Monday 3rd May 2021
3rd May 2021 marks a special day in the history of Royal Wootton Bassett Town Football Club as it represents the twentieth anniversary of the club's second triumph in the Wiltshire Senior Cup.
The culmination of a uniquely successful three-year period in the club's history, Bassett secured the 2000-01 title courtesy of a 2-0 victory against Shrewton United in a final played at The Conigre, Melksham Town's former home.
It was the second time in three seasons that Bassett had claimed the oldest, most prestigious title available in Wiltshire football, while - in between those cup triumphs - the club secured promotion to the Hellenic League Premier Division for the first time in its history.
Led by manager Barry Giles, Bassett's journey to the final was an eventful one.
It began in rather routine fashion with a 6-0 thrashing of then-Hampshire League side Amesbury Town in the opening round at Rylands Way.
After a slow start, Lee Stoddart's goal ten minutes before the interval settled any nerves. And a five-goal second half barrage followed as Nathan Hall (2), Richard Merchant, Lee Marshall and Micky Goodwin all registered.
That set up a quarter final tie away against near neighbours Purton. And it was here that Bassett's adventures began.
As Ray Burrough's report in the Evening Advertiser recalls, the early stages of the game saw goalline clearances at both end before the hosts took the lead through Courtney Chessell.
Bassett had the better of proceedings in the second half and equalised on the hour when the prolific Stoddart scored from close range.
No further scoring took place, meaning extra time was required. And here, Bassett made their mark, scoring three times without reply to triumph 4-1.
Paul Davis headed Bassett in front in the opening period before Stoddart and Jon Davis added gloss to the scoreline.
Another derby awaited in the semi final, with Bassett paired at home against eventual Wiltshire League title winners Cricklade Town.
Again, extra time was needed to determine a winner following another dramatic 90 minutes. Bassett had gone ahead courtesy of an own goal after just three minutes before Cricklade then equalised in the dying moments of injury time.
However, Goodwin was on hand in extra time to put Bassett into the final.
There they met Shrewton, who would finish runners-up to Cricklade in the Wiltshire League.
After the drama of both their quarter and semi final ties, Bassett made sure of a more straightforward victory in the final, taking a 2-0 lead after just ten minutes thanks to a Stoddart strike and penalty from Paul Harper.
While Shrewton fought hard to get back in the game, hitting the woodwork in the second half and also finding Bassett custodian Richard Stevens in fine form, they were unable to register as Giles' side were deservedly crowned county kings.
The triumph thus added silverware to what had overall been a fine season.
In league affairs, Bassett demonstrated they more than belonged in the Hellenic Premier (which was then at step four of the non-league pyramid).
In their debut campaign at that level, Bassett recorded 14 wins, 10 draws and 14 defeats. And, although they finished 13th, they were just seven points behind 7th place finishers Cirencester Town Academy.
Indeed, Bassett's overall haul of 52 points still represents the most they have recorded in a Hellenic League Premier Division campaign.
Bassett's Wiltshire Senior Cup final appearance also represents the most recent occasion that the club's first team have featured in a final and lifted silverware.
Whether Bassett's current crop can break that two-decade long duck will soon become apparent as they enter the knockout stages of the Bluefin Sports Hellenic League Challenge Cup.
While the club is in possession of a team photo from the club's 1998-99 Wiltshire Senior Cup triumph, it does not have one of the 2000-01 cup winning side.