County Cups: 2018/19 review
21 FINALS, 4 VENUES, 32 CLUBS, 3722 SPECTATORS, 91 GOALS…
The dust has settled and it's time to take a look back at another brilliant season of Hertfordshire FA County Cups
After an action packed few months of County Cup Finals in Hertfordshire, including the first to be played at our new Artificial Grass pitch and Community Football Centre, we can look back at some of the high-quality football on display across our competitions.
Under 12 Challenge Cup Final
Berkhamsted Raiders 5-0 Oakland Wolves
These two teams came up against each other in the final having also been close rivals in the Watford Friendly League Red Division all season. Berkhamsted could perhaps be considered to be slight favourites having scored more freely on the road to reaching The County Ground, however Oakland Wolves had fought off strong competition themselves en route to the final, seeing off teams including St Albans City, Hitchin Town and Stevenage Borough. On the day however, it was Berkhamsted Raiders who added their name to the trophy for the first time in the competition's history with a 5-0 victory.
Champions: Berkhamsted Raiders
Under 12 Girls Challenge Cup
Watford FC Girls 12-1 Garston Ladies
Both teams in this final were also very familiar to each other, playing in the same division in the same league. While Watford had led the chase for the HGFPL Division 1 title, Garston had endured a more challenging season, winning only once in a tough league campaign. By contrast their cup form had been dominant as they recorded 7-0 and 8-0 wins and netting 28 goals in 4 games en route to the final. On the morning of the 4th May the two teams met and it was Watford who were victorious, retaining the trophy that the club had won the previous year.
Champions: Watford FC Girls
Under 13 Challenge Cup
London Colney Colts 6-0 Harvesters North FC
Again both of these teams had been battling it out for the league title, with London Colney Colts placed 1st in the Watford Friendly League at the time of the final while Harvesters sat 3rd. Harvesters had a longer run to the final, playing six times whilst their opponents played four, earning a couple of byes in the first two rounds. Both teams had been in dominant on the way to the final, but it was London Colney Colts who came on top at the County Ground with a 6-0 win.
Champions: London Colney Colts FC
Under 13 Girls Challenge Cup
Watford FC Girls 1-2 (AET) Wodson Park Youth FC
Coming into the final Watford FC Girls were sat mid table in the First Division of the Hertfordshire Girls Partnership League, while Wodson Park were in the hunt for the Second Division title. Both teams had been taken to extra time at some point during their route to the final, with Wodson needing a penalty shoot-out to see off Watford Youth Ladies in the semi. Unsurprisingly then it was a close affair at The County Ground, with Wodson Park grabbing a last minute extra-time winner to be crowned U13 Girls Challenge Cup Champions.
Champions: Wodson Park Youth FC
Under 14 Challenge Cup
Cheshunt Youth FC 1-3 Oaklands Wolves
The U14 boys final was set-up to be a thriller. Both sides were fighting for their respective league titles, with Cheshunt sitting second in the EJA U14 Brown Division and Oaklands third in the Red Division of the Watford Friendly League. There were some really strong teams in the competition, so reaching the final was a fantastic achievement for both sides. In front of a crowd of 154, the Wolves secured a 3-1 victory against a resilient Cheshunt, adding their name in U14 Hertfordshire County Cup for the first time and becoming the 38th club to lift the trophy in its 48 year history.
Champions: Oaklands Wolves
Under 14 Girls Challenge Cup
Watford FC Girls 5-0 Hitchin Belles FC
The Under 14 Girls Cup Final was a chance for Hitchin Belles to end a tough season on a high after a challenging campaign in the league against some real high-quality opposition. They had dazzled in the cup however, recording a 5-0 quarter-final away win and a 4-0 semi-final win. Watford FC Girls led the race for the First Division title in the Hertfordshire Girls Partnership League, but only played twice in the County Cup during their run to the final at Letchworth. In the end though, Watford just had a little too much quality, going on to record a 5-0 win.
Champions: Watford FC Girls
Under 15 Challenge Cup
Berkhamsted Youth 3-1 Ware Youth
With both teams at the top of their respective leagues, Eastern Junior Alliance Brown Division and Mid Herts Rural Minors League Premier Division, it was clear it was going to be an entertaining contest. Ware Youth had already shown they could do it against the EJA sides, coming out on top against Cheshunt Youth EJA in the quarter-finals, winning away from home with a 4-2 scoreline. Berkhamsted had also seen off a tough EJA opponent in the latter stages, beating Ware EJA 4-2 away from home in the Semis. When the pair came up against each other at the County Ground, it was Berkhamsted who came out on top, securing a 3-1 win in a competitive and enjoyable game.
