Southborough Lane Baptist Church won the first trophy in their short existence following an enjoyable 2008 Mike Laxton Cup final where they triumphed 3-0 over Selsdon Baptist Church B. Click here to read roving reporter Sam Oliver's match report.
The game was played on Stanhope Grove's immaculate (as ever) pitch, in sweltering conditions more suitable for a lazy afternoon game of French cricket than for a mighty cup final. But still, both teams put their all in and were ably supported by a large crowd cheering them on all the way.
Neither team started the game on top, and the first half could well have gone any way. The closest opening was a header from Southborough forward Jon Cooper from a corner- the ball headed off the line by 'Pasch' of Selsdon. Then after half an hour Southborough were ahead. Stephen Hoad played in Cooper, whose shot was parried by the Selsdon keeper, however Hoad gobbled up the rebound.
(As an aside, Hayes Lane manager Malcolm Hoad came along to cheer his brother Stephen along. Unfortunately he was still parking his car at the moment Stephen opened the scoring!)
Selsdon rallied and went close through all-action midfielder Alan Hampson. After a corner, flicked on by the legendary 'Quinny', Hampson had an effort which rattled the post. Someone was in my way at the time so I couldn't see, but I was informed by a reliable source (the Southborough keeper's uncle) that the shot was goalbound but for a top reflex save.
Cruelly for Selsdon, a second Southborough goal followed in first-half stoppage time. A low cross from the left bamboozled all around and in nipped Luke Turner to slot home. 2-0 at half-time.
Selsdon came out strongest in the second half and pressured the Southborough goal for twenty minutes. On the evidence of this period of play, Selsdon have the quality to compete well in Division 2 next season. However they met stubborn resistance from Southborough's defence, not least towering centre-back Bill Beaumont who was to win the Man-of-the-Match award from the man Mike Laxton himself.
Southborough did look dangerous on the break, and after 70 minutes the game was all but secured. With the sun taking its toll, I was lazing on the floor and not paying much attention by this point, but was just about with it enough to see a sumptuous through-ball from someone, a bit of pin-ball-wizard in the box and then a final effort from (I think) Turner, which was over the line despite the despairing efforts of two defenders. 3-0, and game settled.
Congratulations to both teams and their supporters for a well-mannered game which was a great advert for our league, and thanks go to Graham Ray, Ed Boyden and Ryan Whitaker for giving up an afternoon's gardening/sunbathing to officiate the game.