Free-scoring Bantock made a quick impact
Short but sweet would aptly describe the Beacon Sunday League life of one former Wolverhampton-based outfit.
It was at the start of the 1980s that Bantock Youth Club surprised even themselves by pulling off a stunning treble triumph, under the leadership of team boss Thakor Patel.
In those early days the afternoon Beacon Sunday set-up operated as a youth league (18 and under) and when Bantock kicked off their membership they did so in the second of two divisions.
The team, who ran from a youth club (United Reformed Church) on Lea Road, had previously played a few friendly games and had enjoyed success when winning the Wolverhampton Youth Service five-a-side tournament in 1979.
However, there were some doubts when it was suggested that they enter a 11-a-side league.
“We were so reluctant, because we didn’t feel we were good enough,” said former player Ramesh Patel.
He said they knew quite a few players who were already playing in the league, and the strength of teams they would face, and feared the worst.
Even early successes still left the Bantock camp unconvinced of their ability to achieve things in the league, but in time such thoughts gradually began to disappear and Bantock soon began to match and defeat several of the more-established sides.
As the season progressed, confidence grew and Bantock YC finished a very creditable third in their debut campaign. Mid-season also saw them lifting the Peter James four-a-side indoor competition at Cradley Leisure Centre.
And there was much more to come from Bantock YC who were promoted to division one for the 1981-82 term, one that was to see the club make a big impression on the Beacon League scene as they pulled off a superb treble.
Throughout the season they stunned their rivals with some blistering attacking football, losing just once in 14 matches to take the league crown from nearest challengers Roseville.
The deadly trio of Trevor Taylor (75 goals), Michael Ramsey and Ramesh Patel ran opposing defences ragged as Bantock YC struck no fewer than 135 league and cup goals that campaign.
That total included 11 goals in two winning cup finals that followed for Bantock YC, who saw off the challenge of Coven Celtic (6-3) and Pembroke United (5-2) to lift the Lester and Beacon cups respectively.
In the former final they trailed early on to an early Andy Slater goal, before bouncing back to lead 4-1 at the break. Bantock remained in control and Taylor led the charge with a hat-trick, supported by Ramsey, Hopton Campbell and Michael Spence.
As for the Beacon final, Bantock came up against a Pembroke outfit run by current league committee member Martyn Chell, whose side cancelled out Campbell’s early opener thanks to Kenny Graham.
However, Bantock took control after the restart, firing three goals in 15 second-half minutes as Taylor (two) and Ramsey led their side to trophy number three!
Considering they had had big reservations about entering the Beacon League initially it was a memorable achievement for Bantock, who finished top of the tree in 1982.
“From something we feared it was an excellent season in the end,” said Patel, who still has many happy memories of the short period when Bantock YC ruled the Beacon League.
Bantock YC’s membership ended after those two seasons, mainly due to several players having reached the league’s age requirement or university life.
Words and pictures courtesy of Dave McLean and Simon Cater.