BELLE ISLE WMC are County FA champions for the first time ever in around 50 years, with secretary Don Chadwick admitting the club are beaming with a “massive sense of pride.”
Managed by first-season boss Jamie Cromack, Belle Isle arrived as underdogs for Thursday night’s West Riding FA County Sunday Cup final against HT Sports yet chinned the New Farnley side on penalties.
HT were bidding for a third consecutive County crown on player-manager Lee Connor’s 40th-birthday but, after a goalless draw, Connor blasted his spot kick into the Woodlesford car park as Belle Isle won the shoot out 4-3.
Belle Isle will finish their Leeds Combination League season fifth in the Jubilee Premier and 21 points adrift of title-chasing HT who have dominated the division along with Chapeltown Fforde Grene and Halton Moor.
But Belle Isle have already shown their mettle by beating both HT and Halton Moor in the league this term and County Sunday Cup joy is the icing on the cake. Secretary Chadwick took over his role from the still-involved Damien Beggs this season and beamed: “It means a great deal to me and to all the players both current and past.
“We were formed in the 1960s and many of today’s players – and the team manager – are sons of players from the 1980s and late 1970s. The veterans were there in force at the final willing the team on to win.
There is a massive sense of pride felt by all involved and people from the local area.
After a goalless draw both after 90 minutes and extra time, Liam Mccarth, Daniel Chadwick, Ben Able and Chris Ovington were successful for Belle Isle with spot kicks in the shoot out. Secretary Chadwick added: “We’d also like to mention the backing of the Belle Isle WMC club who have been great.”
Former secretary Beggs, who now acts the team’s ‘magic sponge’, added: “I’m thrilled and it’s not quite sunk in yet.”
Belle Isle were looking for one last hurrah last night when they entertained Chapeltown Fforde Grene in the final game of the Leeds Combination League season.
Anything but a home win would have given Fforde the title at HT Sports’ expense and HT manager Lee Connor admits a trophy-less season is not acceptable at his side. Connor admitted: “We haven’t done enough in big games to be honest and Thursday proved that. We were shocking. Not winning a trophy is not good with the players we have.” Asked if he still had an enjoyable 40th birthday, Connor said: “No. My birthday was spoilt – 120 minutes of that match was enough.”