The landscape of Fylde coast youth football has changed this season, with the Blackpool and District Youth League now concentrating on Under-13, Under-16s and Under-18s, while other age groups come under the umbrella of the Poulton and District Primary League.
As the Gold Bond BDYL got under way, BJFF Blades Under-13s started in great form with a 17-3 win over Kirkham Blues, Spencer Phillips leading the way with five goals.
Other scorers were Harrison Giggal (4), Tom Whiteside (3), Ryan Harwood (2), with Donny Barratt and James Wilde also scoring.
Giving the Blues something to cheer were scorers Lewis Weaver, Daniel Fryer and an own goal.
Squires Gate beat Poulton 5-2 thanks to goals from Iman Hussain (2), Jack Walker, Matthew Kelsey and Angelo Karadzhinov. Ben Maunds and Tim Woodman replied for Poulton.
Dylan Henshall scored a hat-trick in Foxhall’s 5-2 win at Thornton Cleveleys Reds, where Aiden Wright and Kaiden Shorrocks also scored.
The Reds’ consolations came from Fraser Hallas and Nathan Beckett.
In the Silver League, BJFF Vipers also started well with a 5-1 win at Lytham Maroons thanks to goals from Jake Wilson (2), Robbie Livesey, Harvey Hampton and Ryan Potter. Kallum Illingworth responded for Lytham.
Connor Satchell scored a hat-trick as Foxhall Hoops beat Thornton Cleveleys Whites 4-2. Liam Ruddy was also on target, while Max Swarbrick and George Wincott replied.
Kirkham Reds drew 3-3 with Lytham Blues, with two goals for Renshaw (Reds) and Finlay Hurley. Other scorers were Lothian and Rhys Hughes (Blues).
Charlie Strachan, Karl Pacheco and Corey Foster scored as Layton beat FC Rangers 3-0.
In the Under-16 league, a Jack Smith hat-trick was the highlight as Layton beat Spirit of Youth 4-2. Callum Brown also netted, as Robert Flanagan and Kyle Townsend scored for Spirit.
Two Will Carter goals could not spare Warton Typhoons a 3-2 defeat to Foxhall.
In the Under-18 league, Foxhall beat Warton Typhoons 5-2. Warton were 2-0 down inside 10 minutes before Jack Youles pulled one back with a volley from six yards out.
Foxhall restored their two-goal cushion before Ross Minshull won a penalty which Ryan Holgate smashed into the roof of the net.
Warton pushed up for an equaliser only for Foxhall to score a fourth with eight minutes left, adding another in the last minute.
Harry Dale hit a hat-trick for Foxhall, whose other scorers were Connor Smith and Charlie Allan.
Goals from Jakob Hurst and Will Brown gave Fleetwood Town Rangers a 2-1 win against St Annes, for whom Luke Holland replied.
Finally, Fleetwood Town edged out Staining by the same score courtesy of Callum Cruickshank and Ollie Tomlinson, Joel Heaton replying.
The opening weekend of the expanded Poulton and District Primary League season was definitely a case of a game of two halves.
Saturday’s nine-a-side fixtures were greeted by torrential rain and winds, while those playing in the 11-a-side games on Sunday were basking in the warm, late summer sun.
Rain, hail or shine, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the 200 teams who started their league campaign.
Sunday saw the first 11-a-side fixtures in the PDPL as the league looks to provide football for those aged 7-17. And wth record numbers of entries across all age groups, it’s great to see the Fylde coast bucking the trend of a national decline in the number of junior football teams.
The weekend also saw the debut of the Nike brand Charter Standard-quality match ball as part of an initiative to standardise the balls used in youth games and ensure player safety.
Opinion was divided on the new balls – depending on whether you ask the winning or losing team. Strikers loved them but keepers hated having to pick them out of the net.
The 200 teams who played will be joined this weekend by 110 five-a-side teams and 120 seven-a-side teams.
Why not wander down to one of the local pitches this Saturday or Sunday and see some top-quality fun and football from the PDPL?