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Early finish to another successful campaign

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

The final league placings may have ultimately been decided off the pitch rather than on it, but the Beacon League are reflecting on another successful campaign.

Despite seeing the grassroots action brought to a premature halt by the coronavirus pandemic, the league continues to go from strength to strength with the introduction of an over-30s competition proving a big hit.

"It's been a very good season for the league in lots of ways," said chairman Brian Lester.

"There has been some good competitions and some good football has been played. And we have also had very few disciplinary issues, which is good.

"One thing we are very pleased with is how the over-30s competition went.

"The feedback has been very good and in the games I watched, the quality of football was very good.

"We had a great final in the Roger Brindley over-30s Cup, which needed extra-time and penalties before Wednesbury managed to edge out Springvale Vets.

"All the clubs who played in the over-30s last year are quite happy to start again next season and we are hoping expand it further."

And while the action was ended earlier than planned, there will be a roll of honour for 2019/20 after the clubs agreed to use the FA's point per game system to determine the final placings.

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That saw Claregate Park Rangers just edge out Sedgley & Gornal United to land the Concentric Property Beacon Championship.

Wednesbury

"We wanted to give their clubs a say in deciding the outcome of the season," added Lester. "We obviously wanted to finish the matches on the pitch, but that wasn't possible.

"The FA gave us two options, one of which was to expunge all the results and the other was a template to use for a points per game system.

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"And rather than see months of hard work go to waste, the clubs opted for the points per game system.

"We have done everything in conjunction with the clubs. We kept them informed and they got back to us with what they wanted.

"The template was approved by the clubs on a majority vote.

"So that gave us with what you could call a technical finish to the season,

"Claregate won the league by the tightest of fine margins from Gornal & Sedgley United.

"If it had been played out on the pitch, it would have been a finish with Shere Punjab also in the contention.

"So well done to Claregate and also commiserations to Sedgley & Gornal and Shere Punjab."

The destination of the Paycare Development Division title was far more straightforward.

CTS United were sitting pretty at the top of the table with 14 wins and one draws from 15 outings when the action was halted, and were duly crowned champions.

But two other clubs will also up a piece of silverware.

CTS United won the league comfortably and they would have done that on the pitch as well," said Lester.

"It's like Liverpool in the Premier League, they were obviously going to win it.

"But we had to have two runners-up –Dudley Rangers and Wyrley Athletico.

"They couldn't be separated, they were exactly even so we decided to have two runners-up."

The league are hopeful more trophies will be dished out before the start of next season after drawing up a plan to play three cup finals before the next campaign kicks off.

"We know the semi-finalists for the Lester Cup, the Clinton Cup and the Chell Cup and we are hoping to finish those competitions before the start of next season," added Lester.

"If it mean next season starting in October or November after the cup finals, then that is what we will look to do.

"The teams that have got to the semi-finals, assuming that they re-apply, and we have no reason to suggest they are going to drop out, then we want to play those games and bring the cups to a conclusion.

"Once we have got the cup finals out of the way then we can start the new season and tailor it depending on when we start.

"If we can start earlier, by any stroke of luck, then we can have a fuller season. But if we have to start later and it means teams only playing each other once, then we will do that.

"We will do what's best for the clubs so they can have the best footballing experience."

And Lester is hoping there will be a few new sides signing up for next season.

"We like to think we are a friendly league and we are always looking to recruit new teams," he said.

"We know teams want to win but at the same time it's for all sort of players in the locality to have some fun and enjoyment on a Sunday afternoon.

"We have had good feedback so far and we are hopeful of good retention of clubs in all divisions. We have had no reports of clubs leaving."

Any new clubs interested in the league should contact secretary David Clinton on 07964 730272.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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