Champions: Berkhamsted Youth
Under 15 Girls Challenge Cup
Watford FC Girls 0-2 Stevenage Borough Juniors FC
This highly successful Stevenage Borough Juniors Girls team were looking to win their third consecutive County Cup final, having begun a remarkable winning run with the Under 13 Girls Cup in 2017. With Watford FC Girls tasting success across a number of age groups, their Under 16s, who sat only two places behind their cup final opponents in the league, were hoping to provide the Boro girls their toughest challenge yet. After netting over 150 goals this term in all competitions, only two more were needed for Stevenage to get their hands on a hat-trick of County Cups, as they beat Watford 2-0 at the County Ground.
Champions: Stevenage Borough Juniors FC
Under 16 Challenge Cup
Lemsford were crowned County champions this year without a final tie being played after both of their potential opponents were removed from the competition following an incident in the other semi. That meant that although unknown to them at the time, it was a remarkable encounter between Lemsford and Hemel Hempstead Town that would decide the destination of the trophy. An action packed game ended 3-3 after extra time, taking penalties to splt the teams with Lemford coming out on top 7-6 after a dramatic shoot out. To give the boys an occasion to celebrate their success, Lemsford have been invited to take part in a friendly at The County Ground at the end of the season where they will be presented with the trophy.
Champions: Lemsford Youth
Under 16 Girls Challenge Cup
St Albans City Youth FC 1-1 (AET, 2-3 pens) Watford FC Girls
Despite being separated by only two places in the league, Watford FC Girls were slight favourites for this one. St Albans City were on the losing end of both league games when facing Watford, but were successful in the League Cup when the two went up against each other at the beginning of the year. Watford had managed 106 goals in the league, with St Albans registering 65, so this was a final that was expected to deliver goals. What we got however was a tightly contested game that went all the way to penalties, where Watford FC Girls came out on top by the narrowest of margins.
Champions: Watford FC Girls
Under 18 Challenge Cup
Garston Boys FC 3-3 (AET, 4-1 pens) Hitchin Town FC
A memorable final in more ways than one, Garston Boys FC, who ply their trade in the West Herts Youth League could not be separated from EJA side Hitchin Town FC, culminating in a 3-3 draw after 120 minutes. With penalties needed to separate the two teams, it was Garston who were the more clinical from the spot on the day. Having fought off teams such as Broxbourne Borough, Ware FC Academy and Bengeo Tigers on their way to reaching the final in Letchworth, it was a dramatic finish to an impressive campaign.
Champions: Garston Boys FC
Senior Challenge Cup Final
Boreham Wood FC 1-0 St Alban's City FC
Vanarama National League side Boreham Wood hosted the 2018/19 Senior Challenge Cup Final where they took on St Alban’s City FC. Both sides had been in strong form in the competition, with St Alban's notably knocking out the Under 23 side of Premier League outfit Watford FC on penalties in the semi-final. The Saints were aiming for a repeat of the 2005 Senior Cup Final where they beat the Wood 2-1, but it wasn’t to be, as the hosts clinched a 1-0 win at Meadow Park.
Champions: Boreham Wood FC
Senior Centenary Trophy
London Lions FC 5-1 Belstone
History was made in the Senior Centenary Trophy competition before a ball was even kicked in the final at Hemel Hempstead’s Vauxhall Road, with Belstone having managed to reach the last two by winning on penalties in every round leading up to the final. They saw off Wodson Park in the first round 8-7, before beating Bovingdon 4-3 quarter-final, and then finished off Bishop’s Stortford Swifts from the spot, winning 4-2. Penalties however wouldn't feature in the final, with London Lions securing a 5-0 victory and wrapping things up in the regulation 90 minutes.
Champions: London Lions FC
Saturday Intermediate Cup
Oxhey Jets FC Reserves 2-0 Royston Town FC Reserves
The trip to The County Ground was remarkably the Jets first tie out of town in this season's competition, having played at home in three games followed by a local derby against near neighbours Oxhey in the semi. Royston meanwhile were looking to follow up on a strong set of results on the road to Letchworth, including a 7-2 win over Wodson Park Reserves and a 5-0 win over Bedmond Sports FC Reserves in the quarter-final. The two heavyweight reserve sides battled it out in a hard fought game that saw Oxhey Jets put two past Royston to secure the Intermediate Cup.
