At the top end, Hereford FC continued their rise through the pyramid by winning the Southern League South & West Division. Losing just once all season, they managed to wrap the title up with 6 games to spare before beating Royston Town of the Central division in a “Champion of Champions” match. Their academies also had a successful season, picking up a number of league and cup trophies. Hereford then finished their fantastic season by beating Lads Club in the county cup final. Reaching the county cup final contributed to a memorable season for Lads Club who beat higher division Westfields en route to the final and topped division 1 of the West Midlands (Regional) League for the second year in a row. This time they deservedly gained promotion to the Premier Division, where they will be playing alongside Pegasus Juniors and Wellington next season, who both secured top half finishes. Kington and Bromyard will both remain in Division 1 for next season.
Westfields also had a season to remember as they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. As the lowest ranked team left in the competition, they had to play 6 fixtures to reach this stage and bravely took Curzon Ashton to a replay after giving them a scare at All-Pay Park.
HFA Supercraft County League Debut Season
2016/17 also saw the debut season for the new HFA Supercraft County League and it got off to a great start. Hinton were deserved Premier Division champions and ended up winning the title by 10 points. Tenbury United had pushed them close throughout the season before faltering towards the tail end and finishing 3rd behind Bartestree. In Division 1 Tenbury Town pipped Kington Reserves, who finished the season strongly, to the title by just a point thanks in part to a 38 goal haul from Mark Boucker. In Division 2 Burghill Rangers proved worthy champions with 53 points compared to Kingstone Rovers 48 in second, who had pushed them close all season.
The Sunday league had a mixed season and was split into two mini autumn & spring series. After both enjoying success in their respective autumn leagues, Vaga and Bromyard Colts battled to become Sunday League Spring Champions with Vaga proving victorious in the “A Division”. Meanwhile in the “B Division”, Burghill took the crown with the White Lion a close second.
The season ended with a series of competitive cup finals. Ewyas Harold won the Charity Bowl for the second year in a row after beating Bartestree 4-3 on penalties (1-1 AET) and Wellington Colts prevented Burghill Rangers from claiming a league and cup double by lifting the Junior Cup after a 1-0 victory in the final. Vaga however managed to complete the Sunday League Double by winning a close final against Bromyard Colts 3-2. The Peterson Cup was won by Weston in a thrilling 5-3 encounter with Kingstone Rovers.
Meanwhile in the Midwest Counties Female Football League, Hereford Lads Club Ladies were denied a third consecutive league title only by a strong Kidderminster Harriers side. Bartestree Ladies also missed out to Kidderminster after reaching the Bill Allsopp Memorial Trophy Final. Despite Bartestree matching Kidderminster for large parts of the match, Harriers managed to win on the day. Hay St Mary’s Ladies also competed in the league for the first time and there was much to be proud of after their first campaign. Both Hereford teams will be looking to compete again next season. There has also been some promising work with new women’s football clubs in Belmont and Ross who are now looking to play some competitive football.
Both the HJFL and HGFL continued to go from strength to strength this season with some fantastic football played across all the age groups. The Junior & Girls leagues seasons culminated with the Finals days at Edgar Street and the players put on a brilliant spectacle for the crowds who turned up to watch. Both sets of finals were extremely competitive showcasing the excellent standard produced by the boys and girls with several of the games being decided by penalties. All the spectators commented favourably on the standard of play and the atmosphere was brilliant. Over the winter period both leagues ran futsal competitions, with noticeable improvements made over the 2 months. All finals were played in the right spirit and some great football was played. For a report from both the HJFL and HGFL please see the documents at the bottom of this article. The Schools Cup finals were played in a similar fashion and across the two nights there was plenty of entertainment on show. For a full write up please click here.
Furthermore, in the Three Counties Ability Counts league Hereford Ability Counts competed with sides from Shropshire & Worcestershire in Division 1. They played a series of fixtures in festival formats and also played against Twyford Spartans before Herefords game against Tiverton FC. The team is continuing to grow and are already raring to go next season.
Developing Local Football
Away from league football, we have continued to support and develop football For All within the county and have launched a number of exciting new projects. As well as continuing to run our girls PDC we have launched 2 new girls’ football centres in Kington and Ledbury and run ever popular walking football sessions and veterans football. We are delighted to be supporting our football clubs and have brought in over £80,000 of grants and funding for improving facilities this year.
Throughout the past 12 months we have also continued training & up-skilling coaches and referees across the county. As a result referee coverage exceeded 99% in both the adult and junior leagues. From securing Lads Club funding for ground developments and floodlights, to running an inclusive Christmas football festival for disabled players, it has been a great season both on and off the pitch.
We would like to thank all of the players, coaches, referees and volunteers for their contribution this season. We are already looking forward to 2017/18. If your club are looking for players or you are looking to get involved in football in anyway next season please get in touch.