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Division One West winners Godolphin Atlantic proud of their pub roots

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: May 01, 2013

REMARKABLE JOURNEY:  Pictured back in 2005, with their collection of trophies, from left to right, then club captain Shane Hickling. manager Derek Martin, then assistant Mick Lowry, secretary Muff Ashwood and chairwoman Tania Semmens.

REMARKABLE JOURNEY: Pictured back in 2005, with their collection of trophies, from left to right, then club captain Shane Hickling. manager Derek Martin, then assistant Mick Lowry, secretary Muff Ashwood and chairwoman Tania Semmens.

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THERE is only one place the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division One West trophy will be heading back to on Saturday, and that is the pub where Godolphin Atlantic's remarkable journey began.

It's safe to say 'The G' have put up with their fair share of critics since making the step up to Peninsula League football just five years ago.

Why? Because they were formed, in 1980, at the Godolphin Arms pub in Newquay.

Apparently that's not good enough for some of Cornwall's senior clubs and their fans, who have often looked down on Godolphin as a mere a pub team in Newquay.

But these humble beginnings are what makes Godolphin Atlantic.

The club is proud of its roots, and will always, according to chairwoman Tania Semmens, regard itself as a pub team, no matter what league they are playing in.

She said: "Everybody calls us a pub team and yes, we are. We are very proud of that fact.

"We have put an enormous amount of work in over the years, and that will never change.

"We are like one big family, who just enjoy our football on a Saturday afternoon."

That is evident when you go down to Godolphin Way to watch a game. It is always a team effort. Not just on the pitch, but off it as well.

Tania's mum 'Muff' Ashwood, with whom she runs the Godolphin Arms, has been pivotal in the club's success.

Tania said: "She has put a lot of money into all our teams down the years. She loves her teams and loves her football.

"If it wasn't for mum I don't think we would be where we are today."

Tania's daughter, Stevie, also chips in too. She puts together the club's matchday programme, while son Shaun is the first-team goalkeeper, following in the footsteps of his dad Nigel who played for the club.

As well as chair duties, Tania also pitches in with groundsman Tommy Bradshaw, who has been at the club the last three years, in ensuring the club's Godolphin Way pitch is ready for match day.

Tania has been involved with the club virtually since it was formed more than three decades ago.

She eventually went on to replace Brian Bilkey, who served the club as chairman for many years.

Minnows

During her time at the club, Tania has watched Godolphin grow from junior minnows to one of the most attractive teams to watch in Peninsula League football.

And this weekend the club will complete one of the biggest success stories in Cornish football history when they are presented with the championship trophy in their final game of the season, at home to Vospers Oak Villa (3pm).

Tania said: "We have come a long way together, and that's what makes it so special."

Many of Godolphin's players have been with the club since their junior football days.

Striker Lee Paxton has been with the club for 12 years and he was promoted to the first-team when Derek Martin took over as manager in 2003.

Jake Gosling, now at Exeter City, played for Godolphin for three years, while another ex-player, Jamie Lowry spent six years as a professional with Chesterfield, before returning to the south west with Plymouth Argyle last summer.

Assisted by Mick Lowry, Jamie's father, it was under Martin's guidance that Godolphin's fortunes on the pitch really began to pick up.

In 2005 he guided the club to second place in the Duchy League Premier Division, as they gained promotion to senior football in the East Cornwall Premier League. In the same year they were Knock Out Cup winners and Junior Cup winners.

They then went on to claim back to back titles in the East Cornwall League Cup in 2006 and 2007.

And the following year, after finishing runners-up in the East Cornwall Premier League, Godolphin gained promotion to Division One West of the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League.

They improved on their position in their first three seasons, finishing 11th, sixth and second, before a disappointing fourth last campaign.

However, this season will go down as the most memorable in Godolphin's short history after storming their way to the league title.

Tania said: "The boys have been amazing this season. There were one or two tears shed after we won the league at Helston (their closest challengers for the title), and I'm sure there will be again on Saturday when we are presented with the trophy."

Next season, the club hope to be joining the likes of Bodmin Town and local rivals Newquay in the Premier Division, which, for a pub team, is not bad going at all.

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