BIDEFORD have been crowned Toolstation Western League Premier Division champions after a 2-0 win at Corsham Town on Saturday. Midweek results meant a win in Wiltshire would guarantee the Robins the title in their final league game of the season. Second-pl
BIDEFORD have been crowned Toolstation Western League Premier Division champions after a 2-0 win at Corsham Town on Saturday.
Midweek results meant a win in Wiltshire would guarantee the Robins the title in their final league game of the season.
Second-placed Willand Rovers dropped points with a 0-0 draw at home to Melksham on Thursday; and so with the trophy on standby at Southbank, Clay Bond and Rob Francis scored the goals to earn the North Devon side the championship for the ninth time in the club's history.
While manager Sean Joyce has won the title five times since joining the club in 1998 it is only the second time his side has been able to secure its success on the pitch rather than wait for results elsewhere.
"It makes a big difference and there's no better way of winning the league than by celebrating your achievements with your players on the pitch," said Joyce.
"In previous years, the title has been done and dusted long before the end of the season but it's gone to the wire this time.
"It's been an excellent season for us as when we've won the league in the past we've had a lot of experienced players from higher leagues and were almost expected to win it.
"This time, we've a larger mix of experience, with a number of lads from the local leagues. We've watched, scouted and believed in those players and although it's taken a couple of years to gel the side together, it's paid off."
While the manager and players will be getting together to celebrate their season on FA Cup day on May 15, before that there's the little matter of a Westinsure Devon St Luke's Bowl final at Willand on Thursday, May 6, kick-off 7.45pm.
Joyce has never won the competition and will be gunning for glory against Exeter City, who beat Tiverton Town on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Ladysmead on Monday night.
Win or lose, on Saturday May 8, the club is set to celebrate its successes at an end-of-season presentation evening at the Royal Hotel, in Bideford. An announcement was expected to be made on the night regarding the club's decision on whether to take promotion to the Southern League.
But speaking to the Gazette on Monday, proud chairman Roy Portch said the announcement would be delayed pending a number of meetings still to take place between players, club and league officials.
"I've got two meetings to attend this week and a further meeting scheduled on May 10 so the announcement will most likely now be made after the presentation night," he said.
"It's a massive decision and we're not going to be rushed into it but we will be making an announcement as soon as possible," he added.
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