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CCL D6; Buckingham Town CC III’s beaten at Bledlow but remain top of table

Report: Bob Hutt

Images: Sports Shots

Ryan Bell scored 91

Buckingham Town third eleven retained top spot in Division Six of the Cherwell League despite losing by one hundred and four runs to Bledlow Village second eleven, Westbury seconds won their game and are now just behind Town in the table.

Bledlow Village scored an impressive two hundred and ninety-eight runs for just the loss of four wickets with James Shirley (seventy-eight) and James Basu (seventy-six) top scorers. Pick of the Buckingham bowlers were Andy Humphries (one for twenty six from ten overs) and Ryan Spragg (two wickets for twenty nine) from eight overs.

Buckingham in reply crashed to seventy four for the loss of five wickets and never recovered as they were dismissed for one hundred and ninety-four gaining just five points. Ryan Bell was in fine form with the bat for Town scoring ninety-one but received little support, skipper Brijesh Valambhia chipped in with twenty-seven in a disappointing batting and bowling display from Buckingham.

Match scorecard: http://cherwellcricketleague.com/scorecard.php?Match_ID=7521
League table: http://cherwellcricketleague.com/leaguetable.php?Division_ID=6

Left to play:-

Saturday 24th August – Town III’s v Sandford St Martin II’s

Saturday 31st August – Westbury II’s v Town III’s

Saturday 7th September – Town III’s v Horley II’s

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

CCL D8; Buckingham Town CC IV’s clinch big win over Stokenchurch CC II’s

Report: Bob Hutt

Images: Sports Shots

Russel Thompson celebrates his wicket

Buckingham Town fourth XI retained second spot in Division Eight of the Cherwell League with a big one hundred and eight run win over Stokenchurch second eleven.

Returning from injury opener Adrian Johnson was in fine form with forty-six runs, his partner young Oscar Bones batted very well for seventy-three not out batting throughout the innings showing great maturity. Useful runs came from Ben Cater (twenty-two) and Luke Tory (twenty-three) as Town posted a good total of one hundred and ninety five for the loss of just four wickets.

In reply after openers Peter Langford (twenty-four) and Charlie Fardell (ten) had been dismissed Stokenchurch collapsed to just eighty seven all out. Buckingham’s young spinner Albert Johnson returned remarkable bowling figures taking five wickets for just seven runs from five point one overs.

Albert Johnson takes final wicket lbw

Matt Dipple took two for seventeen runs and there was a wicket apiece Ben Cater, Ernie McDade and Russell Thompson. A vital win for Town as third placed Oxford and Bletchingdon Nondescripts seconds who are third bowled their opponents Challow and Childrey thirds out for just twenty runs.

Match scorecard: http://cherwellcricketleague.com/scorecard.php?Match_ID=7703
League table: http://cherwellcricketleague.com/leaguetable.php?Division_ID=8

Left to play:-

Saturday 24th August – Abingdon Vale III’s v Town IV’s

Saturday 31st August – Town IV’s v Long Marston III’s

Saturday 7th September – Thame Town III’s v Town IV’s

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

Albert Johnson took 5 wickets for 7 runs

FCCL D2; Great Horwood CC hoping Army can help stop Printers ruining storyline

Great Horwood CC can go a very long way towards clinching an immediate return to the Four Counties Cricket League top tier on Saturday as they host Printers CC in this top versus second clash, the next two very contrasting weeks will define Horwood’s season as they face bottom of the league Harlington next week. If Stuart Parker’s men can win these next two matches they will go up as champions, which was always the aim after suffering relegation in their first season in a new league last year, however Printers have already beaten their hosts in the reverse tie earlier in the campaign, and are on a three game winning spree but Horwood are full of confidence themselves after winning their last seven games that they’ve completed, there is an outside chance that a win here could clinch promotion whereas defeat could really open up the top of the league once again.

Adam Armitage has taken vital wickets last two weeks

This week Sports Shots caught up with Horwood skipper Stuart Parker to ask how much of a relief last week’s win was in the end:

Last week was another hard fought victory in a game that could have gone either way again. We got off to a fast start after being asked to bat through Haydon, Glyn and myself and looked on for a big score, however lost regular wickets and that kept Aspley in the game. Sammy K held the innings together well but in the end the lower order of Chrissy (McStraw) and Robby made sure we posted a competitive score in getting up to one hundred & eighty-seven for nine.

Army took a key wicket with the help of another great catch from Sam Willett early in the reply, however they then had a couple of good partnerships that put them in control. The introduction of H changed the game and helped keep the run rate under control, despite not taking regular wickets the rate increased and as they struggled to keep up we were able to pick up wickets later on with Army returning to control the death overs for the second week running!

