Ilfracombe rue Larks’ glory

Joseph Bulmer

Bluebirds watch champions celebrate and think ‘what if?’

ILFRACOMBE Town beat Hallen 1-0 to climb to third in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division on Monday night.

After conceding the injury-time goal that handed Larkhall Athletic the league title on Saturday, the Bluebirds kept their faint hopes of a runner-up spot alive with a first half Steve Holland goal.

A little more than 48-hours previously, ‘Combe were forced to suffer the sight of the Larks collecting the silverware after Jamie Lyons netted a 92nd minute title-clincher. And they could be forgiven for looking back at some key results with a wince.

‘Combe showed form to beat the newly-crowned champions 6-0 at Marlborough Park in October and 1-0 in the league cup quarter-final last month. But it was during home and away fixtures against Odd Down and Willand – and others against Corsham, Bristol Manor Farm and Wells – where their own title chances were lost.

‘Combe are six points behind Bitton but have a game in hand and will have to hope the Bristol side drop points in their three remaining games.

There were certainly no signs of a wobble at Mill Road on Saturday as Bitton romped to a 4-0 win against Barnstaple Town.

Barum got off to a terrible start when they conceded a Lee Rundle own goal inside two minutes.

Six minutes later, Bitton made it 2-0 through Brendon Barnes and Mark Salter fired a third from the penalty spot before the half-time break. Dave Burborough scored the fourth 10 minutes after the break.

On Good Friday, it’s the North Devon derby at home to Barnstaple Town. Ilfracombe will then see out their remainder of the league season on the road, beginning with a trip to Dawlish Town next Monday.

They’ll also travel to Bristol Manor Farm and Brislington before the Les Phillips League Cup final against Cadbury Heath at Wells City’s Athletic Ground on Saturday, May 7.

Meanwhile, Barnstaple have two home fixtures after Friday’s derby.

Willand Rovers visit Mill Road on Monday and it’s the turn of Wells City on Saturday, April 30.