Old Boys’ promotion ends a great season

Back row from the left' 'Phil Garbe, Damian Place, Jimmy Cummings, Jason Hibbert, Lee Williams, Luke Johnson, Pete Kulezcko, Martin Newham, Calvin Lee, and Assistant Manager Julian Prior' 'Front row from the left' 'Matty Ror, Reece Bray, James Fletcher, Adam Williams, Andy Burton.' 'Squad members who were unavailable included' 'Ian Brock, Joe Nelson, Rob Kenny, Andy Hall, James Coates.
Back row from the left' 'Phil Garbe, Damian Place, Jimmy Cummings, Jason Hibbert, Lee Williams, Luke Johnson, Pete Kulezcko, Martin Newham, Calvin Lee, and Assistant Manager Julian Prior' 'Front row from the left' 'Matty Ror, Reece Bray, James Fletcher, Adam Williams, Andy Burton.' 'Squad members who were unavailable included' 'Ian Brock, Joe Nelson, Rob Kenny, Andy Hall, James Coates.

IT has been an eventful and ultimately successful season for the Brighouse Old Boys club say head coaches Phil Garbe, Julian Prior and Chris Wadsworth.

The first team was promoted to the West Yorkshire Premier League achieving their five year target since joining the higher echelons of the amateur game in 2006.

The second team also retained their status in the Reserve Division One - it was only secured on the last Saturday of the season.

Backing them up is the Halifax League team, never letting the club down in the competitive Halifax League Division One.

Club chairman Doug Tait says: “It has been another successful campaign and the club continues to thrive.

“Within the first team achievement was an 18 match winning run which is believed to be a West Yorkshire League record.

“It was also important that the second team stayed up although as with the first team it went down to the wire,” he said.

“It certainly tested the nerves of both management teams. Full credit to Rob Moore and his Halifax side who managed to put out a competitive side with often stretched resources.

“The club is working hard to continue their reputation for nurturing home grown talent and retaining a high standard of football for local players.”

“Our objective is to strengthen our link between the Old Boys and Brighouse Juniors and extend this to other junior clubs in the area, to provide an outlet into adult football and the opportunity to play at a high standard of football with a commitment to continue to develop players.

“The more successful the club becomes the demands on the club management and finances increases.”

He said that at the recent annual meeting the players recognised this, with a number coming forward to join the committee.

The first team had a quiet start and after the first 11 league games promotion just looked a pipe dream, said Garbe.

“We were languishing in mid-table mediocrity, had suffered a heavy defeat with a poor performance against eventual league winners Rothwell and an unlucky defeat by eventual close rivals Kippax at home.

“However other than the Rothwell game we weren’t playing that badly and we always felt that we could get a bit of a run going, but I must admit we didn’t expect it to be a league record 18 win sequence,” he said.

“There are no pushovers in the West Yorkshire League and every win had to be earned with hard work, determination and great resilience, this was reflected in the fact that 12 of the 18 wins were by a one goal margin!

“By the end of January four teams had broken away from the pack to contest for the two promotion positions, but coming from our poor position we could not afford to drop many, if any, points.

“As the run progressed confidence grew, and an indefatigable spirit that the team would not be beaten, the mantra which continued till the end of the season.

“We always believed if we imposed ourselves on the opposition, retaining a high tempo passing game the contest would be ours and so it proved.”

He said it was a team achievement there were some key factors which gave them the edge.

These included the calm assured play of Damian Place, the clinical finishing of Rob Kenny - 23 goals in 24 appearances - the defensive wall of the Brighouse defence backed up by the confident handling of ‘keeper Jason Hibbert, only letting in 13 goals during the run.

While the league form was outstanding there were few cup highlights. They were knocked out in the first round of the District Cup by Ovenden West Riding losing after extra time, and the same round of the West Riding cup losing to Premier League side Boroughbridge.

They had more success in the League Cup getting to the quarter final.

For the West Yorkshire reserve team it has been a tough season but five wins in their last eight games secured their status in Alliance Division One.

“Our primary role is to support the first team and in this we have been reasonably successful,” said manager Chris Wadsworth.

“Players have moved up and established themselves contributing to the first team success. While our league form to say the least has been up and down we have always put out a competitive side and this is reflected in a zero goal difference, which isn’t bad for a team just above the relegation places.

“There have been a number of positives such as improving our relationship with Brighouse Town - especially with Mark Booth - where we have worked with them to introduce a number of under-19 players to open age 11 a side football.

“But player availability has been somewhat frustrating for both myself and assistant manager Neil Fitzjohn. When we field a full squad we are a match for anyone reflected in our wins against high flying Knaresborough Town and Bardsey who we did the double over.

“There were many games where we only had one substitute, but the fact we have only five players who have been involved in 20 or more games over a 30-match season probably says it all. If we can improve this for next season then I am sure we should be up there competing with the best.”

The Halifax team put up a spirited performance in a difficult league playing against other clubs first teams.

“We have achieved our target to fulfil all our fixtures and put out a competitive team.,” said Rob Moore.

“We have the same challenge as the West Yorkshire Reserve in terms of player availability but that is also exacerbated the restrictions in the Halifax League rules which impacts player eligibility and the ability to move them between teams. We are in discussions with the league and looking to propose rule changes at the league’s annual meeting.”

Brighouse Old Boys will be starting pre-season training on July 1 on Mondays and Wednesdays at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.

Any new players should just come turn up or contact Phil Garbe on 07973629361 or go to the Brighouse Old Boys website and Facebook for more information.