And the thoughts on this week’s game?

This week we play Printers who are second, a win would virtually seal promotion for us but they beat us away earlier in the year and will want to repeat that and try and replace us at the top of the table. Eight points guarantees we remain top!

This week’s squad news:

No surprises that Glyn was due a week off and misses the game, along with Billy which is also a blow for us!

Team:

Stuart Parker

Adam Armitage

Dale Armitage

Simon Gale

Sam Krajnyk

Chris McStraw

Haydon Morrison

Simon Ridgway

Rob Taylor

Jack Trundell

Sam Willett

Start: 1.30pm

CCL D6; Buckingham Town CC III’s travel to ‘Low hoping to stay high in confidence

Buckingham Town CC III’s go into their final four games of the season top of the Cherwell Cricket League Division Six table some forty-one points clear of third, however three of their remaining games are against those teams currently chasing them down all in the top four. This weekend they travel to fourth placed Bledlow Village who have won three & lost three of the last six games they’ve completed, but Town have had two weeks rest as their game last week was cancelled with Twyford II’s unable to fulfil their fixture, their second Saturday off in three with recent weather conditions not helping, Town will be hoping they can still gain promotion at the end of this crucial run of games.

Vishal Valambhia returns to the side this week

This week Sports Shots caught up with Town skipper Brij Valambhia to ask about last week’s cancellation:

We did not get a game in last week as Twyford could raise a side. It was a shame as it would have been good to get a game in but I welcomed the twenty-five points

Onto this week’s game, how does he view this game?

We have four games left and playing the fifty over stuff has always suited us as it removes the having to field first option. Bledlow Village two’s are a decent side and we need to be on top of our game, and the team is keen to play & we’ll be pushing hard to get the best result

Squad news:

A couple of changes to the team as Vish Valambhia returns and Joe Clark. We lose Michael Taylor unfortunately who has been a steady player at the top of the innings

Team:

Ryan Bell
Joe Clark
David Barnes
Vish Valambhia
Dom Pritchard
Brij Valambhia
Andy Humphries
Patrick Barry
Ryan Spragg
Joe Bleasdale
Olly Peacock

Start: 12.30pm

CCL D1; Buckingham Town CC II’s hoping format switch can Bear fruit at Cumnor

Buckingham Town CC II’s travel to Cumnor on Saturday and must avoid defeat if they are to escape the relegation trap door that they are standing on ahead of the game. With four games left this is the hardest on paper as they visit the team third in the Cherwell Cricket League Division One table, the reverse fixture at Bourton Road was washed out back in June and since that day Cumnor have won six of their seven games since, the other coincidentally was a winning draw! Town have to bounce back after last week’s defeat to Westbury, if the final two games of their season where they face the two teams above them at present are to define their season they need to keep those two sides, Shipton-under-Wychwood & Long Marston in sight, who both have as equally difficult fixtures this weekend.

 

Alex O’Dell

This week Sports Shots caught up with Town wicket keeper Alex O’Dell to ask how he felt last week’s game went:

It was a disappointing result for us last week, we had a strong enough side to compete and win the game but didn’t play well enough in crucial periods. Bowling first again we looked to take early wickets but only managed one before Westbury put on a big second wicket partnership. Waz and Pricey bowled excellently to get us back on top at one hundred and fifty for six, but as has happened a few times this season we let our opposition post a two hundred plus total after being on top in the middle overs.

With the bat we got a confident start from the top four and at ninety for two we looked in place to chase down the total, but wickets fell too regularly as we fell to under one hundred and fifty. We were in a strong position in both innings and we will look to focus on those positives going into this week’s game

How does he see this week’s game?

We are away at Cumnor this week and switch back to the limited overs format, that works well for us given the position we are in as wins are literally now a must to survive relegation. Cumnor are in third and still in with a chance of winning the league so both teams have a lot to play for which will make it a  competitive game. We will go with a positive mind-set, and a strong side looking to come away with all the points

Squad news for this week:

This week we have a few changes with Magsy, Geary, Pengelly and Gilder coming into the side

Team:

Alex O’Dell +

Matthew Thatcher

Tom Buggey

Steve Beck ©

Callum Price

Alex Gilder

Jason Ell

James Gear

Greg Liebenberg

Richard Pengelly

Wasim Fayyaz

Start: 12.30pm

SL; Banbury United v Royston Town match preview + Puritan keeper Jack Harding reveals all

Saturday 17th August 2019
Banbury United v Royston Town
Southern League Premier Division
Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium
OX16 5AB
K.O. 3.00pm

 

(Last season’s) League standings:

Southern League Premier Division Central (22 teams)

Banbury United 17th

Royston Town 10th

 

