The league has finished and Wensleydale League players are ready for a few weeks of sun in Dubai, Las Vegas or Skegness before returning refreshed for pre-season training.
Before jetting off however, for two of the teams there was the not insignificant matter of the Dales Cup to be settled, with Richmond Mavericks aiming to bag themselves a treble against a Colburn side which after a slow start were one of the league’s in-form teams.
The game was played in lovely sunshine at Spennithorne and Harmby’s ground where the first ten minutes of play showed three things.
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Firstly, it was probably not going to be Adam Emson’s day – he was booked early on for a Maradona moment, attempting to knock the ball in with his hand.
Secondly the league’s top assist-provider, Craig Teasdale was again on form – a wonderfully delivered free-kick managed to evade at least third Colburn attackers.
And thirdly, Colburn’s keeper, Aaron Stoney, was going to have a crucial role to play – an Emson corner from the right looked to be at the mercy of a Mavs attacker, but Reuben Bainbridge was thwarted by a superb block at the near post by the keeper.
Colburn had made a bright start, but Mavs came back into the game, and after 20 minutes a ball over the top found Big Phil Stirling in space, with Colburn vainly appealing for offside, and his shot on the half volley in to the top corner gave Stoney no chance. First blood to Mavs.
The Richmond thought they had another when on the half hour mark, the ball was played through to Stirling who took a touch and scored with his left foot, but – much to the anger of the Mavs supporters – the linesman flagged for offside. Scott Fenney also thought he had scored but again the linesman said offside.
Colburn attacked with renewed purpose. Tom Sweeney was brought down, though his resulting free-kick was high over the bar. Then a ball was played in to Shane Parkinson, whose header looped in over the keeper, but it too was deemed to be offside.
Colburn were not to be denied though. On the half hour, Sweeney received a ball on the left of the goal area; when the keeper, perhaps unwisely, came out to block him, Sweeney sat him on his backside and popped the ball over to Parkinson at the far post. This time no mistake was made. A simply header drew Colburn level.
And seven minutes later Colburn went ahead, when another fine ball in from Teasdale found Joe Woodall with sufficient time and space to finish coolly.
Before the break, there was still time for Stoney to protect Colburn’s lead with an outstretched leg, and for Woodall to shoot just wide from a throw-in.
Colburn went in for the break with a lead they thought they deserved.
Colburn began the second half well. A clever turn from Sweeney led to a Parkinson lob which beat the keeper, but came back off the bar.
Just after the hour, there was a flashpoint, when Craig Nisbet was penalised for what he felt was a fair challenge.
Referee Jonty Gill saw it differently and booked Nisbet, who then seemed to lose his head throwing the ball away. Mavs thoughti it should have been a second yellow and off, but the ref gave him a break and he was swiftly subbed for Callum Henney.
Colburn’s manager, Darren Nisbet, then made two further changes, replacing the tiring Teasdale with Bobby Elliott, and the cramp-ridden Woodall with Jamie Dempster.
The next ten minutes passed by with few alarms for Colburn, though there was one confusing moment, when play was stopped just outside the Colburn area for an injury to Brandon Bishop,
Play resumed with a bounce ball on the halfway line as apparently Mavs had refused the option of playing the ball back to Colburn’s keeper.
Then Bishop was caught up in another incident when he was booked for not retreating quickly enough from a free-kick.
The latter stages of the game were largely in Colburn’s control and Sweeney chipped an effort narrowly wide, after turning the defender inside out. With numerous stoppages, Mavs struggled for rhythm as they began to tire following three tougyh games ins seven days.
In the fifth minute of added time, Sweeney sealed it for the ‘Burn.
Elliott won the ball with a fine tackle and played it through to Sweeney, whose unerring finish gave him his 34th goal of the season (in all games) and gave Colburn a memorable 3-1 win, and a trophy to boot.