FALMOUTH Town midfielder Martyn Duff has left Bickland Park in favour of a move to St Austell.

Duff joined Town from fellow South West Peninsula League side Sticker in 2018, making 87 appearances and scoring 10 goals in his time at the club.

The central midfielder was part of the first Town side to lift the Cornwall Senior Cup in 22 years when they did so in 2019.

Duff joins Town captain Joe Cooper in exiting Bickland Park, with the centre-half opting to end a seven-year spell with Falmouth to move to local rivals Porthleven earlier this week.

READ NEXT: End of an era: Falmouth Town captain ends seven-year stay at club to join local rivals

Manager Andrew Westgarth paid tribute to his outgoing midfielder, saying: “I’ve got nothing but high praise for Duffy. When he joined us a couple of seasons back, he wanted to win things, and obviously winning the Senior Cup, a bit like Joe’s [Cooper] highlight, it was Duffy’s highlight. He was an integral part of our team up to now and it’s just a shame he wanted to move on.

“He’s been a manager’s dream, really. He’s always at training, you can always count on him for matchdays, never lets you down, and I wish him every success at St Austell.”

He added: “If you look back at our team sheets for the last two-and-a-bit seasons, he’s the first name on it most weeks. He very rarely misses a game of football for us. Sparky’s [St Austell manager Mark Smith] got himself a top player there.”

Duff joins a St Austell side that has seen plenty of change during 2020, with new manager Mark Smith bringing much of his successful young side up from the reserves as several established first-team players moved on.

The Lillywhites have started well despite the upheaval, winning five of their first ten games and taking points off Helston Athletic, Bodmin Town and Saltash United, and Westgarth acknowledged his counterpart’s early success.

He said: “You’ve got to give full praise to Sparky [Smith] because at the start of the season I think he would’ve been struggling to sign players off the back of his reputation – like I did when I first started as manager at Falmouth Town.

“People are a little bit reluctant to join you until you’ve shown what you can do, and full credit to Sparky with the start he’s had, and he’s picking up some good points – 4-4 at Saltash is nothing to be sniffed at.”

Westgarth’s search for a replacement in central midfield was over before it began, with Ryan Chinn returning to the fold this week after spending the first part of the season out of the game.

“Chinner [Chinn] was always going to have a bit of time off anyway as he’s bought a new house and has been renovating it,” Westgarth said.

“It’s been a mad week, really. At the start of the week Chinner announces that he’s coming back, Coops [Cooper] then says he’s leaving and then so does Duffy. It seems like two out, one in.”