstmonceux played out a goalless stalemate, while St Leonards Social II and Hastings United Youth contested a 3-3 thriller. Dan Kearley, Rhys Morfee and Alex Mulumba struck for United.

AFC Hollington II, Sovereign Saints II and Welcroft Park Rangers all netted eight goals in the Division Four/Five Competition.

Tom Whelan scored four as Hollington ran out 8-0 winners at home to Welcroft Park Rangers II. Kieran Dighton, Stewart Marshall, Jules Phillips and John Walker completed the haul.

Jamie Bundy also plundered four as Welcroft Park’s first team triumphed by the same scoreline at home to a Sedlescombe Rangers development team. Darren Weller bagged two, while Chaz Creasey and Stephen Gillat were also on target.

Jake Maynard scored four and Jordon Funnell netted a hat-trick in Sovereign Saints’ 8-2 victory away to Wadhurst United II. Tobin Bakewell got Saints’ other goal.

Ticehurst pulled off a 4-0 success at home to Magham Down thanks to the goals of Toby Tapp, Edward Harwood, Alex Cheeseman and Kieran Johnson.

Battle Town III prevailed 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller at home to Icklesham Casuals courtesy of Daniel Turner’s double, and one apiece from Dale Matthews and Max Mousley. Ken Wadbrook, Joe Fraser and Sam Norman were on the scoresheet for Icklesham.

Ryan Penny, Brandon Smith and Luke Darvill struck to give Hastings Comets a 3-1 success away to Hampden Park U23, whose goal was claimed by Jake Lewis.

Parkfield won 2-0 away to West Hill United via the finishing of Oliver Truman and Fabio Oliveira.

Callum Holt-Burgess landed the decisive blow in Hooe’s 1-0 victory away to Herstmonceux II.

Saturday April 10 fixtures (3pm unless stated) - Premier/Division One: Battle Town II v Victoria Baptists, Robertsbridge United v Sidley United II, Rock-a-Nore v Sedlescombe Rangers II, Rye Town v Punnetts Town, St Leonards Social v Bexhill Town, South Coast Athletico v Bexhill AAC (2pm), The JC Tackleway v Crowhurst, Wadhurst United v Battle Town.

Division 2/3: Bexhill AAC II v Bexhill Rovers, Hampden Park v The JC Tackleway II, Hastings United Youth v Catsfield, Herstmonceux v Hawkhurst United II, Little Common II v St Leonards Social II (4pm), Mountfield United v Sandhurst, SC Pass + Move Arrows v Northiam 75 II, Westfield II v AFC Hollington.

Division 4/5: Hastings Comets v Herstmonceux II, Hooe v Hampden Park U23 (1pm), Icklesham Casuals v West Hill United, Magham Down v AFC Hollington II, Parkfield v Ticehurst, Sedlescombe Rangers development v Wadhurst United II, Sovereign Saints II v Welcroft Park Rangers, Welcroft Park Rangers II v Orington.