Long Bennington under-18s completed 12 years of competitive football together as they played their last match at the opening ceremony of Long Bennington’s new £65,000 football pitch last Sunday.
They are unique as the only local team to have achieved this accolade and due to changes in FA League formats, this can no longer be achieved.
Bennington have won league titles and have been cup winners in the individual Newark, Grantham and Mid Lincs Leagues over the last 12 years.
They rounded off their final season in style as they beat a resolute Aslockton side 5-2. James Longden opened the scoring with his 300th league and cup goal for the club. Matt Eyre grabbed a brace, with Jonnie Blanchard and Sam Evans completing the scoring.
The day began with a ribbon cutting to officially open the new ground which was funded by a £50,000 grant from Sport England. There was also a presentation to the club of its new Charter Standard Community Award.
The 11-a-side pitch was completely renovated through the Sport England grant, with new drainage installed, and pitches to accommodate five-, seven- and nine-a-side football were created
The club’s Steve Rowley said: “The principal beneficiary of these improvements, the players, parents and coaches of Long Bennington Football Club, are extremely grateful to the many people who have put in their time and efforts.”
Sport England chairman Nick Bitel said clubs needed to offer quality facilities to attract and retain participants: “The improvements to the Long Bennington QE2 playing fields will be welcomed by regular users and those who are new to football.”
Long Bennington under-18s are from left, back – Matt Eyre, Luke Bond, Mike Hurrell, Dan Hibbert, Alex Hibbert, Sam Knight, Sam Smart, George Blanchard and Ellis Rhule; front – Aidan Monaghan, Alex Wharmby, Tom Wharmby, James Longden, Jack Day, Sam Evans and Charlie Richardson.