Vets finish as Winter Flexi League runners-up
Wednesday 21 February 2018 - by Stuart Smedley (Updated on 21 February 2018 at 10:39)
Royal Wootton Bassett Town's free-scoring Veterans team had to settle for runners-up spot in the Wiltshire County FA Winter Flexi League after Marlborough Town's narrow 2-1 win over KMLC in the competition's final game.
Bassett's thumping 9-0 victory over Hardly Athletic last week meant that the title would be theirs on goal difference if Marlborough were unable to overcome third place KMLC. However, Marlborough were just able to do enough to secure the title and a 100 per cent record. They are worthy winners too, having conceded just twice in their five games.
While coming agonisingly close to their first piece of silverware, Bassett's Veterans can be proud of an outstanding campaign that saw them rack up a league leading 27 goals, while shipping just four.
Ultimately it was a 2-0 defeat against Marlborough in a tight opening fixture that proved the difference between finishing as champions and runners-up.
Bassett bounced back from that defeat though with a 10-0 triumph against Malmesbury, with Steve Shaw and Steve Howse both netting hat-tricks. They were complemented by goals from Dave Parker (2), Simon Jones and Bryan Watson.
Up next was a crunch clash with KMLC, who had made a fine start to their season with two consecutive wins. Previous games between the teams have been tight affairs. But this meeting proved to be different as Bassett produced a dominant display, resulting in a 5-2 victory courtesy of another Shaw hat-trick and a brace from Howse.
With their title hopes restored, Bassett went into their penultimate game against FC Calne - who had run both Marlborough and KMLC close - full of confidence. And they duly secured a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Howse, Parker and Martin Ohrland.
The thrashing of basement dwellers Hardly Athletic - earned through goals from Howse (2), Bryan Watson (2), Ohrland, Parker, Steve Lynch, Adam Cinquegrani and an own goal - then put Bassett top of the table, heaping all the pressure on Marlborough ahead of their final game.
Yet they were able to pull through and ascend to the summit once more.
Second place is certainly a fine achievement though, and provides added motivation for the Veterans to go one better in the summer.