Players and officials of North Berks League Cup winners Long Wittenham Athletic were praised for their commitment and dedication.
Speaking at the club’s annual dinner (june6) at Didcot Conservative Club league fixture secretary Charlie East said that at a time when the league had experienced a difficult season with several clubs pulling out, Long Wittenham had shown great strength.
He said: “You have won the cup two years running. Both the first and reserve teams performed well in the league and you have a youth team. It’s a tribute to the commitment and dedication of the players and those working hard behind the scenes.
“Last season several clubs struggled to get players and some went under but Wittenham kept going and showed what can be achieved. Players should not forget their roots and the clubs who gave them the chance to play football.”
Last season seven clubs withdrew from the league because they were unable to field teams. But on the positive side 11 clubs have applied to join the NBL next season. Mr East said: “Last season was difficult. It’s a great shame that some clubs can’t attract or retain players but we have gained clubs for next season and that’s good news for the league and the game.”
The NBL cup was first competed for in 1907 and since then Long Wittenham has won it a record 16 times. Club president Bill Symonds said: “It’s a great record and one which the club and village should be proud. It’s been hard work, week in, week out for both players and backroom staff but well worth the effort.”
The first team Player of the Year award went to Will Houseman and Mathew Saunders was chosen as the manager’s Player of the Year. The reserve team Player of the Year was Callum Bowler and the manager’s Player of the Year was Michael Learoyd.
The Sunday team’s Player of the Year award went to Joe Murphy and Steve Molloy was the manager’s Player of the Year. The most improved player was Joe Cheong. The Brian Hill Loyalty award went to Eddie Ireson who also took the club’s Man of the Year title.