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Watlington Sports and Social Club became Norfolk Junior Cup Champions on Friday night with a 1-0 win over Dersingham Rovers.

Watlington Sports & Social Club vs Dersingham Rovers – The Norfolk Junior Cup Final

Aldiss Park, Dereham Town FC, 10.05.24, KO 7.30pm

Final Score: Watlington Sports & Social Club  1 – 0 Dersingham Rovers



Watlington Sports and Social Club became Norfolk Junior Cup Champions Friday night after beating fellow West-Norfolk Side Dersingham Rovers 1-0 at Aldiss Park.

A first half goal from Ben Baxter-Hunt proved to be decisive in the tight game which saw several shots, several saves, and several yellow cards.

Dersingham worked hard to try and get back into the game but failed to create many clear-cut chances until the final minutes when what would have been a stoppage time equaliser was ruled out for offside.

After a dominant start to the game from Dersingham, Watlington had their first attack of the game on five minutes when James Dougal lasered a defence splitting pass through to Jesse Tierney. The number nine tried to cross to his teammate but couldn’t latch on correctly and the Rovers defence cleared.

The opening fifteen saw Dersingham have more of the possession but Watlington posing a threat on the counter, with the blues’ direct clearances to pacey players proving to be a challenge to deal with.

Rovers had a speculative effort on goal when Joe Collison hit an overhead kick over the bar from Captain Lewis Curson’s free kick. Moments later after a string of fouls, a Rovers player went down in the area only to see penalty appeals waved away by referee Jordan Sandwell.

A driving run down the right from Sam Peck saw him beat two players and put a ball into the area, it eventually fell to Curson who couldn’t quite connect and Watlington stopper Rob Allison was able to calmly collect. Shortly after, Josh Winner broke free and squared to Curson again, this time from the edge of the area the skipper fired his shot straight at the knees of Allison.

As the last ten minutes of the half approached, Dersingham’s Danny Williams was brought down 30 yards out, and Peck delivered the resulting free kick into the area. Although positioned to make the save, Allison was unable to keep hold of the shot and flailed a paw at the floating ball, pushing it over two onrushing yellow shirts. The ball popped out to Winner on the edge of the box who was unable to keep his side volley down.

Watlington’s Dan Harpley almost put his team ahead with five to go, when he unleashed a fierce strike from thirty yards. Daniel Howlett was at full stretch to save the effort which looked destined for the top right corner, with the Dersingham keeper tipping it around the post in an excellent save.

The resulting corner would prove to be the difference only seconds later however, when a Watlington head was first to meet the ball and flick it on. Ben Baxter-Hunt was on hand to smash it goalwards from the corner of the six-yard box, with the strike taking a deflection on the way in and putting Watlington 1-0 up on the cusp of half time, against the run of play.

Tempers began to flare with Dersingham’s Curson getting a yellow card for a late challenge, only for Watlington Captain Harry Morton to make his way into the book shortly after. Zac Fountain completed a hattrick of bookings in the final minute before the Referee blew for the break.

Half Time: Watlington Sports & Social Club 1 – 0 Dersingham Rovers

Once again Watlington had the first meaningful attack of the half when Baxter-Hunt was played through, however the onrushing Howlett did enough to put the forward off. Moments later another good delivery from Dersingham’s Curson, saw a Fountain header fly the wrong side of the bar.

Dougal then won a dangerous free kick for Watlington twenty yards out and the midfielder stepped up to take the set piece. Once again it looked destined for the top corner, only for Howlett to once again pull off an acrobatic save at full stretch. This time the resulting corner was cleared by the Dersingham defence.

As the half progressed Dersingham continued to dominate the ball in the central areas but struggled to create clear cut chances. Watlington were content to soak up pressure and continued to pose a threat on the counterattack with Baxter-Hunt, Harvey Pepper and substitute Harvey Back causing problems.

Into the final minutes of the game Dersingham began to push forward and a long cross was met on the volley by Collison. With the support of a defender, Allison was able to meet the shot and make a point blank save and smoother onto the loose ball before the number nine could pounce on the rebound.

Rovers then won a free kick on the side of the area which captain Curson stepped up to take again, but the left footed lofted cross was well claimed by Howlett. Substitute Kyle Plump was proving to be a handful up top, and thought he’d go through on goal save for a Watlington outstretched limb.

As the fourth official raised the board to signal six minutes of stoppage time it was Watlington who had penalty appeals waved away. Dersingham looked to find an equaliser but met a sturdy back line or an Assistant’s flag each time.

With a minute to play it was the Assistant’s flag that thwarted Dersingham once again, as a fierce strike by Danny Williams was spilled by Howlett, but Plumb was adjudged to have gone too early before poking home the rebound, with wild celebrations cut cruelly short.

Watlington rode the wave of the final minute but were able to see out the remaining time secure their slender lead and become the 2024 Norfolk Junior Cup Champions.


Final Score: Watlington Sports & Social Club 1 – 0 Dersingham Rovers

Line ups:

Watlington Sports & Social Club: Rob Allison, Jake Berry, Harry Morton ©, Liam Cox, Ben Fenn, Lewis Hewitt, Ben Baxter-Hunt, Jess Tierney, Harvey Pepper, Dan Harpley, James Dougal.

Subs: Tom Dillon, Harvey Back, Andrew Carter, Josh Ford, Alex Forth.


Dersingham Rovers: Daniel Howlett, Sam Peck, Jay Chima, Zac Fountain, Connor Daniels, Albie Howe, Isaac Lindford, Danny Williams, Joe Collison, Josh Winner, Lewis Curson ©.

Subs: Kieran Nurse, Ben Harris, Fin Howe, Kyle Plumb, Jake Wiseman.


Referee: Jordan Sandwell

Assistant Referees: David Jewell and Francesca Catchpole

Fourth Official: Neil Foran

Attendance: 405

Player of the Match: Ben Baxter-Hunt

Photography: Ben Cunningham