Last season, when Mousehole AFC officially re-named their Reserve side a ‘Development Team’, the purpose was to reinforce the aim of introducing local youngsters to ‘men’s football’ alongside more experienced players, and creating a pathway for them into the First team.

And there’s emerging evidence that this strategy is paying off.

The Development Team play in the St Piran’s League – effectively a ‘Step 7’ league two divisions below the Western League level of the First team.  Several young players have blossomed from this approach, earning the opportunity to train regularly with the First team and stake a claim for inclusion in their match-day squad.

On results, the blend of older and younger players has seen the Development Team more than hold their own in the league.  They currently occupy a mid-table position and, with games in hand on teams above them, have a great chance of finishing in the top six.

This season has seen some notable successes for the Development Team:

  • 18-year old midfielder Charlie Willis has already made 14 First team appearances
  • Winger Jack Symons made his First team debut aged 16
  • Nine players were selected for First team action In the away League Cup match at Helston Athletic last month, holding the hosts’ full Western League team to a draw
  • 17-year old goalkeeper Piran Jones has been called up by the FA’s English Schools squad
  • In February, Dylan Walter (Mousehole born-and-bred grandson of lifeboatman Edwin Madron) stepped up from the youth section to make his debut for the Development team at the age of 16 years, 3 days,  and has been in the squad ever since
  • More recently another 16-year old Steffan van Blerk did likewise, and also made a scoring debut for Cornwall FA Under-16s

Meanwhile, seasoned ‘older heads’ such as Gerens James, Callum George, Tyler Tonkin and Silas Sullivan are enjoying their football, with their added responsibilities to support the youngsters.

So, development is the name of the game, and there are many good reasons to look to the future positively.

16-year olds Dylan Walter (left) and Steffan van Blerk

Keeper Piran Jones in action

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