New competition off to a thrilling start

THE L & C AFL resumed competitive action in the revised cup competitions on a day marked by tribute to Prince Philip and enduring four seasons of weather on a memorable day.

The snow showers caused the postponement of some games, while others enjoyed wall-to-wall sunshine and superb playing surfaces.

Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics began their defence of the trophy with a tough group game at South Manchester and the pre-match tribute to Prince Philip saw the Rhodes Cup paraded by league chairman Mike Yates.

The game was a real thriller between two excellent teams and South went ahead through Nathan O’Hara and it was a terrific end-to-end game after that with South edging it 3-2 with strikes from Cassius Clay and club legend Tufail Baloch to put them in the driving seat in their group.

The other game played in the group saw Urmston Town JFC beat Dukinfield Athletic 3-1.

In Group B there were three decisive victories for Rochdalians by 5-2 over Newton, Dom Doyle by 4-2 over Irlam Tigers and Bury Ams by 3-0 over Trafford United to set up some vital games in the week to come.

In Group A Abacus Media took the lead with a thundering 20-yarder from Jack Aubrey but recent cup winners High Lane came back strongly to win 3-1.

The other two games ended at 2-2 between Stretford Paddock and Manchester Polonia and North Walkden and Signol OB.

In the final group Moston Brook showed why they are top of Division One with a clinical 3-0 win over Premier side AFC Oldham, De la Salle repeated this by toppling Lancashire Cup finalists Milton 2-1 and Didsbury won a thriller with Hadfield by the same score.

The Wray Cup features teams from Divisions Two and Three.

In Group C Aldermere from division three pulled off a 2-1 local derby win over Division Two high-flyers Old Stretfordians. Shaw Athletic had few problems in a 7-0 win over Hooley Bridge Celtic and Woodhouses had early strikes from Michael Shepherd (two) and Dom Abrahams to thank for sending them on the way to a comfortable 3-1 win over Santos.

Bedians and South Manchester reserves battled out a 3-3 thriller with Reece Horan and Chris Lynch supplying the South strikes backed by some fine goalkeeping from Jerome Tait.

Joe Mensah and a penalty from Kayy Jayy kept Bedians in touch and they grabbed a deserved point with a last-minute rocket from Chris Heywood.

Wythenshawe Wanderers were always in control against Stoconians with a first-half brace from Michael Sherrington setting them off to a 4-2 victory.

Action in Group B saw Signol Athletic JFC score the only goal of their game with Elton Lib Hargreaves and Salford Vics reserves and Village Manchester shared four goals.

Sale Ams showed their intent with a dominant 4-1 win over Didsbury reserves

Just one result in Group D with Mellor reserves and Stretford Paddock reserves locked at 3-3.

The Whitehead Cup sees teams from Divisions A and B in action and there were plenty of goals led by Flixton JFC in Group A with a 7-0 cruise over Chadderton Park.

Deans eased to a 5-1 win over Bury Ams reserves and AFC Stockport also went nap beating Trafford United reserves 5-2.

Just two games in Group B with Mellor thirds losing 2-1 to Chadderton Cott, a scoreline matched by Parrs Wood Celtic at Spurley Hey. 

In Group C Heaton Mersey also had their shooting boots on as they won 5-3 at Old Strets reserves and Irlam Tiger Rangers won 3-1 hosting Moston Brook thirds. The group was completed by Salford Albion winning 2-1 at Aldermere reserves.

In Group D Hillgate led the way with a 4-1 victory over Milton reserves and Kartel were also hot in a 5-3 win at Salford Storm and AFC Oldham reserves kept an immaculate clean sheet beating Moston Brook thirds 2-0.

Finally in Divisions C and D, the battle commenced for the Hellawell Shield and the top score of 7-0 was posted by Greater Manchester FC against Stoconians fourths in Group D, with the other new boys FC Bury Aces also winning 3-1 over Staly Lions.

In Group A Shaw Athletic reserves beat Stoconians thirds 4-2 and Irlam Tigers thirds beat Deans reserves 3-1

There were close encounters in group B with Bury Ams third winning 2-1 over Govan Athletic and Salford Storm reserves emerged with a breathless 4-3 victory at Moston Brook fourths. There was a rare goalless draw in Group C between Altrincham Hale and Urmston Town Vale, Whalley Range enjoyed a 2-1 win over Spurley Hey reserves and Radclyffe reserves completed a busy day with a 4-1 victory at Village Manchester reserves.