Joy as Brightlingsea Regent win historic promotion to Ryman Premier

Brightlingsea celebrate their promotion to the Ryman Premier. Pictures: PAUL VOLLER

Brightlingsea celebrate their promotion to the Ryman Premier. Pictures: PAUL VOLLER - Credit: Archant

Ryman North Brightlingsea Regent 4 Romford 1 Brightlingsea Regent Football Club’s North Road erupted into scenes of jubilation on Saturday afternoon.

Brightlingsea Regent celebrate promotion on Saturday

Brightlingsea Regent celebrate promotion on Saturday - Credit: Archant

Brightlingsea Regent Football Club’s North Road erupted into scenes of jubilation on Saturday afternoon.

On a history-making day in blistering Essex sun, Regent achieved the unthinkable by winning the Ryman North Division title, and promotion into the Ryman Premier Division.

Considering that they won the Step 7 Essex & Suffolk Border League in 2011, this is a magnificent achievement for a brilliantly-supported non-league club, whose club spirit and togetherness have played a big part in where they have got to.

In truth, before this brilliant 4-1 win against Romford, there were just muted whispers that Regent could win the league.


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Whispers so strong that the Ryman League were not even in attendance to hand James Webster’s men the trophy as they celebrated with their passionate fans afterwards!

Everybody assumed that The R’s Essex rivals, and second-place Maldon & Tiptree would ease past 15th-placed Dereham Town to keep the pressure on.

Billy Hunt scores his second goal for Brightlingsea

Billy Hunt scores his second goal for Brightlingsea - Credit: Archant

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However, after just 90 seconds, things took a twist.

Phil Kelly, who has been with Regent since the Border League days, broke clear and emphatically smashed past Callum Chafer to open the scoring as this reporter was clambering up to the gantry for a bird’s-eye view!

After Aaron Condon and Billy Hunt nearly doubled the lead, news filtered through that Daniel Beaumont had given Dereham a shock 13th-minute lead.

Two of Brightlingsea's scorers, Billy Hunt and Phil Kelly celebrate a goal

Two of Brightlingsea's scorers, Billy Hunt and Phil Kelly celebrate a goal - Credit: Archant

This more than woke up the ‘Regent Ultras’ behind the Romford goal, who repeatedly belted out ‘Up the Ryman League we go, Webster is our king’.

Tom Richardson went close with two headers, before Hunt, with a hint of offside, clinically made it 2-0 with a fine 40th-minute finish into the bottom corner.

Condon made it 3-0 three minutes later, when he chested in Josh Gould’s long throw from on the goal-line, and Hunt made it four with a cool finish moments into the second period.

There was confusion in the ranks when Twitter told users that Maldon had equalised after 52 minutes, only for there to be a correction, with Joe Gatting in fact doubling Dereham’s lead.

While Romford fans celebrated winning a corner, such was Regent’s dominance, although sub Ryan Mallett did ironically score from the set-piece with a bullet header in the 82nd minute, social media’s powers showed that Maldon had pulled it back to 2-2.

But the Norfolk Magpies must have heard a few choruses of ‘Oh Dereham Town is wonderful’ from down the A12 as they held on to earn a point, allowing Brightlingsea to celebrate wildly at the final whistle on a day that will live long in the memory.

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