It was, on the whole, an excellent season for South West Peninsula League sides Falmouth Town, Helston Athletic, Porthleven and Wendron United.

Here is a review of the 2018/19 season:


After a pre-season which saw them lift the Charity Bowl, Aubrey Wilkes Trophy and Dave Gardner Memorial Trophy, optimism was high at Falmouth.

A chastening 4-1 defeat at St Austell on the opening weekend was not in the script, but they bounced back in style with five straight wins.

It was better news for Helston Athletic on the opening weekend, who earned a dramatic 2-1 win at home to Sticker.

They followed it up, however, with defeat at Town’s conqueror’s St Austell, before winning, drawing and losing against Millbrook, Godolphin Atlantic and Newquay respectively.

Porthleven and Wendron United experienced mixed fortunes as the SWPL Division 1 West began. Porthleven beat Wadebridge 3-0 in their opener at Gala Parc before winning 3-2 at Penzance.

Wendron, meanwhile, were beaten 3-0 at home to Mousehole before suffering a 5-1 loss at Liskeard Athletic.

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September saw the FA Vase return to both Bickland Park and Gala Parc. David Blizzard scored a rare winner as Falmouth saw off Western League Premier club Clevedon Town while Port lost 6-3 to Torpoint Athletic. Helston also bowed out with a 3-1 defeat at Tavistock.

That result contributed to an indifferent month for the Blues, who earned just two points from their four league games.

Town had a mixed month, with an excellent win over St Austell being cancelled out by defeats to Saltash and Launceston, before finishing the month off with two five-goal wins over Godolphin and Sticker.

Porthleven continued their barnstorming start to the season with four wins, including two eight-goal hauls against bottom side Ludgvan.

Wendron picked up their first points of the season in their fifth game, beating Holsworthy 3-1 after defeats at St Dennis and Wadebridge.

Wendron signed off September with another win, this time at Penzance in the Walter C Parson League Cup, in which Porthleven lost at Liskeard.

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The start of October meant the start of the Cornwall Senior Cup, with all four SWPL sides progressing. Jack Bowyer scored four as Falmouth put 12 past Looe Town, Wendron won 2-0 at debutants Lizard Argyle, Helston needed extra-time to see off Penzance while Porthleven thrashed Carharrack 8-1.

It was disappointment for Combo side Mullion, who failed to raise a side for their tie at Launceston.

Falmouth continued their Vase odyssey with a six-goal thrashing of Western League side Bridport to book their place in the second round proper.

Their League Cup journey was a little less straightforward. Their title defence looked to be in tatters when they went two goals down at home to Helston, but roared back to reach the third round.

It was the end of the road for Wendron, through, who lost 1-0 at home to Dobwalls.

In the league, Helston picked up one point from two games while Falmouth took seven points from a possible 12. Porthleven saw their unbeaten record go up in smoke at Liskeard while Wendron picked up a pair of wins.

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The Senior Cup was back on everyone’s minds as we entered November, with the remaining 32 clubs set to be whittled down to 16. Six of those spots were snapped up by local sides with Penryn Athletic and Perranwell joining the SWPL quartet in January’s third round.

Penryn beat league rivals St Ives Town 2-1 while Perranwell beat Hayle by the same score. Helston won 2-0 at Mousehole with Porthleven edging out Callington by the odd goal. Wendron disposed of Bude Town while Falmouth eventually overcame St Dennis, coming from behind to win 2-1.

Town’s Senior Cup hopes lived on but their Vase run came to an end at another Western Prem side, Hamworthy United. Falmouth led 1-0 but conceded an equaliser in the dying minutes, before shipping two more in extra-time.

They did have the League Cup to fall back on as well, although they again had to come from a goal down to beat SWPL East side Brixham.

Their continued cup exploits meant only one league game was played – a 3-3 draw at Tavistock.

Helston, on the other hand, enjoyed a fruitful month in the SWPL Premier as the Blues ended a three-month winless run in style, winning four out of five games.

It was also a good month for Porthleven and Wendron who enjoyed a combined five wins out of five to maintain their good form.

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After the cup craziness of recent weeks, December meant a return to league matters, although the Cornwall Charity Cup also got underway. Wendron were safely through with a 8-2 win over St Agnes while the Fishermen edged a 3-2 win at Dobwalls. Penryn bowed out with a 2-1 defeat at home to St Blazey.

It was a month to forget for Falmouth who suffered defeats to Tavistock, Plymouth Argyle and Helston, although they finished 2018 with a win over Saltash.

The Blues rounded off the year with two wins and two losses, adding victory over Millbrook to that derby win over Town, in which Scott Beattie scored the only goal.

Although they lost at Dobwalls, it was another decent month for Port who earned another seven points, with Tornado Bello’s late goal rescuing a point at Wendron.

Despite that late heartbreak, the Dron completed another unbeaten month with a win at Holsworthy.

