ILMINSTER Town have earned promotion to the Somerset County Premier Division, after rivals Street Reserves lost at home to Somerton.

The Blues thumped Congresbury 11-0 at the Archie Gooch Pavilion 10 days ago to sit second in the Division 1 West table on 47 points, and only Street – with two games in hand – could deny them a promotion spot.

But Somerton ended their hopes, confirming the Blues’ promotion – having been relegated from the Premier Division in 2015 – and moving themselves into third.

Ilminster manager Jason Manley said: “I am really pleased to have secured promotion in what has turned out to be a tough league.

“To finish second in front of Somerton, Winscombe, Street and Minehead is a massive achievement.

“My cousin and predecessor Darren [Manley] had already assembled the backbone of a good side.

“I added three experienced players in Matty and Darren Brown, and Joe Simmons, plus two young players in Joshua Parsons and Sam Rowswell.

“That freshened it up; apart from a few blips we kept close as a squad.

“The club has supported me throughout and made it easy for me – Andy Dyke, Jon Delahaye, George Hamill, Paul Higgins and Andy Fish have been right by my side.”

He added: “Next year, we will strengthen and I believe with the players I will add to the squad we can look at finishing in the top four.

“I would like to think the club are interested in entering the Western League, but I haven’t sat down and discussed it with the committee.”

With exciting, attacking teams on the pitch (Ilminster’s Reserves also won promotion, from Devon & Exeter Division 7) and a new facility at the Archie Gooch Pavilion, things are looking up for the club.

Over the summer, railings will be added around the ground, alongside a pitch maintenance programme to improve the playing surface.

Ilminster’s final game of the season is this Saturday (ko 3pm), away to fourth-placed Winscombe, who need a win to overhaul Somerton for the last promotion spot.