5th XI

Skipper: Carl Phillips

Player of the Year: Jamie Gilbert

The 5’s had a lot to live up to after last year’s successes and it was always going to be an uphill task after losing our player of the year goalkeeper, central defender and top goal scorer – that is a very big hole in a squad to fill.

Despite all that, the season started pretty well and we were in the hunt for the title at the half way mark in the season – but BB Eagles were having a phenomenal season and the gap soon became too much to catch up as we dropped points and BB Eagles continued to win every game.

The season soon became about trying to secure the 2nd place in the league and finishing above the 6’s.

We endured a terrible 2nd half of the season, we didn’t seem to able to buy a win – this was not helped by the cancellation of so many games as we could build up any momentum – but that was the same for every other team.

There were some highlights in the 2nd half of the season – probably our two best performances came in our two toughest games, coming back from 2-0 down at half time against the 6’s to win 3-2 was very satisfying and when we really needed the points in our last game of the season, we were the first team to take any points off BB Eagles when we won 1-0 in a proper battle of a game.

Unfortunately we were pipped to 2nd place on goal difference as West Wickham overtook us in their last game.

Plenty of positives to take into next season and I think we have a very good chance of getting our trophy back!!

Unlike last season when we had 3 outstanding players who dominated the POTY voting, there was quite a spread in the votes – I ask for the top three players in case a tie-breaker is required – 5 players receiving nominations for best player and a total of 9 different players were voted for as the top three.

Matt Hays was superb in centre midfield; he’s got a great range of passing, solid in the tackle and even managed to score a couple this season – if only we could have had him on the pitch for more minutes!

Tim Bell is the Mr Consistent; you know exactly what you are going to get out of him every week – a really solid and versatile defender – who really comes into his own when the team are up against and are having to battle for every ball.

Jamie Gilbert can play in range of different positions and his energy, determination and undoubted ability is often the driving force behind our team – it is clearly noticeable when we don’t have his presence in the team.

Dave Richards has had the best season I can remember when I have been playing alongside him, whether in midfield or defence he has been superb – putting himself in where it hurts, but also showing he is a quality footballer.

The 5th candidate was a either a sympathy vote, submitted when drunk or someone trying to guarantee their place in the squad for next season by buttering up the captain!

The voting was tight, but I think the best player over the season has come out on top – the engine room of the team and a key player for the team every time he plays – Jamie Gilbert.

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