West Yorkshire League: Ambitious Campion prospering after move

Horbury Town goalkeeper Lee Wood saves from hosts Beeston St Anthony's. PIC: Steve Riding
Horbury Town goalkeeper Lee Wood saves from hosts Beeston St Anthony's. PIC: Steve Riding
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CAMPION believe their reserve side is benefitting from being placed into Division Two of the West Yorkshire League, rather than their original request of joining the Premier.

The reserves team transferred from the West Riding County Amateur League ahead of the new season, and manager Louis Etienne is so far delighted with the rewards, as his side sit top.

“We have some fantastic players within the team, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s also a good unit,” said Etienne.

“The majority of the team are probably under the age of 22. They’re all young lads who know each other well.

“We have a good few experienced lads as well who know how to win titles, and they’re vital to the team because they keep everything knitted together.

“Long term, my strategy is to try and move up through the West Yorkshire leagues. I want to be playing in the Premier. We asked to transfer laterally into the Premier Division when we moved from the West Riding, but it wasn’t allowed at the time.

“In hindsight, I think we benefitted from that because we have a young group of lads and they’re getting to play together in Division Two this season.

“I know a few of the lads said they didn’t want to do it, that it was beneath them, which maybe for some of them it is.

“But, to my benefit, when these young lads have played together for a season, when it comes to next season, they will have a year of experience under their belt which will be only beneficial to me if we go up.”

After finishing sixth in the County Amateur Premier last season, Etienne cited a drop in competition and organisation as the reason for the move.

He reasoned: “We felt the standard in the West Riding League was dropping massively – both in the quality of the opponents we were facing and the referees.

“We’ve had County Cup draws against teams in the West Yorkshire League and the standard always appeared to be much better, competition-wise anyway. So, it was the desire of the whole club, not just the reserves to move us across to the West Yorkshire Division.”

Campion’s first team are also thriving – sat top of Division One of the NCE League – with Etienne delighted at the part his side can play to help.

“Over the past few years, the issue has been that it’s seemed like three separate clubs [the seniors, reserves and under-21s] within the Campion name. We’re all left to our own devices,” he explained.

“But in recent years, a lot of the young lads from the reserves have gone into the first team.

“Our top scorer Laurence Sorhaindo, who has scored 12 goals in four league games for us, the first team have taken him now.

“At the end of the day it’s to be expected, after all the players are aiming to be part of that semi-professional side, representing the first team in the NCEL Division One.

“The first team use us sometimes as well.

“If they have players coming back from injury, we will look to give them a run-out in the reserves, so they can get back to the fitness and the sharpness to play in the first team.”

The dreadful conditions over the weekend meant the football schedule was heavily affected, with every game in Division Two postponed.

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LEEDS city moved top of the West Yorkshire Premier Division by edging a seven-goal thriller at Ilkley Town, taking advantage of Beeston St Anthony’s failure to beat Robin Hood Athletic and Carlton Athletic’s frustration with the weather, writes JAMIE WOODHOUSE.

Defending champions Carlton’s trip to Headingley was postponed and Beeston were held to a 2-2 draw by visiting Robin Hood.

Strikes from Barry Frankland and James Burgess sent City into a 2-0 lead at Ilkley before Toby Harris grabbed one back for the hosts. Tom Fleming brought the game back to 3-3 after Leeds had made it 3-1 through Ash Walker but the visitors sealed the points courtesy of Ilkley’s former top scorer Adam Fowler.

City are now three points clear of both Carlton and Beeston with the latter held against 11th-placed Robin Hood for whom both James Finlayson and Lewis Richardson struck. Carlton have three games in hand on the new leaders with Beeston having played just one game less than City.

Whitkirk improved their position with Saturday’s 4-0 success at home to fourth-bottom Sherbun White Rose in which first-half strikes from Derick Ngwana and Jason Kitchen were followed by goals from Jovanni Sterling and Jamie Tonkinson after the break. Whitkirk moved one place above Horbury Town who dropped to seventh through a 4-1 reverse at home to Field who are up to eighth.

A Ben Baker treble and Christian Robinson strike sealed the four star performance with Jak Kelly consoling the hosts.

In Division One, Hall Green United closed to within a point of leaders Aberford Albion, after their 4-1 win at Kirk Deighton Rangers.

Tom Fowler’s double was supported by goals from Clifton Firth and Jamie Miller.