VIRGINIA Water have won the Division One East title in their first-ever season as members of the Hellenic League.

The Waters secured the title after a 4-0 win against Aldermaston on Thursday.

Goals from Adam McNamara and Richard Bond gave the home team a clear lead heading into the half-time interval at Stag Meadow, before Louis Sanders and substitute Sam Devoil struck to secure all three points after the break.

Virginia Water have racked up 55 points from 23 matches to win the league with a game to spare.

The Waters have been beaten just twice in the league this season, once at home and once away, scoring 65 goals and conceding just 26 - the fewest in the division.

Their manager Ceri Jones told the Observer: “It’s terrific and I can’t fault the boys for their efforts.

“It has been a long, hard season with a lot of mishaps or missed matches due to the weather, although it has all come good in the end.

“We’ve benefitted through playing at Stag Meadow so we’re grateful to Windsor Football Club for that opportunity.

Villager:

PHOTO: Virginia Water Chairman Dave McBride (left) and manager Ceri Jones (second from the right) are sprayed with champagne during the celebrations at Stag Meadow.

“I’m just delighted and it’s quite hard to contain your emotions when you’ve won back-to-back titles, so we’re thrilled to win.”

He continued: “Initially at the start of the season we set out to try to finish in the top-four, but we got off to such a good start we had to re-asses our aspirations and we were then pushing for the top-two.

“We got most of our away fixtures under our belt quite early so, with the strength of our home form, we knew that if we could pick up some important wins on the road, which is how it turned out, our home form would see us over the line.”

Jones added: “When you do not know too much about the team you’re playing you just get concerned with your own squad. You do not get too embroiled with the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition because you don’t know them.

“The flip side to that was every time a team comes to Stag Meadow they’re so pleased to be playing on such a true and good footballing surface that it becomes a cup final for them.

“Whilst our home form was really strong we had to be at our best to win them all, bar a tough match against Sandhurst.

“It’s been a very successful season and to get to two major cup quarter-finals as well, losing out to Binfield and Bracknell Town, where we definitely made a good account of ourselves.”

The Virginia Water boss explained that he first believed his side could win the title after the 2-0 victory over Penn & Tylers Green Reserves at Stag Meadow back in March.

Villager:

PHOTO: Virginia Water strikers Ryan Curtis (left) and Adam McNamara (right) with the Hellenic Division One East trophy.

He said: “After beating Penn, we had a lot of momentum where we had games in hand, and five of the last six in the run-in were to come at home.

“At that stage, and with the goal difference going in our favour, we started to believe that we were in with a good shout and we just had to maintain our form.

“To go through the whole season as we have, just losing two games, and the runs in the cups, the boys have done exceptionally well. It’s the same squad of players we’ve had for the last two years so full credit to them and the backroom staff I’ve had.

“The support I’ve had from the Chairman, Secretary and two coaches is fantastic and takes a lot of pressure off me, and they deserve all the credit.

“Bicester Town and Penn pushed us really hard to be fair and they’re fantastic sides in their own right.”

The Waters have now won back-to-back league titles after winning the Surrey Elite Intermediate League last season, and Jones hopes their is more improvement to come from his young squad.

He said: “I am a fan of having a couple more older heads come in but I’ve known the players for a long time and, when I watch the boys from the touchline, I’m looking at a side that I would like to think I can hold onto and develop over the next five or six years.

“I would like to think that people have not seen the best of this side yet but next year will be a different challenge.

Villager:

PHOTO: Virginia Water celebrate one of their four goals in the 4-0 win against Aldermaston, which secured them the league title this season.

“We will benefit for playing more games because the breaks this year have been very frustrating, but that’s not just for Virginia Water, it’s the same for every club.

“I don’t think we will lose only two games next year and it will be a completely difference challenge but one we will relish.

“It will give a bigger squad the opportunity to play a lot more games at a higher level which is what we always wanted to try and achieve.”

Looking ahead to the 2018/19 season, Jones added: “It’s not a long break and we will be back in pre-season in six or seven weeks time.

“I will be glad to see the back of them for a while but then it will be all systems go, and we look forward to making a good account of ourselves in the Premier Division.

“We’re always developing and have a very young squad, so we have to learn to close out games a little bit better.”

Grab a copy of the Observer or Villager newspaper today for more match and trophy celebration pictures.