League heads for a thrilling climax

Action from the match between Darley Dale Lions (red and black stripes) and Riddings Rovers (blue and black stripes) at Whitworth Park.
Action from the match between Darley Dale Lions (red and black stripes) and Riddings Rovers (blue and black stripes) at Whitworth Park.

THE Matlock & District Football League’s championship moved closer to a thrilling climax on Saturday as Crich’s Kings Arms maintained a four-point gap with a strong victory over Tansley, while Hilcote United’s 6-0 home win over Wirksworth Albion keeps the pressure on the leaders.

There were other teams with games in hand that ensures the season, extended to mid-May as a result of poor weather over the winter months, goes down to the wire.

Two goals from Craig Merrett and another from Richard West gave King’s victory as they worked hard against competitive Tansley, whose Chris Toplis netted.

Goals were shared around as Hilcote racked up six at home thanks to a brace from Dan Fisher added to be Mick Hopkinson, Dean Florance, David Gibson and Ryan Pepper against Wirksworth Albion who failed to score.

Laburnum Saints, 12 points behind but with four games in hand over the leaders, triumphed 4-2 away with double strikes from Michael Charlton and Andy Clifton against Shirland Miners Welfare who faltered in the title chase despite goals came from Gary Bacon and Oliver Brown.

Player-manager Mark Turner’s Riddings Rovers, again with games in hand, earned a 4-1 victory on the road thanks to David Robinson scoring twice with Andy Lowe and Danny Clarke getting in on the act against Darley Dale Lions whose single goal came from Liam Ashton.

Woodthorpe Rovers moved into third spot with a 5-1 Sharley Park win over AFC Lea Holloway thanks to a hat-trick from Mark White and two from pacy Matt Walsh. Holloway’’s Gaz Lewin struck back in a good-natured game.

There were midweek victories three days earlier for Darley Dale Lions (0-3 over Matlock Town Youth), The Kings Arms (5-0 over Shirland Miners Welfare), Hilcote United (3-7 over Tansley), Riddings Rovers (3-2 over Tibshelf) and a 3-3 home draw for Wirksworth Albion against Laburnum Saints.

League games on Satuday include Hilcote United v Woodthorpe Rovers, Kings Arms v Darley Dale Lions,.

Matlock Town Youth v Riddings Rovers, Tibshelf v Wirksworth Albion, Harvey’s Bar v Laburnum Saints, Black Hippo v Tansley.

Finally, there’s a May Day treat on Monday, May 2, with the much-awaited Cavendish Cup Final clash between Riddings Rovers and Wirksworth Albion at Matlock Town’s Causeway Lane ground, kicking off at 7pm. There’s expected to be a bumper crowd to witness the final quest for the historical 106-year-old Cavendish Cup.