Barflies into final to create best day in 24-year history

HAT-TRICK HERO -- Joe Ashurst
HAT-TRICK HERO -- Joe Ashurst

HUCKNALL’S longest-serving Sunday football club are on the brink of their biggest honour after reaching the final of the Notts FA Sunday Senior County Cup.

A hat-trick by livewire striker Joe Ashurst enabled PLOUGH BARFLIES to pull off a major shock by beating fellow Notts Sunday Morning League (NSML) side Clumber 3-1 in last weekend’s semi-finals.

Now they will face Mansfield League outfit Bilsthorpe Celtic in the prestigious final at Rainworth Miners Welfare’s Kirklington Road ground on Thursday April 5. Bilsthorpe hammered another NSML team, Trentside, 7-3 in the other semi.

Star-studded Clumber, who have been league champions for the past two campaigns, were county cup runners-up last season and lifted the trophy in 2009.

But they were blown away by a whirlwind performance by Barflies in the first half when Ashurst scored all his goals, including an audacious 20-yard lob. Former Hucknall Town striker Carl Westcarr cut the deficit for Clumber in the second half but with goalkeeper Aaron Wilby making a fantastic save, there was no chance of a comeback as Barflies held on to their deserved triumph.

Ben Hancocks was outstanding in midfield, while the Clumber defence could not handle the sheer presence of centre-forward Ricky Hodgson, who held the ball up well and won all his headers

Long-standing secretary Tony Knowles declared it the “proudest moment of my footballing life”. The club have been running since 1988 but were on the verge of folding last summer. Indeed they even announced on their own website that they were going out of business.

Their only previous appearance in a major cup final came in their debut season in the NSML in 2005/06 when they were beaten by former Bulwell giants Scots Grey in the league cup showpiece.

BARFLIES LINE-UP — Wilby/ Martin, Paterson D., Jenkins, Banister, Hancocks, Niblett, Harrison R., Hodgson, Ashurst, Marlow D. Subs: Crawford, Marlow S., Parkin G.

MEANWHILE Barflies’ arch Hucknall rivals in the Premier Premier Division of the league, T8’S, suffered a day to forget in their latest match away to Chesterfield Arms.

Not only did T8’s lose 3-2, the game was unfortunately overshadowed, according to manager Reece Jackson, by some players “nearly coming to blows in a shameful and embarrassing episode”.

Under-strength, the locals were also under constant pressure early on and fell behind to a goal from Luke Attenborough.

Danny Gamble equalised by firing into the top corner before sloppy play by full-back Jamie Thomas and goalkeeper Jake Pearson gifted Attenborough his second.

T8’s best player, Kyle McDermott, started and finished a move for the second leveller. But more chances were wasted and the home side were allowed a soft winner from Hucknall Town midfielder Anthony Gregory.

T8’S LINE-UP — Pearson/ Thomas, Lamb, Hunt, Gamble, Davies, McDermott, Brooks, Hayes G., Edwards, Start A. Sub: Conn.