Norwich & District Sunday League round-up: Champions caught cold on opening day of campaign

Norwich & District Sunday League side Constable Crusaders. Picture: CONSTABLE CRUSADERS

Norwich & District Sunday League side Constable Crusaders. Picture: CONSTABLE CRUSADERS - Credit: Archant

After what has felt like a never ending summer – but to be fair I was glad of the break – the Norwich & District League 2016/17 season finally got under way this weekend.

Premier Division Riverside Rovers started the defence of their title with a tough-looking trip to Acle Rangers, and that proved to be the case as goals from Julian Bussell, Perry Kelf and Daniel Foreman helped the home side to a 3-2 victory. Luke Tuttle and Roy Bevis replied for the champions.

Schoolhouse, last season's runners up, started the term well, winning 6-2 at Lakewood United.

DE made a good start to life in the top-flight, scoring five without reply at fellow new-boys Horsford United, while Dilham Cross Keys' first game in the set-up's top tier saw them beat Farmhouse 6-2, with goals coming from Dan Tindall (3), Jamie Duffield, Dan Duffield and John Bell.

I saw a very entertaining game at Poringland Wanderers where Bungay Town were the visitors. It was the Suffolk side who took an early lead when Marcus Strak ran onto a through ball to score with a cool finish. The lead lasted for 15 minutes as, after a very good move, Matt Cook put the home side level with a good finish and the same player put the home side in front before the break.

Bungay started the second period well and eventually grabbed a deserved equaliser. Aiden Lowe bulleted in a 25-yard effort that was superbly saved by Tommy Taylor, but Pat Hudson was on hand to slam home the rebound. Both sides had chances after that as the game flowed from end to end but a point apiece was a fair result. Taylor was impressive in the home goal, whilst Lowe was at the heart of Bungay's best efforts. Referee Richard Gostling also had a decent game in the middle.

Glen Spooner made a great start to the season, scoring all four of Vale Longo's goals as they kicked off with a 4-1 win at home to Constable Crusaders in Division 1A.

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Despite problems getting into the ground, Windmill Wanderers recovered from an early setback against Brooke to also win 4-1. There was a debut goal for Brandon Leggett, two for Jordan Plunkett and a 30-yard 'worldie' by 16-year-old Alfie Robson.

Bungay Town Reserves recorded a 4-2 win at home to Warwick St United and a last-minute goal from Lee Barnes ensured Longdale Rovers won at Middle Green by the odd goal in seven, with Ryan Roberts and two-goal Josh Castillo Hall also netting for the visitors.

Norman Wanderers got their campaign off to a good start with a 2-0 win over Mischief.

CEYMS pull off incredible comeback

In Norwich Division 1B, biggest winners of the day were Sprowston Wanderers who scored seven in their win at Hethersett Athletic.

Adam Waters hit two for the home side. Jutty Womack scored twice as Aslacton came back from the long trip to Briston Wanderers with three points and a 2-0 win, while Binham Village ran out 5-2 winners at home to Acle Rangers Reserves. Phoenix FC, last season's 2B winners, suffered defeat in their first-ever 'senior' game as they went down 2-1 at Salhouse Rovers.

2A started off with some big wins. SNS scored seven (goalscorers Joe Manning 3, Shane Gammage, Edvinus Radvillas, Simon Walsworth and Ben Morgan) as they won at DCS Rapid, Hewett Old Boys hit six (Lee Roper Smith 3, Oli Dodds, Luke Jeal and Callum Speck) when beating Mettingham and Norman Wanderers Reserves also hit the half dozen mark (Kane Smith 2, Jimmy Buxton, Dan Stammers, Chris Jermy and an own goal) as they won at Brooke Reserves.

Winfarthing scored five (Nathan Styles 3, Aaron Day and Jack Ballard) without reply at Warwick St United Reserves and Micawbers won 4-0 at Dynamo.

2B saw what was undoubtedly the comeback of the day. Trailing 4-0 at half-time to Hellesdon, Norwich CEYMS stormed back to triumph thanks to a Darren Smith hat-trick and further goals by Jack Hurrell and Kane Wetteland.

Hethersett Reserves got off the mark with a 5-0 win at FC Viking and Blofield United were 6-1 winners at Sporting Iceni. Sprowston Athletic won 5-0 at Bunwell, whilst Stephen White scored all four for East Tuddenham who were 4-1 victors over Harleston Town Under-21s.

With the majority of the division being new teams, 3A could be interesting. Mad Moose Athletic went behind early but then hit nine (Michael Cullum 4, Josh Malin 2, Josh Buckley, Max Marsham and Freddie Turner) as they won at Longdale Rovers Reserves as did AFC Norwich for whom Luke Perry (3), Matthew Butcher (2), Gordon Horine, James Smith, Brendan Edwards and Oliver Cheeseman all scored when winning at Woodton United.

Woolpack got off to a winning start with a 6-3 (Chris Holmes 3, Ricky Bevis, Jamie George and Declan McAvoy) win at Cotman United, while Nelson's Athletic won 6-3 at Eaton Park Corinthians.

Referee Justin Grosse praised the attitude of both sides as Norman Wanderers A beat Hempnall 4-1, Isaac Mace, Shane Empson, Reece May and Zakaria Anwar scoring for Norman and Drayton Dazzlers will be delighted with their start to life in the league as they won 3-2 at Marlborough. Jack Lincoln and Adam Wilson scored for the hosts.