(This season’s) League standings after 2 games:

Southern League Premier Division Central (22 teams)

Banbury United 12th

Royston Town 1st

 

This game last season:

20th October 2018

Banbury United 0

Royston Town 1 (James Potton)

 

Last four games:

Banbury United:

D 1-1 home v Nuneaton Borough 13th August SL

D 0-0 away v Redditch United 10th August SL

L 3-4 v Oxford City (Oxfordshire Senior Cup Final at Oxford City FC) 30th April

L 1-2 home v Hitchin Town 27th April SL

 

Royston Town:

W 0-5 away v Biggleswade Town 13th August SL

W 3-0 home v Alvechurch 10th August SL

W 1-0 home v Barwell 27th April SL

W 0-2 away v Hitchin Town 22nd April SL

 

Jack Harding

Full Name: Jack Matthew Harding

Age: 27

Nationality: British

Marital status: Engaged

Preferred shirt number: 1

Most effective position on the pitch: Goalkeeper

Daytime job: Electrician

Former clubs: Ardley United

 

We asked Jack:

How was your summer, do you miss football when it finishes or is it nice to just get away from it and relax?

I had a really good summer, including an amazing trip to Santorini for a relaxing break. The first couple of weeks it is nice to have a break, but yes definitely miss it and look forward to pre-season starting again

Re-signed on for Banbury this summer, what influenced your choice?

It was an easy decision for me, my home town, the team, the management, the board and the amazing supporters we have here. The manager wants us to play in a certain way which is very exciting for me to be a part of

How do you feel pre-season & the early league games have gone for you personally so far?

I missed the first part of pre-season as I was on holiday but since I’ve been back I feel like I’ve got straight back in to it and have loved being back with the team. Lots of hard work in training and I have really enjoyed it

What are the expectations and/or targets for the season for you yourself, and the squad as a whole?

I think I speak for myself and the whole squad, we believe we can make the playoffs

Who has been your biggest influence in football?

My older brother Michael. We walked to primary school together playing football, walked to secondary school together playing football, all we did was play football. We had a five aside pitch less than a minute walk from where we lived growing up, that’s where my love for the game started

How much belief is there in the squad that you can have a successful season, and which players will be key for you to achieve this?

We have a lot of belief in each other and what we are capable of achieving as a team. We’ve had a few new additions this season that have slotted straight in to the group, great characters and even better players

Home to Royston this week, do you know anything about them?

They’re usually quite physical and direct. They’ve had a great start to the season so will be coming to us full of confidence so it will be a tough game but one we know we can win

Who is the biggest moaner in the dressing room?

I would say I could be up there? Especially when there’s running involved or my team loses in training

What is your typical pre-match routine before you get to the ground?

I’m a bit superstitious about being superstitious. If we are on a good run I try and do the same things before games, things like drinks and the amount of times I touch the cross bar before kick-off. So I don’t have a set routine

In your current squad, who is the most under rated player in your opinion?

Jack Westbrook (Westy) I rate very highly, just think there a lot of things he does on the pitch that people don’t notice

Who has the worst dress sense at the club?

Mark (Timbrell) the physio

When you leave the football pitch on a Saturday, what is the first result you look for elsewhere?

Leeds United followed by the other teams in our league

Who is the last person you would let choose the music in the dressing room (or car) on match day, and why?

Liam Shea our goalkeeping coach. Simply because I don’t want to hear him rap alongside John Barnes ever again!

What’s the one game this season you most want to win and why?

Would be nice to have a good run in the FA Cup this year

Finally, after you’ve saved three penalties on Saturday, what can supporters buy you in the bar afterwards?

A San Miguel and a pack of pork scratchings

Sports Shots would like to thank Jack for his time this week

SL D1C; Aylesbury United v Corby Town preview + manager Ben Williams’ thoughts on pre-season

Saturday 17th August 2019
Aylesbury United v Corby Town
Southern League Division One Central
The Meadow
HP5 1NE
K.O. 3.00pm

The Meadow

(Last season’s) League standings:

Southern League Division One Central (20 teams)

Aylesbury United 15th

Corby Town 3rd

 

This game last season:

6th April 2019

Aylesbury United 1 (Harry Jones)

Corby Town 2 (Elliot Sandy, Steve Diggin)

 

Last four games:

Aylesbury United:

D 2-2 home v Barton Rovers 27th April SL

L 3-1 away v Aylesbury FC 22nd April SL

L 0-3 home v Bromsgrove Sporting 20th April SL

L 3-1 away v Peterborough Sports 13th April SL

Corby Town:

L 4-3 away v Bromsgrove Sporting 6th May SL Play-Off Final

W 5-3 home v Bedford Town 1st May SL Play-Off Semi-Final

W 1-2 away v Kidlington 27th April SL

W 3-2 home v Yaxley 22nd April SL

 

Ben Williams

Ahead of the season opener Sports Shots caught up with the Ducks manager Ben Williams to ask if he managed much time away from the game over the summer:

We did a lot of recruitment early on, so I had a good break from it over the summer, plenty of golf and a very nice family holiday. You never fully switch off from it but I gave it a good go

When did United commence pre-season training and how were the first couple of sessions in terms of numbers & commitment?

