Back-to-Back County Cup Success For The U16 Boys

Lambeth Tigers 1 Dorking Wanderers 3
London County Cup Final, March 9th

The first in the ‘trilogy’ of finals held last weekend got under way on Saturday evening, with the JPL U16 Boys side taking on Lambeth Tigers.

Wanderers were the underdogs going into this final with much being made of the quality of players Lambeth had at their disposal and their unbeaten record in all competitions so far this season.

A fast-flowing, energetic game of football saw a tight first half contested between the two sides. Wanderers forward Miguel Rodriguez won and scored a penalty after being fouled in the box to open the scoring,  Lambeth restoring parity from open play not long afterwards to level the game at 1-1 heading into the break.

Manager’s Colin Bland and Charlie Dunne utilised the quality of squad depth available to them and made a couple of changes following the interval, and Wanderers quickly began to establish command of the game after the restart, nullifying the attacking potential Lambeth had shown in the first half.

Some excellent play enabled Wanderers to get back in front midway through the second forty-five. Sustained pressure around the Lambeth box led to the conceding of a corner kick, and defensive midfielder Ashley Smith, who was awarded the London FA Player of the Match post-game,  was able to tower home a header from the resulting delivery.

The game ebbed and flowed thereafter, but Wanderers remained on top, and with ten minutes remaining,  Rodriguez again won and converted a penalty, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way to provide his side with some breathing space heading towards the closing stages, ultimately proving enough to secure the silverware.

This year’s County Cup victory is a second consecutive triumph for the U16’s side following last year’s 3-0 victory over Esher in the finals of Surrey edition of the competition held at Meadowbank. The team of that year saw the likes of players such as Harry Charlesworth, Neo Wooster and Jacob Todman go on to join the Dorking Wanderers Academy post-16 education and football programme, and represent the club’s B team and top National League academy sides throughout this season. From this year’s U16’s side, the likes of Ted Clark, Ted Sullivan, Cristiano Barreca, Tom Bland and Joe Wakeling will all be joining the academy programme for 24/25, continuing their journey along the club’s pathway.

Dorking Wanderers JPL U16’s: 1 Finley Legg (GK), 2 Chris Ewen, 3 Ted Clark, 4 Ashley Smith, 5 Jack Walsh, 6 Cristiano Barreca, 7 Ted Sullivan, 8 Tom Bland, 9 Miguel Rodriguez, 10 Denny Neary, 11 Joe Wakeling

Subs: Frank Whitby, Yusuf El-Helbawi, Louie Pendergast, Jonny Carter, Aaron Zziwa (GK)



Girls U15’s & U16’s Both Triumph In Finals Double Bill

Attention switched to the Elite Girls U15 and U16’s sides on Sunday afternoon, with both teams playing their finals in a double header at Leatherhead Youth FC’s River Lane venue.

The U15 Girls, who compete in the Surrey County Women’s & Girls League, were up first in a 12pm kick off against Teddington FC. Conceding just 3 goals and scoring a remarkable 47 in the 5 rounds which proceeded the final, including defeating the likes of Sutton, Fleet and Rushmoor Youth along the way, the Girls ran out 4-0 winners in the final against Teddington. Two goals up at half-time, a further two in the second half made sure the destination of this year’s trophy would be Dorking.

Managed by Debbie Francis with support from coach Mike Parsonson, reflecting on the team’s first year in the Elite Section and their Cup Final victory, Debbie says of the team:

“The players all work extremely hard in training. They listen and engage week in week out, taking the instructions on board and it’s been a pleasure to see them execute what they learn in the matches they play. The development they have shown since the start of the season has been phenomenal, they are sitting top of the league and the run to the league cup final has been a pleasure to watch. We are excited to see them further develop over the rest of the season and as they progress into senior football!”



It was then the turn of the U16 Girls, who collectively took to the field straight after the U15’s victory, facing league rivals Fleet in a 2pm kick off.

Like the U15’s, the U16’s also compete in the Surrey County Womens & Girls League, and are also top of the table after an impressive season so far, recording 10 wins, with just 1 draw and 1 defeat from their 12 matches played.

Echoing the boys result from the day before, the U16 Girls went on to defeat Fleet 3-1 in the final, capping a truly memorable afternoon for the Girls side of the Elite Section and fantastic weekend overall.



Looking back proudly on the achievements of last weekend, Richard King, Head of Dorking Wanderers Elite Youth Development, adds:

“As a club we are now having regular success in the Cups and Leagues we enter and, although individual player development remains our priority, and in particular producing First Team players of the future, winning these prestigious competitions is a significant indicator as to the level our teams are now playing it. Congratulations to all the players involved, and a big thank you to the coaches for their hard-work and commitment. The future of our club looks very bright!”

Approaching the end of the 23/24 season, we wish all our Dorking Wanderers Elite and Youth sides the very best of luck with their final run of games in their respective league and cup competitions.


With thanks to Richard King, Colin Bland, Debbie Francis and Wayne Robinson.