Baffins Milton Rovers U23s complete unbeaten title-winning campaign in debut Mid-Solent League season

Baffins Milton Rovers U23s completed an unbeaten title-winning campaign in their first season of Mid-Solent League men’s football.

By Simon Carter
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 8:35 am
Baffins Milton Rovers U23s, the Mid-Solent League Division 2 winners. Back (from left) Steve Deller (joint manager), Cole Wright, Ceake Maddix, Rene Blankson, Oliver Deller, Cameron Wright, Justin Paterson, Jack Weir, Owen Taylor, Kye Hartt, Mick Neal (joint manager).
Front: George Ross, Omar Jarju, Louie Hughes, George Neal, Jamal Ahmaedd

Thanks
Baffins Milton Rovers U23s, the Mid-Solent League Division 2 winners. Back (from left) Steve Deller (joint manager), Cole Wright, Ceake Maddix, Rene Blankson, Oliver Deller, Cameron Wright, Justin Paterson, Jack Weir, Owen Taylor, Kye Hartt, Mick Neal (joint manager). Front: George Ross, Omar Jarju, Louie Hughes, George Neal, Jamal Ahmaedd Thanks

They drew the curtain down on their MSL Division 2 season by romping to a 6-1 victory over Burrfields Reserves.

The goals were shared around between Kye Hartt, Louie Hughes, Omar Jarju, Cole Wright, Rene Blankson and sub George Gevaux-Ross.

Jarju ended the season as top league scorer with 11 goals, one more than Tommy Milchard who was recruited from Gosport Borough U23s following Baffins’ entry into the Mid-Solent.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

It was Rovers’ eighth win in 10 league matches, with the other two games drawn.

In all, then, a fine first campaign in men’s football after stepping up from the Sunday afternoon Hampshire U18 Development League.

‘It hasn’t been an easy season. We’ve had to get used to playing against different types of teams,’ said co-boss Stephen Deller.

‘It’s been a challenge for myself and (co-manager) Mick Neal to prepare the team for different types of opposition.

‘There’s some good footballing sides in the division, and also players with a wealth of experience at that level.

‘There’s still more to come. We haven’t turned in what I would call a complete performance.’

The Baffins squad mainly ranges from players aged 16-20, with several having played under Dellar at Gosport Falcons, where he remains club chairman.

After drawing two of their opening four fixtures, Rovers ended the season with six successive league wins.

That run included a 5-0 hammering of Carberry, the previous season’s Division 2 champions, with Milchard hitting a hat-trick.

Against Stubbington, though, Baffins had to come from 1-3 down with 15 minutes remaining to triumph 4-3 with a 92nd minute penalty winner.

None of the Baffins’ MSL squad have progressed to the parent club’s Wessex League first XI squad this season.

But Ciaran Hards, who started the season in goal for Rovers, has moved up to step 6 level - making two appearances for Wessex Division 1 club Totton & Eling.

Dellar’s squad will now seek friendlies against either Hampshire Premier League clubs or Hampshire Combination League reserve teams in the coming weeks.

That latter collection include Fareham, US Portsmouth, Fleetlands, Clanfield, Paulsgrove, Locks Heath and Hayling.

*The destination of the Mid-Solent League’s top flight will be decided this weekend.

In a thrilling finale, whoever wins the Harvest Reserves v Mob Albion fixture will lift the silverware. But if the game is drawn, Burrfields will be crowned champions.

Mob’s hopes of a quadruple ended last weekend when they lost 4-2 on the Isle of Wight to Pan Community in the semi-finals of the Hampshire Vase.