Lancashire and Cheshire AFL
Rhodes Cup thrillers defy Deirdre
Despite the doom-laden threat of Storm Deirdre, the league managed to get away with very few postponements to a busy programme prior to the festive break.
The bulk of the fixtures featured domestic cup competitions and the Rhodes Cup provided plenty of drama and upsets in a day of frantic action.
Two clubs from the lower Divisions provided the big giant-killing acts as they took out Premier Division teams.
Village Manchester have made a poor start in Division Three with one of their few highlights being a win over Division Two Bedians in the first round.
This gave them a tie at Premier Division high-fliers Waterloo in round two and they were delighted to be level at 2-2 at the break.
But this joy was surpassed in the second half as they scored the only goal to book a quarter-final tie at another Premier top team in Salford Victoria.
Radclyffe, also from Division Three, have followed a similar path to Village as they took out Division Two club Hollingworth in round one.
They were rewarded with a visit to Premier Division Trafford United where superb defending saw them keep an immaculate clean sheet to win 2-0 to earn a last eight tie at Old Stretfordians.
Dom Doyle have been flying high in Division One to look a good bet for Premier Division soccer next season.
They entertained Premier Division leaders Rochdalians and scored five times to breach the normally rock-solid Rochdalians defence, but is wasn’t enough, as Rochdalians struck seven times at the other end for a whirlwind win.
AFC Stockport also battled hard, the Division B side ended at 1-1 at Division one high-fliers Chorltonians, but a tense penalty shoot-out went the way of Chorltonians by 8-7.
It was also close at Irlam Tigers who lost to the only goal of their game with Mellor.
Salford Victoria eased past gallant and rapidly improving Ashtonians 5-0 in an all-Premier Division clash. First half goals from Dale McAndrew, Josh Lawman and Joe Axon were added by second half substitutes Keenen Switzer and with the last kick of the game Connor Neil.
This was a really good game played in the right spirit and well refereed by Alan Siviori in dreadful conditions with the wind chill making it feel like -5deg and continual freezing rain.
There were few problems for Division Three leaders Dukinfield Athletic as they cruised to a 5-0 win at Division one side Unicorn Athletic.
There were three games in the Wray Cup with Chadderton Park providing an upset as the Division Three side toppled Division Two leaders Whalley Range Reserves 2-1 in a tight contest. It was also close at Bedians as their tie with Mellor ended at 3-3 with Mellor winning the shoot out by 4-3.
The other tie saw Signol Athletic put on a smooth display with a 2-0 win at Milton Reserves.
There were also three matches in the Whitehead Cup with Elton Lib Hargreaves having an easy passage with a big 8-2 win over Staly Lions and Chadderton Cott eased through 4-0 at Flixton.
Chadderton Cott Reserves are also through and join their first team in the next round with a 4-2 win over Hillgate.
There was just one game in the Premier Division with Whalley Range accounting for Milton 4-0.
There was little between the teams in the first half with the only goal coming from Range left back Joe Dixon with a 35-yard thunderbolt ending his seven-year scoring drought.
Then the game was lit up in the second half by the superb skills of Range’s young debutant Charlie Hilton (pictured) who showed some stunning dribbling runs one of which ended with a penalty converted by Tim Kinsella.
Tim added another with a cool finish two minutes later to put Range on easy street as they went on to win 4-0 and move within a point of leaders Rochdalians but have played three games more.
There were three games in Division One and Parrs Wood Celtic took full advantage of Dom Doyle being in cup action as a big 8-1 win at Moston Brook kept up their great scoring streak and took them to within a point of Dom Doyle on level games played.
The other games produced plenty of goals and wins for Hooley Bridge Celtic by 7-3 at Didsbury and Bury Amateurs who ended Oldham Victoria recent good run in emphatic style winning 8-3.
In Division Two Urmston Town kept in touch with the leading pack with a big 10-1 trouncing of Chorltonians Reserves.
It was much closer in the other games with Rochdalians Reserves scoring the only goal of their game at Santos and Spurley Hey shared six goals with Manchester Polonia.
Just one game in Division three which ended deadlocked at 1-1 between Stoconians Reserves and Abacus Media Reserves to move Stoconians within a point of the top two.
It was mainly mid-table action in Division A with some close encounters.
Signol Athletic Reserves had the biggest win by 3-1 over Rochdale Galaxy and in the other two matches Trafford United Reserves beat Spurley Hey Reserves 2-1 and Dukinfield Athletic Reserves edged a 4-3 win against Chorltonians Villa.
There were also three games in Division B with leaders Old Stretfordians Reserves walloping Didsbury Reserves 6-0, a score matched by Stoconians 3rds at Bury Amateurs Reserves.
Much tighter at Chorltonians Athletic who beat Moston Brook 3rds 2-1.
In Division C there was a rare goalless draw between Hollingworth Reserves and Govan Athletic but goals galore in the other games.
Runaway leaders Deans cruised to a big 8-0 win over Whalley Range 3rds and stay six points clear of Old Stretfordians 3rds (Pictured) who were also on fire in a 6-2 win over Irlam Tigers Reserves.
Chadderton Park Reserves had a comfortable passage by 5-0 at Stoconians 4ths and Bury Amateurs 3rds went one better beating Moston Brook 4ths 6-0.
A Very Merry Christmas to you all, See you in the New Year!!!
All the best
Assistant League Secretary (amongst other roles)
Lancashire and Cheshire AFL