Following many years’ absence, Monday night saw the re-introduction of the popular local Market Weighton Cup competition.
Fittingly, the fixtures kicked off with home side and division 4 champions Market Weighton taking on a strong and committed Howden team.
Manager, coach and local radio personality John ‘Bones’ Girling, decided to use this competition as a means to try out new players and tactics.
His decision to mix youth with experience paid off, with new young signings Mike Morford and brothers Robert and Richard Strudwick all making promising debuts.
The game got off to a lively start, with Jack Lewis going close before a well-placed header from Dean Playforth, latching on to a pinpoint free kick delivered by captain Jonny Hardcastle, found the back of the net.
Despite dominating early play, a lapse in concentration allowed Howden to equalise.
This was the wake-up call Weighton needed, and the defensive unit of Playforth, Scot Silburn, veteran Alan Jones and Tom Morford tightened up, allowing the midfield of Hardcastle and Das Hobson to run the game.
Almost immediately, Weighton struck back with Lewis putting last season’s top-scorer David O’Connor through to give Weighton the lead back.
Just before half-time, O’Connor, linking with Mikey Morford, reciprocated by putting Lewis through for him to make the score 3-1.
Straight after the break, Howden caught Weighton by surprise to gain a goal back.
This turned out to be Howden’s last significant contribution and Weighton took the game by the scruff of the neck and refound their form of the previous season.
Crisp, fast, accurate passing led to an excellent through ball from Hardcastle to Lewis, allowing the young striker to find the back of the net for a second time.
The game was then finished off with O’Connor gaining also his second of the game. Weighton ran out winners 5-3.
The only downside to the game was an injury to burly and reliable defender, Hutch.
Pleased coach, John Girling, summed up the match by saying: “This was an excellent team performance with the new striking partnership producing goals and our new signings showing promise.
“At times, our quality of play and decision-making was impressive for so early in the season and this shows me that we will be a force in our new league and I would expect us to be challenging for honours.”
The game was preceded by a presentation on Saturday night, to celebrate last season’s league victory. Players and supporters gathered at The Griffin Inn in Weighton.
Numerous awards were presented including:
Top league and club goal scorer - David O’Connor
Player of the year - Scot Silburn
Most man of the match awards - Jonny Hardcastle
Players’ player - Scot Silburn
Best young player - Jack Lewis
Most improved player - Tom Morford
Market Weighton entertained Pocklington seconds in the second semi-final of the competition.
From the onset, this was a keenly-contested match, with both sides committing fully to some robust tackling, which added to the atmosphere of this local derby.
Welcoming back Will James and Neil Watt for their first games of the season, Weighton had to start the game with only 10 players, owing to star players Jonny Hardcastle and David O’Connor both being delayed in traffic.
The game started off at a furious pace, with Pocklington trying to take advantage of Weighton’s shortage of players. With tackles flying in, some very much borderline, and tempers fraying, the game could quite easily have descended into a free-for-all, but Weighton held firm with the back line of Neil Watt, Scot Silburn, Dean Playforth and Alan Jones doing a sterling job of snuffing out any Pocklington pressure.
Fifteen minutes into the game, Weighton were brought up to full strength and, from that point onwards, they started to dominate both possession and territory.
This pressure paid off when a cross from Jack Lewis was turned into his own net by a Pocklington defender, to make the score 1-0.
The second half mirrored the first, with both sides fully committed to challenging the ball. However, Weighton continued to press and created much the better chances, with Jack Lewis, David O’Connor, Jonny Hardcastle and Will James all going close.
As with the previous game, young players Tom and Mikey Morford and Robert Strudwick all made valuable contributions and veteran midfielder Das Hobson ran himself into the ground in the Weighton cause.
Towards the end, Pocklington had a number of chances but were held at bay by the new keeper Greg ‘the cat’ Storer, who pulled off a number of unbelievable saves.
After this very thorough examination by a strong and committed Pocklington team, Weighton progressed to the final, where they hosted Middleton.
Head coach John Girling was delighted with a strong team performance and named Greg Storer as the man of the match.
Friday night saw the final of the reintroduced Market Weighton Cup.
From the start, Weighton, full of confidence after beating a strong Pocklington second team in the semi-final, took the game to Middleton with Jack Lewis going close with a header and a Neil Watt free kick beating the keeper and going inches wide.
After the half-hour point, a superb pass from the ever reliable Alan Jones put striker David O’Connor through, who found the back of the net to make the score 1-0.
With Middleton getting no joy from a tight and well-organised defence of Jones, Playforth, Silburn and Watt, the midfield pairing of Hardcastle and Hobson had free reign.
Middleton’s efforts were restricted to shots from distance, one of which drew the customary brilliant save from goalie Greg Storer.
Just before half-time, a Lewis flick on sent O’Connor through to make it 2-0.
The second half continued the Weighton dominance, with Will Nicholson making it 3-0 before O’Connor pounced to get his hat-trick.
With all Weighton players getting a run out, new young player Mikey Morford impressed with a number of good attempts on goal.
With the final whistle nearing, Weighton produced some scintillating football to score the goal of the match.
Precise, quick interpassing involving nearly all the team allowed Watt to produce a pinpoint cross, which was met by the head of Nicholson, as the ball flew into the back of the net.
Lifting the cup, manager John Girling paid tribute to his players, remarking that each game had seen the team produce improved performances as the competition developed - excellent preparation for the season ahead.
Weighton players would like to thank all those who took part, those who organised the competition and the Griffin public house for their sponsorship.