Champions: Oxhey Jets Reserves FC
Junior Cup Final
Tring Athletic FC ‘A’ 2-1 Hertford Heath
Tring had powered through the earlier rounds in this competition before edging past Mill Lane the semi-finals with a 4-3 win on penalties. Hertford Heath had also been in strong form coming through against their own Reserves, Stevenage Borough Community and Wheathampstead Wanderers on the way to this final while at the same time fighting for the Hertford & District League Division 1 title. 268 spectators were on hand to watch this clash at the County Ground, the largest attendance at the new facility, seeing Tring record a 2-1 win in a tight game.
Champions: Tring Athletic ‘A’
Hitchin Town FC 2-0 Hemel Hempstead FC
Step 3 side Hitchin Town faced Vanarama National League South side Hemel Hempstead Town at Hitchin’s Top Field home. Despite the odds being against them on paper, Hitchin Town managed to secure back-to-back Charity Cup wins, having claimed their first in 17 years last summer. The Canaries took the lead in the 34th minute through Jay Dowie, and put the game to bed late on, doubling their lead in the first minute of additional time.
Champions: Hitchin Town FC
Colney Heath 1-0 (AET) Berkhamsted
For the second time in this season's charity competitions, the underdog stepped up and overpowered their higher ranked opponent. Step 5 side Colney Heath took Step 4 outfit Berkhamsted to extra-time, eventually breaking the deadlock through a fantastic free-kick. The Comrades were unable to respond and Colney Heath were crowned Charity Shield champions 2018/19.
Champions: Colney Heath FC
Women's Challenge Cup
Stevenage Ladies FC 0-4 Watford FC Ladies U23
Both teams had been in dominant form on their way to Letchworth, with Stevenage Ladies notching 30 goals in three games, while the young Hornets had managed 25, including a 12-1 win over their opponents Reserve side. The stage was set at the County Ground for only the second County Cup Final on the brand new all weather surface and with the track record of the two teams, it was forecast to rain goals. In the end it was Watford’s Under 23’s who were crowned champions, denying the holders the chance to win the cup for a third year in succession with an impressive 4-0 victory.
Champions: Watford FC Ladies U23
Sunday Senior Cup
Reed Rangers FC 5-1 Allenburys FC
In the past 5 seasons, the Sunday Senior Cup has been dominated by Skew Bridge FC, picking up the title every year since 2012/13. Now however a new name would be engraved onto the silverware with both teams looking to get their hands on the trophy for the first time in their existence. Although Allenburys picked up some impressive results on their way to the final, they couldn’t overcome a resilient Reed Rangers, who put five past them at the County Ground.
Champions: Reed Rangers FC
Sunday Intermediate Cup
Everett Rovers 3-1 Blacksmiths
Unbeaten in the Second Division of the Watford Sunday League going into the game, Everett Rovers faced Herts Advertiser Sunday League First Division side Blacksmiths who had only tasted defeat in a single league game themselves this season. Both teams impressively had been in similarly impressive cup form, setting up an exciting final in Letchworth, where Rovers would continue their dominant run securing a 3-1 win on the day.
Champions: Everett Rovers
Sunday Junior Cup
AFC Leavesden 4-4 (AET, 3-5 pens) AFC Cheshunt
In perhaps the most entertaining County Cup Final of the 2018/19 season, 186 spectators watched a thriller at the County Ground between the two AFC’s. With Leavesden going into the game unbeaten in their league they were looking to claim a first double, whilst AFC Cheshunt were aiming to cap off an impressive first season with some silverware. The game went right down to the wire, where AFC Cheshunt eventually came out on top after a battle from the penalty spot.
Champions: AFC Cheshunt
Hadley FC 2-2 (AET, 2-3 pens) Garston Veterans
The Veterans Cup Final was the first to be played on the new artificial surface at The County Ground after it had reopened its doors after a major refurbishment over the winter. A small crowd enjoyed a brilliant game of vets football, raising the curtain on what would be a memorable County Cup final season. The first of four finals to be decided by penalty shootouts this term, Garston Vets came out on top of this one after a close and entertaining game.
Champions: Garston Veterans