Faith in youth and ladies at Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton U18s, players and management. Picture: SPURSTOM

Budleigh Salterton U18s, players and management. Picture: SPURSTOM - Credit: Archant

Faith in youth and ladies at Budleigh Salterton

It is a sign of future prosperity when a grassroots football club places faith in developing and nurturing young talent, as well as broadening their scope to provide access for everyone to flourish in the sport.

In the past two seasons, there have been significant changes at Budleigh Salterton Football Club.

In particular the Youth Academy U18s and the Women’s team. Away from the club, like me you will have noticed the changes in the local newspapers too, which means we have lost many of those we’ve interacted with for several years. To the people who have gone, I send my good luck wishes and grateful thanks, writes SpursTom.

In relation to the club’s Youth Academy U18s squad, season 2020-2021 is their second term as part of the Devon County U18 Youth League – North Division. Following their decision to disband the men’s reserves squad at the end of Season 2018-2019, Budleigh Salterton formed an academy side with players who were also able to represent the adult men’s team, which was joining a newly formed Devon Football League (est 2019), North East Division. When the 2019-2020 campaign was cut short, all league results were expunged.

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Once again, the COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic has put a hold on play until at least Wednesday, December 2. The Under-18s had only played three matches by the suspension date but it was still a hugely promising start to the campaign.

The Budleigh youngsters performed brilliantly in winning 3-0 against Twyford Spartan Youth, and were also triumphant in securing a 2-1 victory over Feniton Youth. The final game resulted in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Clyst Valley Youths. The total of seven goals scored have been shared by Ryan Daffin 3, Nat Hawkins 2, plus 1 each from Jack Bungay and Ryan Fell.

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Budleigh compete in the Devon County Under-18 Youth League, with Exmouth Town Youth currently top of the table, although they have played two games more than the young Robins. There are also sides from Hatherleigh, Exmouth United, Copplestone United and Honiton Town.

Budleigh Salterton Ladies were promoted to the Premier Division of Devon Women’s League at the end of Season 2018-19. They too suffered the same fate as most grassroots football teams when league results for Season 2019-2020 were expunged following the early termination.

With manager Dan Carthew stepping down to take over the men’s team, Nick Long was installed as the women’s new manager. Season 2020-21 saw the Devon Women’s League change their fixture system. With only eight sides in the division, teams will play each other three times each, a total of 21 games per side. In Budleigh’s case they are scheduled to play eleven fixtures at home and ten away.

To date, the Robinettes have managed to complete five games, victories over Ottery St Mary 2-1, and Halwill 4-3, drawing 2-2 with Shaldon Villa and defeats coming at the hands of Signal Box Oak Villa 3-5, and Liverton United (formerly Buckland Athletic Reserves) 1-4.

The players on target have been Abby Yukon 4, Lucy Burch 2, Shannon Gilmour 2, who have one apiece from Beth Acca, Bec Long, Suzy Osborne and Louise Wedmore. We all hope play can be resumed in December.

Despite the current suspension of football, the Robinettes continue to impress as part of the fantastic growth in recognition for the female game. Last weekend, the nation marked Women’s Football Weekend, with professional and grassroots clubs up and down the country celebrating the development of women’s football, as well as recognising the need to continue working hard in encouraging girls to take up the game from a young age.

The Devon County FA have fully endorsed programmes designed to attract more players to the game, with a Wildcats scheme aimed at girls of Primary School age, plus advanced coaching centres for those in the Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 age groups.

At a time when we are all yearning to enjoy football again, it is great to see Budleigh Salterton setting such a positive platform for future success.

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