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Cheltenham Football League set for end-of-season spectacular

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Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 28th April 2017, 14:30, Tags: Junior Sport

The Cheltenham Football League 2016/17 campaign reaches an exciting climax over the next eight days with the final round of league matches tomorrow followed by the cup finals next week.

The Division One title is still up for grabs with Falcons and Welland both having their eyes on the main prize.

Charlton Kings-based Falcons are in pole position – they head Welland by three points and know a point will be enough to earn them the title and with it promotion into Northern Senior League Division Two.

They also have a four-goal better goal difference so everything is in their favour as they prepare to host RSG while Welland entertain Kings.

The first of the league’s three cup finals – the Senior Charities Cup final – takes place on Wednesday 3rd May at Whaddon Road (7pm) and will be contested by Tewkesbury Town and Dowty Dynamos, who both play in Division Two.

The Minor Charities Cup final and the Junior Charities Cup final will both take place at the same venue three days later.

Kayte Lane, home to Bishop’s Cleeve, will host both matches on Saturday 6th May with the Minor final starting at 2pm and the Junior final kicking off at 4.15pm.

The Minor Cup final is being contested by Cheltenham Civil Service 4ths and St Pauls United. Service play in Division Four, one level higher than St Pauls, but St Pauls will not be short of confidence as they chase a treble after winning the Division Five title and the County Primary Cup.

Mind you, Service have had a very good season as well as they have raced to the Division Four title.

Bredon reserves and FC Barometrics go head-to-head in the Junior Cup final – and the two clubs have had a battle royal for much of the season in Division Three.

Barometrics have taken the league honours after winning the title but Bredon finished only two points and one place below them.

Last season’s charities cups raised more than £4,000 for good causes and Ben Hill, the league’s vice-chairman and results secretary, is proud of the league’s ongoing good work in this area.

This year’s beneficiaries will be Sue Ryder, The Butterfly Centre and the Cheltenham and District Association for the Disabled.

Hill is also proud of the ongoing strength of the league.

“We’ve got 60-odd teams playing so that has to be good,” he said. “When you look around the country you see leagues folding and it wasn’t so long ago that the Worcester League folded.”

The Cheltenham League has benefited from the Worcester League’s demise with teams such as Welland, Upton Town and Hanley Swan all moving across.

Not that the Cheltenham League’s officials are complacent about their wellbeing.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve the league and make it more appealing,” said Hill.

“This season we introduced group stages into the Senior Charities Cup for the first time to give the players more games.

“All the matches were played on 4G pitches at Tewkesbury School and the All Saints Academy in Cheltenham.”

These pitches are a relatively new phenomenon and Hill admitted: “I wish they’d been around in my day. If you’ve got a bit of talent anyone can play on these pitches.”

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