Welcome to a new fortnightly series this season that takes a look at the recent results, upcoming matches and key talking points in the South West Peninsula League Premier West.

Mind the gap

A gap is beginning to emerge between the top five teams and the rest of the pack. Bodmin Town sit in fifth with 21 points, with sixth-placed Porthleven seven points further back with the same number of games played.

The Fishermen had the chance to begin to bridge that gap when they played their game in hand on Tuesday night, but were beaten 3-1 at home to Falmouth Town.

There may be a little bit of an inevitability to this, with the five teams in question - St Austell, Saltash United, Helston Athletic, Mousehole and Bodmin - also being the five teams that cropped up most in pre-season discussions as to who would be the title favourites.

The top five teams have won a combined 37 games, just three fewer than what the other 15 teams in the division, and conceded a mere 45 goals, which is just a fraction over ten per cent of the total goals scored in the league.

They have lost just three times between them, with two of those coming against fellow top-five teams (St Austell lost at Saltash and Bodmin at home to Mousehole). Helston's defeat at home to Liskeard Athletic is the only outlier.

Despite this early stage of the season, it is already looking about 99 per cent likely that the inaugural Premier West winners will be coming from this group.

Penzance praise

It may be September, but one of the biggest shouts for biggest turnaround of the season may be Penzance.

The Magpies endured a tough start to life in the new division, losing heavily against high-flying Saltash and St Austell, before an 11-0 mauling at the hands of a rampant Helston Athletic.

Yes, they were difficult fixtures that any team would struggle with, but that walloping at Kellaway Park was something else.

That result could have broken spirits and been catastrophic for the side, with the risk of mental scars being carried into future games.

But they, to huge credit, have used that result to galvanise their squad and win three of their five matches since then to rise to seventh in the table.

The Magpies added a win at Wendron United on Tuesday night to their previous victories over St Dennis and Wadebridge, with their only defeat since the Helston debacle coming at Bodmin.

League Cup begins

This weekend marks the start of the 2019/20 Walter C Parson League Cup for our local clubs, as the first round of the tournament continues.

The tournament began on Tuesday night with a Premier East match-up between Holsworthy and Torrington, with the former winning 2-0.

There are seven more first-round ties over Friday and Saturday as the pool of 40 clubs across the SWPL are culled to 32.

That is a slight change in format from last year, when the three Premier, Division 1 East and West divisions required a larger 52-team competition.

The other change is the removal of regionalised draws after this first round. Last year the draw was regionalised until the last 16 stage, but this has been removed this year due to the league itself being more regionalised.

This means Wendron will be heading to either Crediton or Newton Abbot Spurs should they beat Dobwalls in their first-round tie on Saturday.

One of the ties of the round is Porthleven's trip to Penzance on Friday night. The Magpies' upturn in form means that not only are the two teams separated by just 13 miles, they are also separated by just goal difference in the Premier.

Season in numbers

There have been 94 of the scheduled 380 games played so far, meaning about 24.3 per cent of the season's fixtures have been completed.

Those 94 games have yielded 441 goals - an average of 4.75 per game. Two hundred and thirty-seven of those goals have been scored by the home team, with the away team netting 204.

On average, the home side scores 2.5 goals per game, while the visitors net 2.2 per game, which, once you round to the nearest whole number, gives us an average scoreline of 3-2 to the home side.

There have been 17 draws and 77 victories, with the home team winning 39 and the away team winning 38.

The highest-scoring game is Helston Athletic's 11-0 win over Penzance, which is also the largest victory. The largest away win is Saltash's 9-0 victory at Wadebridge Town.

The highest-scoring single-goal victory is Falmouth Town's 5-4 win at home to Dobwalls.

The highest-scoring draw was a 4-4 draw between St Dennis and Dobwalls. There has been one goalless draw - between Falmouth Town and Mousehole.

The top-scoring team is Saltash United, who have netted 45 goals from their eight matches. The top scorer is Saltash's Sam Hughes, who has scored 14 league goals.

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