BOVEY Tracey were presented with the South West Peninsula League Premier East runners-up trophy on Monday.

Bovey emerged as the forerunners of the seven clubs that were going into the final game of the season with a shot at second place.

‘It got to the last month of the season and I knew it could be achieved but I didn’t ever speak about it because I didn’t want to curse it,’ laughed Bovey boss Tony Radford. ‘But that is the best we could have achieved, I think, because Ivybridge [Town] blew everyone out of the water.

‘At the very start of the season when Will [Small] was there and I was the assistant, Will definitely wanted to win the league. By the time I took over fully we were in about seventh and I’d earmarked top five. It’s been up and down but our run since Christmas has been pretty good and we’ve scored a lot of goals.

‘Overall, I’m ridiculously happy, the boys are happy and we’ve finished on a high.’

The Moorlanders have enjoyed an astonishing run since the turn of the year in which they have been beaten only twice, by Crediton United and Teignmouth. Radford’s side was forced to play eight times in the final 20 days of the season in order to get the games done and they took five wins away from the run.

‘In that run, nobody started every game and everyone had their place on their bench at certain times,’ Radford said. ‘But we had the attitude of backing your mate if they’re playing and you’re not, and it ended up being a really strong end.

‘Wayne Gamble [Ivybridge Town manager] spoke about us on BBC Radio Devon when they won the league. He said that Bovey were the ‘second-best team in the league’ and the ‘best team we’ve played,’ and that was a real complement because I don’t really know Wayne.

‘I played it to the lads and told them to go and prove it – it’s little things I try and get in people’s heads the best I can.’

Bovey Tracey AFC
Ollie Aplin, left, receives the Golden Boot award. (Alan Craig)

Adding to Bovey Tracey’s glistening campaign, star striker Ollie Aplin was awarded the golden boot on Monday. The talisman racked up 25 Peninsula League goals and finished two clear of his nearest rival, Ivybridge’s Luke Forward.

‘Ollie’s work-rate is tremendous; that as a minimum is great,’ Radford explained. ‘The fact he gets into those positions to score goals means he’ll always score.

‘He told me it is the first time he’s won a golden boot – he’s come second four times over different leagues and teams, so for him to get that is brilliant and fully deserved.’