Preview: Falmouth Town v Torpoint Athletic

Falmouth Town will complete one of the most memorable seasons in the club’s history on Saturday when they face Torpoint Athletic in the Champions Bowl.

The teams will meet in the match at Bodmin Town’s Priory Park (kick-off 12pm), which raises money for the South West Peninsula League’s Benevolent Fund and pits the SWPL’s west division champions against their east division counterparts.

Town were crowned Premier West champions last month after a dominant campaign saw them win 30 of their 32 games to finish a whopping 21 points ahead of Liskeard Athletic in second. Torpoint, meanwhile, scored one shy of the league record 151 goals as they clinched the east division title, finishing eight points clear of second-placed Brixham.

The game will see one club earn the bragging rights of being treble winners after the two teams also shared the regional cup competitions, with Town lifting the Cornwall Senior Cup and Torpoint winning the Walter C Parson League Cup.

“I think it’s mouthwatering, isn’t it?” Town manager Andrew Westgarth said. “Torpoint have had a brilliant season themselves, they’ve got the double, we’ve had a double, and that is what you call a showpiece. 

“It’s winner-takes-all and I can’t wait for it, it’ll be a really good game. The excitement is building now, we’ve only had a week or so off but I think the boys are itching to go. We had a really good training session [on Tuesday night] and we’ve got good numbers, so it should be a good game.”

He added: “All of the hard work over the past seven years has culminated in this season: going on that unbeaten run, winning the league, winning the Senior Cup, the boys being enrolled for Cornwall and Devon. It’s been a memorable season and one we’ll look back on with immense pride, and the guys should be immensely proud of their efforts.”

The match will be both Town and Torpoint’s final SWPL matches before promotion to the Western Football League Premier Division next season, which were confirmed by the Football Association on Thursday.

Town have been an ever-present in the league since its inception in 2007, winning 251 of their 510 league matches and scoring 1,162 goals, as well as lifting the Walter C Parson League Cup in 2018.

But Saturday’s game will be the end of an era as Town prepare to join the likes of Helston Athletic, Millbrook, Mousehole and Saltash United in the Western League next season, with everyone at the club excited for the new challenge.

“I think the boys are itching for it,” Westgarth. “We’re all aware of what we’ve achieved and I think we’re also aware of where we want to be.

“We want to be in that Western League with the big-hitters in Cornwall and it’s something we’re really looking forward to. 

“You’ve only got to look at how well the Cornish sides have done in the Western League and it’s something we want to try and emulate.”

Saturday’s match will be preceded by a presentation to Town forward Jack Bray-Evans, who will receive the SWPL Premier West golden boot after scoring 34 goals in 31 games in SWPL competitions.

Bray-Evans has enjoyed a fantastic first season with Town following his arrival at Bickland Park from Newquay at the end of September 2021. 

After scoring 12 goals in ten games for the Peppermints at the start of the campaign – a tally that saw him end the season as Newquay’s top-scorer – Bray-Evans joined Town and added another 30 goals in 28 appearances across all competitions, taking his overall record for 2021/22 to 42 in 38 games.

Thirty-four of those came in SWPL competitions and saw him finish three goals clear of nearest challenger Dan Jennings of Bodmin Town to clinch the west division golden boot.

Bray-Evans, who was also the Cornwall Senior Cup top-scorer with seven goals, will collect the trophy alongside Torpoint’s Curtis Damerell, who topped the east division standings after bagging a remarkable 54 goals in 40 games.

“It shows how well he’s done this year, but I think where Jack’s been really good this year is he’s been a real team player,” Westgarth said. 

“He might have been guilty of it in years gone by, shooting from every angle and trying to win the game for his team, whereas now he’s really developed his game. His hold-up play is brilliant, his link-up play is brilliant and the goals have come from that.

“It’s a special moment for him and his family and one he should enjoy.”

Last five games: Falmouth Town

April 30: Falmouth Town 6-0 Dobwalls (SWPL)

April 26: Falmouth Town 0-0 Liskeard Athletic (SWPL)

April 23: Falmouth Town 3-2 Newquay (SWPL)

April 18: Falmouth Town 1-0 Wendron United (Senior Cup)

April 15: Penryn Athletic 2-3 Falmouth Town (SWPL)

Last five games: Torpoint Athletic

May 7: St Blazey 1-3 Torpoint Athletic (League Cup)

April 30: Torpoint Athletic 4-1 Dartmouth (SWPL)

April 28: Torpoint Athletic 7-1 Honiton Town (SWPL)

April 26: Holsworthy 0-3 Torpoint Athletic (SWPL)

April 23: Honiton Town 0-2 Torpoint Athletic (SWPL)