The 2017/18 season was always going to be an historical one for AFC Kirk Hallam. Three new teams signalled the clubs' expansion into both Junior and Veterans football. With the criteria for success to be simply to complete the season with as many teams as we started with, each and every one of the five teams has done that and more. With 120 players used in total, and 108 matches played, these figures themselves represent a great success for the club, showing exactly what was promised to the junior players and their parent at the start of the season - "This club will provide the opportunity for players to stay together and play together for the next 30 years". It is with no small level of irony that our youngest and oldest teams were hugely successful in their first season. With the weather playing a huge part in disrupting the season, a number of matches were missed due to the backlog of fixtures and unavailability on weeknights of Kirk Hallam players and also those of the oppositions.
The first team had a particularly disjointed season due to cancelled matches caused by the "Beast from the East". Having played less matches than most for the majority of the season, a huge backlog of fixtures was created, leaving the team with three matches a week towards the end of the season. With players also playing for Saturday teams and in cup finals, the firsts were very thin on the ground and were helped out a number of times by reserves players. This being said, they managed to have a good run in the Derbyshire Sunday Senior Cup, which the club entered for the first time this season. After catching up, and missing a few matches due to lack of numbers, the lads managed to still finish in a respectable sixth position in the Long Eaton Sunday League Premier Division, one place lower than the previous season.
The firsts total record for the season is as follows
P21 W7 D3 L11 F36 A66 Diff -30 pts24
Top scorer was Robson Grey with 14 goals in 17 matches
The reserves pushed for promotion all the way until the final few matches of the season where the side had been decimated by the fixture backlog, helping out the first team for players, not having players available midweek and also injuries due to so many end of season matches. This being said, they still managed to achieve a very good fourth place finish and will hope to build on that for the following season and push again for promotion. A key highlight being the fact that they were the only team to beat Long Eaton Sunday League Division 3 champions, Shardlow St James.
The reserves total record for the season is as follows
P24 W10 D5 L9 F72 A57 Diff 15 Pts 35
Top scorer was Simon Chambers with 15 goals in 24 matches
The first of the new teams at the club. The under 16's entered the Notts Youth League on a Sunday morning. This was something new for the manager and players alike, who had always been a part of the Derby City League. The guys went into division 3 for the new season. Having found a few top teams in that division, the lads had a few difficult matches, but ultimately came through the season very well and have given themselves a reputation as a very fair and likeable team. Had it not been for a draw and five matches where they lost by just one goal, the lads could've quite easily finished the season in the top half of the table. Having kept going in what was a difficult season, the lads efforts finally paid off as things came together at the end of the season, seeing them win three games on the trot. This will surely set them up to push on next season. They are a fantastic bunch of lads, who deserve the victories and progression they have made so far, and the improvements that they will no doubt make going forwards. An 11th place finish not reflecting the great strides made by this team.
The under 16's total record for the season is as follows
P25 W6 D2 L17 F39 A123 Diff -84 Pts20
Top scorer was Dan Stokes with 14 goals in 24 matches
The under 11's were set up with the intention of giving some of Ilkeston's more talented Sunday players the chance to develop further and play Saturday football as well as Sundays. Having played a few friendlies over the summer of 2017, the immediately hit the ground running and won the Sherwood Colliery Tournament in June. They entered the Young Elizabethan Football League for the new season and went in at Winter division 3 red level. The success continued as the team won the division and were promoted into Spring division 2. If anything, the team got even better and went on to win division 2 by four clear points, which sees them move into the top division at under 12's level next season. A scratch side with five players missing unfortunately went out of the cup at the quarter final stage. It can only be seen as a case of "What if's" if they had a full side available for that match, particularly when beating the same team 4-1 the following week in the league.
The under 11's total record for the season is as follows
P22 W17 D1 L4 F88 A51 Diff37 Pts52
Top scorer was Ben Morley with 40 goals in 20 matches
Save the best for last....
The veterans were set up in the space of five days. From idea, to fully entered into the East Midland Veterans League and having 60 players signed on, the management team moved really quickly to make things happen. Made up with some of the best players ever to play Sunday League football in Ilkeston, the team was in a good position to begin with. These guys had a long history of winning things in the Long Eaton Sunday League in their younger days and their hunger for success has not dropped at all. Having displayed some fantastic performances over the season, notably in a 9-0 away win over Priory Celtic, a 12-1 away victory over Shardlow St James, the guys ran away with the league championship in Conference West. This was followed up with a stunning 10-1 victory in the Keith Radford trophy final and sealing a league and cup double in their first season and being our very own INVINCIBLES having gone the entire season without tasting defeat.
The guys now move up a division and hope to push on further in the quest to reach the top division within two years.
The veterans total record for the season is as follows
P16 W15 D1 L0 F90 A22 Diff 68 Pts46
Top scorer was Nick Ghislanzoni with 17 goals in 14 matches
A great season for the club in which we have successfully completed the season with as many teams as started with.
120 players used
108 matches played
325 goals scored
4 trophies won
Youngest player - 10 years old
Oldest player - 51
P108 W55 D12 L41 F325 A319 Diff 6 Pts177
Onwards and upwards to the challenges of next season. Well done to all.
Updated 22:49 - 23 May 2018 by Dave Morley