The Closest Ever
Season 2001-2002 was the closest ever for the promotion candidates, and I doubt there is another league in the country where five of the six divisions have been so keenly contested.
Senior Division One went down to the last match, with Rayleigh Town knowing they needed a win at home to take the title and stop visitors Takeley winning the championship for the first time since 1988. It was Takeley who came out on top with a 2-0 win that left Rayleigh Town in 3rd place just one point behind runners up Bishops Stortford Swifts.
After 19 seasons Epping have finally made it into Senior Division One being promoted as champions ahead of White Notley who will be in the top division for the first time since they joined the league in 1988.
Senior Division Three was also closely contested with Stambridge United holding off rivals Roydon to take the title by a single point. Both teams also finished with exactly the same goal difference.
On the last Saturday of the season, Bishops Stortford Swifts overtook Rayleigh Town on goal difference, to take the Reserve Division One title for the second season running.
Reserve Division Two was also won on goal difference with Upminster taking the title with a 2-0 win over second place Herongate Athletic, for whom a 1-0 defeat would have been sufficient to give them the title instead.
Broomfield topped Reserve Division Three when, in their last match after a run of ten wins in eleven matches, they overtook new boys Roydon to win the division by two points.
In a strange twist of fate both our Cup Finals were, for the first time in our history, contested by the same clubs, and in both finals Rayleigh Town came away with the spoils against Broomfield.
Broomfield also appeared in the all Intermediate league Tolleshunt D’Arcy Cup Final, where White Notley won the trophy for the second time in four seasons having appeared in three of the last four finals.
Having beaten Sandon Royals in the seasons curtain raiser, the Rayleigh Town club finished the season with a total of three winners and one runners-up trophy
In the Reserve Challenge Cup last seasons Reserve Division One Runners-up Takeley gained revenge over their local rivals Bishops Stortford Swifts beating the double champions 3-1 at Silver Leys.
On the County Cup front none of our clubs won any County honours, but both Bishops Stortford Swifts and Harold Wood Athletic reached the finals of their respective County Intermediate competitions, and Canning Town reached the semi-final of the London Intermediate Cup.
Bishops Stortford Swifts also reached the semi-final of the Herts Junior Cup and in Essex we had three clubs in the 5th Round of the Junior Cup with Broomfield reaching the quarter finals.
Epping also had a successful run in the Cherry Red Books Trophy reaching the semi-final stage where, in front of a Tidy’s Lane crowd of almost 300, they went out to eventual winners Enfield Town from the Essex Senior League.
Both Epping 1st Team and Canning Town Reserves went the whole season without a sigle drawn match. Canning Town Reserves finished the season with 10 League Wins and 10 League Losses. Bishops Stortford Swifts Reserves did not lose a home game all season and Shenfield AFC 1st Team were undefeated away from home in the league. Barnston A.F.C. Reserves suffered a record defeat when they went down 22 – 0 away to Roydon.