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The samba beat will be coming to the Premier League next season after Keynsham Town stormed to the South West Combination Championship.
The season has been an extraordinary one for the Somerset side, based between Bristol and Bath, as they secured the title with an unbeaten record while scoring more and conceding fewer than any other side as well as picking up the Somerset County Cup and a place in the League Cup Final, which will now be played in August. Top scorer Sheila Rocha also broke the all-time League scoring record with 38 goals in 22 league games, and 59 in all competitions.
This makes three promotions in five years and all the more creditable with continuing injuries at the club, including influential midfielder Sarah Stainer who played only four times before being sidelined for the season. Much of the benefits have resulted from careful planning by manager Barrie Newton and excellent coaching from player coaches Luciana Silva and Ana Bruni. "The year saw us get more professional again," he said, "and our player coaches were a big part of that."
The Keynsham squad is a cosmopolitan one with internationals from a number of countries including Sheila Rocha, Luciana Silva, Hari Sabic and Tanya Andjelkovic but there was success throughout the club with the reserves winning Division One South of the South West League, providing the top scorer in Kayleigh Sage, illustrating the strength in depth building up with the club's talented young players, many of whom made their Combination debuts at the latter part of the season.
With a bigger squad needed for the challenge next season, management will be carefully recruiting but hope to continue to benefit from a broadly settled side for another season. The picture is positive at junior level too, with each of the club's four teams finishing in the top three of their respective leagues.
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