Weston head into this season’s Somerset Premier Cup campaign with the proud knowledge that they have won the competition four times in twelve seasons, not a bad record considering the calibre of some of our county rivals. Rob Hammett takes us through our previous Somerset Cup triumphs.
The first time The Seagulls won the competition came in the 2010-11 season, under the stewardship of Craig Laird. After wins in the early rounds at Bishop Sutton and Taunton, Weston beat Radstock Town in the semi-final before facing Yeovil Town at their Huish Park ground in the final. The Seagulls faced a side that included current Premier League player Luke Ayling, but Weston produced a shock win as Ben Kirk’s winner ensured the cup was taken back to North Somerset.
The Seagulls then retained the cup twelve months later with a memorable victory at the Hand Stadium after a 2-1 win against local rivals, Clevedon Town. In front of a fairly large crowd of 564, Laird’s side were victorious once more as goals from Nat Pepperall and Sahr Kabba prompted joyful scenes at the end. From never ever winning the Somerset Premier Cup, Laird’s Weston side won it two seasons in a row.
Our next claiming of the cup came six years later in the 2017-18 season, in what turned out to be an eventful lead-up to the final. In the Second Round, Weston won 3-0 at Taunton after goals from Jason Pope, Albanian striker Irnti Rapai and Jarrad Welch.
In the quarter-final, Weston were drawn away to Wincanton Town but the game was played at Keynsham Town FC. The Seagulls were ruthless on the night and won 6-0 after an own goal, a Kris Scott brace and a goal apiece for Jamie Laird, Tristan Plummer and Mo Baghdadi.
In the semi-final, Weston were handed a tough tie at home to Bath City. It was an eventful night at the Woodspring Stadium as Weston led at half-time through Jake Lee. The Romans turned it around in the second-half as Andy Watkins scored a brace for the visitors. Welch then equalised for The Seagulls in the 77th minute. At the end of the 90 minutes, with the score level at 2-2, both Weston manager Marc McGregor and his Bath City counterpart Jerry Gill agreed for the tie to go straight to penalties. Weston won the shootout 4-3 after Welch, Ash Kington, Danny Greenslade and Lee all kept their nerve and Liam Kingston saved a penalty to record an exciting victory.
The Seagulls faced Paulton Rovers in the final at the home of Frome Town FC. Weston gave themselves a mountain to climb as they found themselves 2-0 down, before Weston stormed back to win 3-2 and claim the trophy with goals from Lee and Welch again before Plummer’s injury-time winner sparked jubilant scenes both on the pitch and on the terraces as Jacob Cane eventually held the trophy aloft.
In the following Somerset Premier Cup campaign in the 2018/19 season, the holders scored four times against Hengrove Athletic and Chard Town before facing Paulton Rovers in the semi-final at The Optima. Mark McKeever’s side won 2-1 after goals from Welch once again and George Nurse, now playing in League One for Shrewsbury Town.
The final with Taunton Town was due to be played at Yeovil’s Huish Park, but was postponed due to Taunton’s involvement in the Southern League promotion play-offs. It was agreed by all parties to play the game at The Optima at the end of July 2019.
In Scott Bartlett’s first competitive game in his second spell in charge, Weston retained the trophy for the second time in the decade after goals from Owen Howe and Sam Hendy.
Weston are back at the Optima Stadium as they once again welcome Shepton Mallet, this time in a Somerset Premier Cup tie. The game kicks off at 7:45pm this Tuesday, 4th October.