PEWSEY Vale vice-chairman Lewis Taylor says that handing the managerial reins over to U18 assistant coach Nick Maggs was a “no-brainer”.
Taylor and his assistant Craig Wall announced that they would be stepping away from leading Vale’s Sydenhams League first team last week, with Maggs set to be assisted by current club captain Ryan Banks.
Taylor, who will return to boardroom duties after two and a half years in charge, anticipates that he hasn’t spent his last afternoon on the Pewsey management team but is backing new boss Maggs to continue integrating more local youngsters in the Vale fold.
“We were keen to find someone else to take over and when you can identify someone already at the club like Nick Maggs, it’s an easy decision to make – it was a no-brainer really,” said Taylor.
“He’s been with the current U18 side for two years now and they’re currently top of the Wiltshire floodlit league and have got a good chance of being the first U18 side to win that league in Pewsey’s history.
“We ended the season with seven U18s in the first team squad and those youngsters have done really well to come into the side and Neil Stephens’ Vale of Pewsey – the bulk of the team we’ve got now will be here after the summer.
“Ryan Banks is going to be Nick’s assistant and I still think that there might be a few instances where I’ll have to help out the side, and I’ll be happy to do that.
“But I’m going to be taking a step back behind the scenes and we’re looking forward to moving forward under the new man.”
Pewsey suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Hayling United last weekend in their final game of the season.
Hayling’s Luke Eaton fumbled Warren Macdonald”s shot over the line to put Vale in front but Wayne Emery’s penalty and Tom Davies’ strike sealed all three points for the visitors, Pewsey finishing eighth in the table.
End pleases boss Perrin
DARREN Perrin was pleased Buckland Athletic didn’t roll over at the Conigre last Saturday as they got the better of his side in their end-of-season clash.
Dan Kovacs hit a brace but it wasn’t enough to prevent Melksham succumbing to a 3-2 defeat in their final game.
However boss Perrin, who has seen his side climb the table to secure a seventh-place finish and retain the Wiltshire Senior Cup this season, was delighted the finale wasn’t a damp squib.
“Fair play to Buckland because they had nothing to play for and turned up with just 12 players. When Dan Kovacs scored to put us in front, they could have thrown in the towel,” said Perrin.
“Finishing seventh and retaining the Wiltshire Senior Cup, with the Reserves winning a league and cup double and the U18 side in the final of the county cup this Sunday as well makes it a fantastic year for the club.’’
Defender Ryan Bennett picked up the players’ player and supporters’ player of the season awards. Kovacs was named manager’s player of the season, while Gary Higdon was the club’s top scorer.
Darran salutes finish
DARRAN Walters thinks Devizes Town should be proud of their mid-table finish and is already looking forward to plotting the course at Nursteed Road alongside joint-manager Justin Webster next season.
Devizes finished bottom of the table in the last two seasons but secured an 11th-placed finish this year, which could have been tenth were it not for a four-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player earlier in the campaign.
And Walters has his sights set on building on what he considers a successful first season in charge.
“The club have finished bottom of the league for two seasons in a row so to finish where we did was a big improvement and if it weren’t for those four points we lost, it could have been even higher,” he said.
“I think having the two managers has worked well because there really is a lot that you have to deal with as a manager nowadays, with players’ availabilities and things like that.
“Our first job will be to try and get the players we’ve got here signed on for next season and then look to see if we can add a half-a-dozen or so more over the summer.
“I think that another big positive has been the young players we’ve had come through too – hopefully we can keep them at the club as well.”
Devizes brought the curtain down on their season with a fine 4-0 victory over Roman Glass St George on Bank Holiday Monday, with Mark Barnes, Tom Price and Luke Enderby getting themselves on the scoresheet, with the visitors also putting one into their own net.
Last Saturday, the Nursteed Road outfit lost 2-0 at Barnstaple Town.
Vintage Reserves land double
MELKSHAM Town Reserves clinched a league and cup double as they lifted the Wiltshire League Junior KO Cup last Saturday.
Melksham, who claimed the Division One title by 11 points, beat runners-up Intel 2-1 at Corsham's Southbank ground, thanks to two goals from Leigh Rogers.
Rogers’ looping first-half header gave Steve Burns' side the lead before the winger deflected in Jordan Evans’ strike to make it 2-0 after the break.
Louis Wollen pulled a goal back at the death for Intel, with his mis-hit cross looping in to the top corner, but Melksham had done enough to get their hands on the cup.
“I think we were slightly nervous to start with because we had a few young lads in there but I think we controlled the game pretty well,” said manager Burns.
“We had most of the possession and they didn’t really bother our keeper too much. We missed a few chances and only went in 1-0 up but an early goal in the second has settled us down.
“It’s a lovely bonus and we've had a good season. We’ve got a great bunch of lads, who’ve worked really hard, and it looks good for the future.
“We’re looking forward to a few more tough games (in the Premier Division) and we'll see what we can do in there.”
Later in the day, Corsham Town Reserves were unable to prevent Premier Division champions Southbrook from completing their own league and cup double, with Justin Flowers’ men suffering a 3-0 defeat at their own ground in the Senior KO Cup final.
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