Knaphill retained the Dave Taylor Memorial Shield by slamming Sheerwater 6-1 at the Eastwood Centre last Saturday (January 13, 2024) in Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division South.

The shield honours the memory of Dave Taylor, father of Danny, Timmy and Luke Taylor who have all played for both clubs.

Knaphill claimed the shield in August by beating the Sheers 2-0 at Redding Way.

And they held onto it in style, crushing their bottom-placed neighbours to consolidate second place in the table.

Chris Drane, the Knappers’ chairman, said: “It was a great result and overall team performance today.

“Well done to the boys, the management and coaches – some truly great football was played today, and we retain the Taylor Cup.

“Best of luck to Sheerwater. They battled hard but we took the three points.”

And winners’ assistant manager Lee Trussler said: “It was great to get back to winning ways this afternoon after the disappointment of losing to Spelthorne Sports [on January 6].

“League position and form are irrelevant in a local derby as it means much more than any other game.

“This was probably the most pleasing performance of the season so far – not just the result but the players implemented everything we asked of them pre-game. 

“We controlled the game from minute one which was really satisfying, and even when in front we kept pushing forward and creating chances. 

“Attacking players will get the plaudits today for the scoreline but yet again our defence was solid and didn’t allow the Sheers any opportunities on the break. 

“The only disappointment was to not keep a clean sheet – and that’s something to improve on. We need to make sure we don’t switch off.

“As a group we’re still, and will always be, learning but we take each game as it comes with the sole aim of three points each week, regardless of who we’re playing.”

The shield was presented to Knaphill by Mick Elliott, who sponsored both it and the match.

The game was designated Maz Bristow Memorial Day, in honour of Sheerwater’s long-standing volunteer and supporter Maz Bristow who died in 2022.

The man-of-the-match awards were donated by her widower Tony Bristow and presented by him to Knaphill’s Zac Hawker.

Sheerwater spokesman Mike Clement said: “The att-endance was 141 and a big thank you to everyone who donated to the Woking & Sam Beare Hospice & Wellbeing Care collection and who also donated to the cake sale.   

“Knaphill made light work of us, but for the first ten minutes you might’ve thought it was us who were in second place.”

In the opening stages, the Sheers built nicely from the back and cut through Knaphil, allowing the lively Danny Taylor to outpace the sluggish back line and deliver two excellent crosses. 

His first ball into the box was met by Sean McDonnell at the far post – but his effort went wide. 

From Taylor’s next cross, Frazier-Isais Osunkoya got his head onto the ball but Knappers’ keeper Jos Barker claimed an easy catch on his line.

The visitors settled and  pushed up high, stopping home gloveman Joe Hill rolling the ball out and forcing him to go long.

Knaphill began to win more possession, allowing Hawker and Jamie Pike to dictate the tempo. 

With Sheerwater under mounting pressure, Knaphill were wasteful in front of goal on numerous occasions before they finally took the lead after 23 minutes. 

From a corner, three efforts on goal were blocked – but the fourth fell to Hawker and he lashed an effort high into the net after good work by Adam Aziz. 

Osunkoya and the Knappers’ Aaron Burchett were having a great battle down Sheerwater’s right-hand side.

Twice Osunkoya cut onto his left foot and swung in a cross – but both sailed over everyone’s head and out for a goal-kick.  

But the visitors continued to press Sheerwater during the first half, looking to add to the opener, with efforts from Aziz, Pike and the lively Jose Sani all going close.

Right on half-time, Knaphill doubled their lead.

Aziz was given too much time and space, enabling him to pick his spot and find the bottom corner of the net from 18 yards.

Zac Jervis and George Sellick were introduced by Sheerwater for the second half and they both started brightly.

But the Knappers had the bit bewteen their teeth and killed the tie as a contest on 50 minutes, when they moved into a 3-0 lead.

Sani went on a mazy run, shrugging off three challenges, and teed up Nick Thumwood for an easy finish. 

“It was a poor goal to concede,” said Clement. 

Both sides felt the strike knocked the stuffing out of the Sheers and it was now a case of how many more times Knaphill would score.

Despite the scoreline and the Knappers creating chances, Sheerwater regrouped and kept making things difficult for the high-fliers, breaking out a few times and creating several openings.

Knaphill struck their fourth goal in the 57th minute, an Aziz corner into a crowded six-yard box being stabbed home from close range by Sani.

Clement said: “It was now looking like Knaphill could score every time they attacked but Hill made a couple of comfortable saves and one outstanding stop, when he dived to his left to palm the ball away.”

The Knappers completed their nap hand after 63 minutes when they were awarded a penalty.

Will Jacob, who had come on for Thumbwood, was pulled down in the box by Charlie Melville during a surging run and referee Brendan Walsh pointed to the spot.

Jacob took the penalty and drilled it down the middle to make it 5-0. 

Clement described the penalty as “dubious”.

The goal of the game came on 73 minutes. 

Knaphill were awarded a free-kick on the edge of their own box. Taken quickly, it caught Sheerwater off guard.

A flowing move developed on the right and the ball was fed to Sani who made an excellent run that left him with just Hill to beat. This he did with ease, slotting in to make it 6-0 to the guests.

The Sheers grabbed a consolation goal in the 89th minute.

Persistence from debutant Sellick enabled him to knock the ball past Barker and Jim Ward and finish into an empty net, this following a defensive mix-up by the Knappers.