January 18th 2015. Happy 2015!

Rain caused yet another postponement – this time the league fixture at Apollo, who had tried an alternative ground too. The team hasn’t played since December 7th’s County FC Cup win and the ensuing semi-final tie gets ever closer – February 1st at Silver Street – 2pm kick-off.

Next week, January 25th, the White Ravens will travel to The Chronicles, home to Alphington for a league fixture – 2pm kick-off (weather permitting). The team could really do with a run out ahead of the County FA Cup tie against Manstow (Plymouth).

Manstow are riding high in the top division in Plymouth under 18 football. The West Devon region is incredibly successful at this level with 3o under 18s sides.

The South Devon/Torquay area can only boast 8 sides while the Exeter area only has 5 teams left. Concerns continue to fall on deaf ears about the apparent missing link (between junior football and the higher levels of local senior football) in the Exeter area.

Fortunately Willand Rovers are close enough to be able to participate in the midweek Somerset Floodlit League and it is hoped that the current under 16s can pursue the ambition of quality youth football at the club by entering that league and furthering the cause of producing quality players locally for the future of the Reserves and the 1st XI.

Next season will apparently see the launch of a new Reserve-Team-Only league in the Devon & Exeter League. It is estimated that there may be 3 divisions of around 28 teams all told. Perhaps this might be an ideal set-up to grow teams of good younger players for the future of the area’s senior teams.

An exceptional 16 year old might get into the Western League 1st Division but in reality, the majority of good players need a few seasons more to really be able to compete for a starting-place. It’s hard enough even for a good under 18 to break into a Peninsula team or a good Devon & Exeter or Premier League side. I am sure there are a number who are good enough and ready at this level and while a few get their chance, it’s often down to managers with belief in the benefits of bringing younger players through.

So a new Reserve Team League might be the ideal opportunity to bring more promising young players on, as they continue to learn the game.

Finally, I should point out that points made above are the views and opinions of me, Nick Miles, and are not necessarily representative of the views of Willand Rovers Football Club.