Causley's hat-trick is not among Herald Cup shocks
DARTMOUTH AFC are finding life back in the WBW South Devon League about as bright as their fluorescent orange kit at the moment, but knocking a hat-trick in against Riviera United must seem child's play for former CSWPL Premier player Kevin Causley.
Causley is Dartmouth's sole remaining player from the side that last year competed with the likes of Bodmin Town and Plymouth Parkway, writes Neil Hocking.
And while Buckland Athletic broke free of the Peninsula League last year to embark on their Western League adventure, founder member Dartmouth AFC also cut their ties, resigning shortly after being refused entry into national FA competitions.
Perhaps the FA's decision forced Dartmouth to face the reality that they had been struggling to compete at Peninsula level for some time?
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"We were struggling to justify the continual putting of money into the first team football," manager Gary Lobb explained.
"Our geographical position meant we were always struggling to get players to come to the club and our better players were enticed away by lucrative offers."
Dartmouth (then United) could have decided to take up a place in Division One East when the Peninsula League was formed in 2007, but opted to try their luck in the Premier.
Two consecutive 7th placed finishes seemed to justify that move, but with travelling and wages becoming more of an issue, Dartmouth were never again to break into the top ten. What's more, the club was failing to provide a local platform for young players coming through the youth system.
"The level was too strong for a lot of them." Lobb revealed. "We were working hard to train and bring them through from the U13s to the U16s and then they were getting to 15 years of age and we had nothing left to offer them; we thought that was the wrong way around."
The club's main focus is now firmly on their former reserves in SDFL Division One and, with all but two players hailing from the town, the club are once more back in the heart of their community.
They announced their homecoming with a 2-0 league victory at Hele and last Saturday sailed into the second round of the Herald Cup at the expense of Division Six side Riviera United.
After half an hour, young Freddie Smith took the ball past the Riviera right-back before pulling back to Causley to hit home from 12 yards for the opener.
Lee Prestage made it two at the end of the half after John Frost was quickest to react to Causley's parried free-kick.
Dartmouth then settled the tie in a 15 minute spell in the second half, Causley netting twice for his hat-trick. Goal of the game, however, came from Smith, whose interchange with Causley beat the last defender and gave the youngster the chance to coolly slot past the keeper.
Dartmouth's passage was typical of scenes around South Devon, as higher-division teams mercilessly saw off opponents from lower down.
The only hint of a real contest came at Lewthorne Cross, where Fourth Division Ilsington Villa went out 7-4 to Staverton and Landscove. Beesands left Brixham with heads held high, competing well at Wall Park but ultimately going down 4-1 courtesy of goals from Dyke, Adams, Dodgson and Meredith.
Elsewhere, it was a case of damage limitation. Holders Buckland Reserves wrapped up a straightforward 8-0 win against East Allington. Bond (2), Mitchell (2), Havelin (2), Harrison-White and Webber were on target.
Kingskerswell and Chelston were ruthless at the Belfield, hitting Foxhole for ten; Ipplepen made short work of Kingsbridge and Kellaton, winning 7-0, and Upton Athletic enjoyed an 8-0 victory at home to AFC Staverton. WBB cruised through 6-1 against Roselands, with two from Miller and one apiece from Blackie, Palmer, Devine and Massey.
LAST week's AFC Staverton photograph was provided courtesy of Sport South Devon magazine.