Players unite from across South West for Roy Holmes memorial match
- Credit: Derek Castree
More than 400 people turned out at Homers Heath to pay tribute to Roy Holmes, the original ‘Mr Buckland’ who became chairman of Buckland Athletic in the early 1990s and oversaw all aspects of the club, including the building of Homers Heath and its enviable facilities.
A fantastic afternoon included a hog roast, well-stocked outside bar and, of course, a football match featuring well-known players from throughout the South West, including current and former players of Buckland Athletic.
For once, the result wasn’t the most important part as Adam Castle’s Buckland Athletic All Stars took on a Devon and Cornwall Select XI assembled by former Buckland manager and current Helston boss Steve Massey.
The game finished Buckland Athletic All Stars 1-2 Devon and Cornwall Select XI with Gav Hammon opening for Bucks and Kevin Squires and Les Afful with late goals for Devon and Cornwall.
The first effort of the afternoon fell to Bucks’ Marc Revell, who fired over the bar three minutes in.
That was quickly followed by the opening goal, Gav Hammon driving home from the edge of the box.
In fact, Buckland had the best of the opening ten minutes with Revell’s clever ball forward finding Danny Gaze, whose low cross almost presented Hammon with another chance.
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Chris Wright also drew a smart save from Tom Buckler while Nick Rudge looked threatening as he dribbled into the area probing for a shooting opportunity.
The Devon and Cornwall side finally began to settle and ask questions of their own.
Kenny Griffiths stretched to pluck Darren Birchall’s 12th minute cross from the air and a minute later, Ian Down rattled the advertising hoardings with a low shot.
Jamie Lowery was unlucky not to get a shot away when he expertly brought a through ball down on the edge of the Buckland box only to see it roll too far ahead of him for Griffiths to collect.
Then came the best move of the game so far. A deft flick by Gaze sent Lloyd Gardner away on the left.
He accelerated into the box and crossed to Wright whose left-footed effort was just wide of the mark.
With the sun beating down relentlessly, it was soon time for a water break.
When the game resumed there was a period of ebb and flow between the two penalty boxes.
Andy Bowker was unable to capitalise on a dangerous Les Afful through ball and then Gaze’s cross was knocked to safety by Buckler.
On 35 minutes, Gaze survived a strong shout for a penalty after a coming together with Afful in the box.
Then, seconds later, the Devon and Cornwall defence were forced to clear off the line.
Gardner missed a gilt-edged chance to double Bucks’ lead on 38 minutes when he put a free header wide of the far post from Hammon’s cross.
But it was Massey’s side that ended the half on the front foot. Lowery chipped into the box for Afful who managed to force a corner. Moments later, Bowker squared the ball for Paul Smith to fire wide.
The Devon and Cornwall Select side were also quickest out of the blocks in the second half, Lowery with an early effort on goal and Buckland surviving a penalty shout for handball.
Bucks’ first effort of the half came on 50 minutes, Gaze slipping the ball through to Jon Rimmer who shot wide. A minute later, Afful was wide at the other end.
Buckland grew stronger as the hour mark approached, Rudge feigning to shoot on the edge of the box before laying off to Rimmer whose shot was well-saved.
Gary Fisher fired wide of the near post and Shane Gill also missed the target as the Yellows hunted a second.
Both sides suddenly improved their aim with a flurry of chances in a three-minute spell.
First, Bath City defender Ben Gerring forced a save before Kevin Hill saw his goal bound shot tipped over the bar.
Gardner then had a shot on target parried away before the action went straight back up the other end. Simon Dungey, who had replaced Griffiths between the sticks, made a superb double save from Afful and Kevin Wills to maintain Bucks’ advantage.
Lowery was the next player to test Dungey with a shot as the game entered the last 20 minutes.
Tom Sercombe had a chance to make things more comfortable, getting his foot to a threatening cross but unable to fashion a shot at goal.
The team in blue then whipped in an equally dangerous cross at the other end which evaded everyone.
With 81 minutes on the clock, Steve Massey’s team finally got the ball in the net, Kevin Squires in the right place at the far post to squeeze home a header.
Gardner came close to scoring a second for Buckland but his 86th minute effort was saved.
Two minutes later and the Devon and Cornwall side completed their turnaround, Afful collecting the ball on the edge of the box and slotting home.
Buckland tried their hardest to force an even later equaliser, with Gardner on target in stoppage time.
A great piece of control by Sercombe on the edge of the box presented Gardner with another late chance but as his shot went wide, the referee called time.