Bilsthorpe complete double, then manager Savage resigns

Bilsthorpe v Sherwood at Debdale Park. Winners - Bilsthorpe.
Bilsthorpe v Sherwood at Debdale Park. Winners - Bilsthorpe.

Bilsthorpe became Central Midlands League Black Dragon Badges North Division champions last night as an enthralling title race went all the way to the wire.

Their 2-0 win at Sherwood Colliery completed a superb double for the CML new boys after also winning the Notts FA Intermediate Cup last month.

But today ambitious manager Wayne Savage revealed he had given Bilsthorpe advance notice he was going to resign from the club three games back with them unable to go up due to them missing ground grading deadlines.

He also revealed that the experienced Dean Mitchell would be in charge next season.

Bilsthorpe and Westella VIP have been neck and neck all the way through to the wire with Bilsthorpe going into the final night two points ahead.

As it turned out last night, Westella went down to a surprise 3-2 home defeat by Brodsworth Welfare anyway, so the winning margin in the end was five points as Bilsthorpe ended the season with 28 wins from 34 games, with just two defeats and four draws.

Dale Gilliatt last night netted a screamer to break the deadlock for Bilsthorpe on 25 minutes and 10 minutes later Mark Carter doubled that advantage.

“We knew Westella were losing at half-time when we were 2-0 up, so it was literally don’t panic and just look after what we’d got,” said Savage “Without being disrespectful to them, they didn’t really look like scoring to be honest. We just had to sit back and relax.

“We are delighted as it’s our first season in the league and this has never been done before.”

However, Savage will not be at the helm next season, saying: “I told them of my intention to resign three games back, but I have seen it through.

“The ground grading wasn’t done in time. I spoke to the chairman and said it would be best if they went for someone else as I don’t want to be in the same league next year.

“I recommended Dean Mitchell to them and that has now been agreed and he will take over.

“But I am happy to come back and help out where I can, depending on what offers come my way.

“I thought we’d win it for some time. We played all the hard teams early on. Of the last 12 games, 10 were against sides in the bottom half, so I expected we would win it.

“The ground is now being sorted in case they are in the same position next year. It will be nice and steady so the club don’t have to start throwing money about. There is no pressure.

“It was our first season at this level and the chairman said to have gone up this time might have been a step too soon on the money that we might have needed.

“I feel the side I’ve got now would have been more than capable. Hand on heart I would have been confident of going up and winning that league as we have improved and improved.”

With the cup run, it proved a gruelling run-in for Bilsthorpe and Savage added: “The last month has been crazy. It’s just too much and the league need to do something about it. I think we’ve played 14 games in 34 days. It’s been horrendous and it’s proper took it out of me.

“Halfway through the game last night I was thinking I just need this over. We were just about to win the league and I just wanted it all to go away.”