Baffins Milton Rovers finish with club best Wessex League points tally – but have still ‘under-achieved’ in 2021/22

Baffins Milton Rovers have ‘under-achieved’ this season - despite picking up more points than in any other Wessex League Premier Division campaign.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 11:23 am

That’s the view of assistant manager Danny Thompson, who oversaw a 3-0 home win over Hamble Club in Rovers’ final fixture of 2021/22 on Good Friday.

A 20th win in 40 league games lifted Baffins’ final points tally to 66 - beating the 65 Rovers collected from 42 fixtures in 2017/18.

The club’s highest league finish remains the fifth place they managed under Steve Leigh in 2018/19, when they collected 58 points from 38 games.

Miles Everett, right, was on target on his Baffins Milton Rovers return on Good Friday. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Baffins were on course to beat that this season, and would have gone top in late January had they beaten Fareham at home. Leading 4-3 with seven minutes remaining, they lost 5-4 and subsequently - in Thompson’s words - ‘folded like a pack of cards.’

The Good Friday win was only Rovers’ third in 17 games, during which they picked up just 12 points. This after winning 17 of their opening 23 Wessex matches.

‘It’s hard to believe it’s happened,’ said Thompson. ‘With the squad we’ve got, we’ve under-achieved.

‘We should have finished in the top four, but the league table doesn’t lie. It’s so disappointing to be honest, with the quality we have in the squad.

‘Trying to keep the lads motivated and trying to pick them up (in the last few months of the season) hasn’t been easy.

‘It’s the same squad that got us into a great position after 20 games, and that’s something we’ve got to look at.’

Baffins were without strikers Rudi Blankson (working) and Jason Parish (hamstring) against Hamble, as well as defensive trio Charlie and Jack Williamson and Lee Molyneaux.

Miles Everett was recalled to the starting XI - his first Baffins appearance for several months - and responded with a goal. ‘He was different class,’ praised Thompson.

Teenager Kian Murphy was handed his first competitive start, alongside Ed Sanders in central defence, and was ‘magnificent’.

Two other members of the Baffins’ under-18 squad chasing a potential Hampshire Development League and cup double also featured.

Ethan Gee started in midfield while Owen Pelham was introduced off the bench around the hour mark.

Oscar Johnston and Tommy Scutt were also on target against Hamble.

‘It was a typical end of season game.’ said Thompson. ‘But it was important we built on the performance at Hamworthy and ended with a win.’

‘Hamble didn’t really cause us a lot of problems - Kian was outstanding on his first start - and it was nice to end with three points and a clean sheet.’