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The new year began with the third round of the Cornwall Senior Cup. Six local sides were looking to reach the quarter-finals but only three managed it. Penryn lost 4-0 at defending champions Saltash United, Perranwell lost 3-0 to St Austell and, despite being minutes from victory, Helston lost 2-1 at Wadebridge Town.

But it was good news for Falmouth, Porthleven and Wendron United who all progressed without conceding a goal. Town beat Polperro 3-0, the Dron beat St Stephens Borough 5-0 and Port put nine past St Day.

Falmouth also had a Walter C Parson League Cup semi-final to look forward to after beating St Austell on their own turf, with Jordan Annear netting the only goal of the game.

Their cup success deflected from a surprise 2-2 draw at rock bottom Sticker in the league, although a 3-1 win over Cullompton got the month back on track.

Helston also enjoyed victory over the Devon club, but lost 3-2 at Elburton Villa.

Port lost a huge game in the SWPL Division 1 West title race at home to Liskeard Athletic, surrendering top spot in the process, while Wendron’s previous good form deserted them as they picked up one point from three games.

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The start of February signalled the Senior Cup quarter-finals, with Falmouth Town easing into the final four with a 4-0 win over Launceston.

Local rivals Porthleven and Wendron met at the latter’s Underlane ground, guaranteeing another west Cornwall club in the final four. Goals from Jack Stocker (2) and Cameron Wheat ensured a 3-1 win for the hosts to seal their first-ever Senior Cup semi-final, but that was quickly forgotten when club chairman Kevin Williamson collapsed in the home dressing room shortly after the full-time whistle.

First aiders and the Cornwall Air Ambulance were quick to assist, but Mr Williamson died the following day.

The club’s next match at the same ground the following weekend was an emotional one, with hundreds turning out for the Charity Cup quarter-final against league leaders Liskeard. The Dron almost caused an upset but went down 1-0, although the score hardly mattered on a day when the club – and the wider football community – said goodbye to their beloved chairman.

Port also exited the cup, although defeat on penalties to Combination League club Illogan RBL was certainly not expected.

The Fishermen enjoyed a better time in the league in February, winning their only game 4-0 at home to Bere Alston. Rory Jarvis scored six goals as Wendron racked up an 11-0 win over struggling Ludgvan, before losing 2-0 at Plymstock United.

Other than that Senior Cup win, Falmouth won’t look back too fondly at February as they suffered three defeats out of three in the league. Helston recovered some form with a 2-0 win at Godolphin before an impressive 2-2 draw at home to Tavistock.

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Wendron’s big moment arrived at the start of March when they made the trip to Sticker for their Senior Cup semi-final debut.

It was an emotional game for the Dron, given the events of the previous round, but the club did themselves proud on and off the pitch.

On it, though, saw defending champions Saltash United score five goals to reach the final again.

Falmouth’s semi-final against St Austell was put back two weeks due to rain, but it was worth the wait.

Town put four – and it could have been more – past the Lillywhites as they reached the final for the first time since 1997.

Town set up a brace of cup finals against the Ashes after beating Cullompton Rangers in the League Cup semi-final just a week later, with Luke Brabyn scoring the only goal of the game.

Their league form was still predictably unpredictable, with three wins and two defeats in March.

Two defeats against title-chasing Exmouth aside, it was a decent month for Helston who took 11 points from their other five games.

Wendron bounced back from that cup defeat to take ten points from their five games, but Porthleven’s fleeting title hopes were all but over after a shock 3-1 defeat to Bude, with only a win over St Blazey to show for March.

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With two cup finals to look forward to, Town’s final league games were little more than a distraction, as shown by a 3-0 defeat to Helston, who also enjoyed a 5-1 thrashing of Bodmin with Phil Cattran scoring a five-minute hat-trick as the Blues finished the year in 11th.

Falmouth finished sixth and so did Wendron, who completed their most successful season ever despite losing to third-placed Porthleven.

With the sun setting on their league campaign, all eyes at Bickland Park now looked to that pair of cup final clashes against the Ashes.

Up first was the Senior Cup, with the tie exploding into life with two goals inside six minutes. Ryan Rickard put reigning champs Saltash in front on three minutes, only for Town captain Joe Cooper to level the scores three minutes later.

After the early excitement, the 592 in attendance at Bodmin’s Priory Park had to wait until ten minutes from time for the next one, when James Ward headed in the goal that secured Falmouth’s first Senior Cup crown for 22 years.

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They could not repeat the trick in the League Cup final two weeks later, however, with Dave Barker scoring a 90th-minute winner at St Blazey to exact revenge on Town.

Their hopes of a cup double fell at the final hurdle but they could be proud of another excellent year.

So too could Wendron, who enjoyed a fantastic season, while Helston’s young guns made further progress.

It wasn’t to be for Porthleven but they will be back next season, which will be here before you know it.

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