Wicor Mill Royals dedicate City of Portsmouth Sunday League title win to AFC Portchester stalwart Steve Woods

Wicor Mill Royals have dedicated their City of Portsmouth Sunday League title triumph to Steve Woods.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 10:31 am
Castle Royals Youth circa 1990s. From left - Jack Wilkinson, Josh Samphier, Adam Bogard, Simon Woods (laid on floor), Luke James, Lewis Ashton, (Steve Woods), Chris Heslin, Stuart Long, James Heslin.

The team clinched the Division 4 title last weekend when they beat AFC Lakeside Refit 2-1 to record their 15th win in 16 league matches.

The other one was drawn and they are just one of three teams in the six-division structure still boasting an unbeaten record - the others are Freehouse (Division 3) and Jubilee (Division 6).

The ‘Royals’ part of the club’s name is a reference to Portchester-based Castle Royals, who most of the Wicor Mill squad played for in Portsmouth Youth League football throughout the 1990s.

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Wicor Mill Royals line-up after clinching the City of Portsmouth Sunday League title. Back (from left): Michael Cunningham, Matt Lee, Calum Latham, James King, Joe Waterman, Russell Vince, Ben Kerr, Luke James, Simon Woods, Stuart Long. Front: Alex Belkus, Ben Burgess, Ryan Woods, Karl Patterson, Lewis Ashton, Liam Davies, Will Gammon, James Casey, Matt James.

Nine of the current squad – Simon Woods, Stuart Long, Luke James, James King, James Casey and Joe Waterman – were in the same Royals team run by former AFC Portchester chairman Steve Woods who sadly passed away in January this year.

Woods regularly watched Wicor Mill during their three seasons in the City of Portsmouth League and, at some point, all three of his sons turned out for the team.

Andy Woods played in goal, Ryan Woods turned out in defence and Simon Woods, who has played Wessex League football for AFC Portchester and Fareham Town, is this season’s leading goalscorer with over 30 to his name.

Wicor Mill Royals manager Long said: ‘As a man who played such a large part in our lives growing up, and who was such a large part of the local community, it's a shame that Steve is not here to see the club win the league.

Wicor Mill Royals players past and present, who were all in the same year together at Portchester School, pictured in the Steve Woods Stand at AFC Portchester's Crest Finance Stadium. From left - Peter Smith Luke James, Ben Janes, James Casey, Joe Waterman, Simon Francis, James King, Lewis Ashton, James Dickson, Stuart Long (front).

‘We, as a club, would like to dedicate our league win to him.’

Simon Woods and Waterman - two new additions to the squad from the 2019/20 season - netted in the title-clinching victory over Lakeside Refit.