We started back at the beginning of July and have had a steady sixteen to twenty-two at each session so commitment has been great, obviously in terms of matches it’s hard to ever put out your strongest team due to holidays etc but it’s nothing we don’t know and can’t deal with

How has it been signing on players, and have they lost many that have depleted plans?

We have lost four or five from the end of season team due to either stepping up a standard or being offered more “expenses” elsewhere, it’s something that always happens, and we wish them well at their new clubs. We planned a little freshen up of the squad and I’m really happy with our new signings, I feel they will bring real competition for places to the team

How have pre-season games been in terms of results & performances?

Our pre-season has been quite disappointing in terms of results, but we have played really well in patches but just conceded soft goals, something we are looking to improve on ASAP

Do United still have players yet to sign on, or are they squad ready?

We are always looking for new players & would ideally like to add another striker to the squad, but we’ll have to look at the resources to see what or if we can. Other than that, I think we are ready to go but things can change quite quickly depending on results

First game of the season this Saturday, has Ben got much info on the opponents?

We are looking forward to hosting Corby on Saturday, they are obviously a big club with aspirations to get promoted, after just missing out last season in the play-off final. We will give it our all, when we have eleven players all on top of their game then we are a match for anyone in our league, we just strive like all for more consistency

At this early stage, what are the targets for the first few games?

In the first month we are looking to get some points on the table as quick as possible and also get through the FA Cup game, we are under no illusions though and each game will be a battle, it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to and I hope the players are also

Finally, are there any games this season they are in particular looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to visiting some of the new grounds and then obviously the local derbies v Berko and Thame

Sports Shots would like to thank Ben for his time this week

SL; Bedford Town v Thame United match preview + 1st team coach Ben Johnson’s thoughts on pre-season

Saturday 17th August 2019
Bedford Town v Thame United
Southern League Division One Central
New Eyrie
MK44 3LW
K.O. 3.00pm

 

(Last season’s) League standings:

Southern League Division One Central

Thame United 8th

Bedford Town 4th

 

This game last season:

30th March 2019

Bedford Town 3 (Dan Walker x 2, Leon Lobjoit)

Thame United 1 (Matt Peake-Pijnen)

 

Last four games:

Thame United:

D 1-1 away v Cambridge City 27th April SL

D 0-0 home v Kidlington 22nd April SL

L 2-1 away v Yaxley 20th April SL

W 2-1 home v Berkhamsted 13th April SL

 

Bedford Town:

L 5-3 away v Corby Town 1st May SL P/O Semi-Final

W 2-3 away v Coleshill Town 27th April SL

W 4-1 home v AFC Dunstable 22nd April SL

W 0-3 away v Welwyn Garden City 20th April SL

 

Ahead of the season opener Sports Shots caught up with Thame United first team coach Ben Johnson to ask how much time he managed away from the game during the summer to relax and forget football:

You can never forget the game, ha-ha! I was very privileged to get away to Ibiza for two weeks with the family to try and chill out, but I find it very hard to switch off as the phone still never stops

When did pre-season training begin, and how were the first couple of sessions in terms of numbers and commitment?

We as a management team got together just after last season finished and managed to take some time to reflect. For us as a club last season was a massive achievement but we felt, like always, there were areas we needed to improve on and one of them was to get fitter as a squad. So we decided to start a week or so earlier than normal, on Tuesday twenty-fifth of June. In the early sessions we were very impressed with numbers, especially new faces, and the commitment during some very hard running sessions was excellent, and we have continued to keep high standards throughout

How has it been signing on players, and have they lost many that have depleted your plans?

We had a list of targets that we wanted to approach in the pre-season, and we have been very lucky to obtain most of our targets. But like every year unfortunately have missed out on some

How have pre-season games been in terms of results & performances?

We always try to have a good mix of fixtures & I thought we stood up very well to the higher league opposition, playing so well against Oxford United in front of eight hundred & fifty fans at the ASM was a highlight for me. But on the other hand when lads needed to be professional against lower league opposition they performed very well and scored some great, well worked goals

Thame United FC 2019/20

Do United still have players yet to sign on, or are they squad ready?

We are all signed on and the squad is ready to rock & roll. However the phone is always on so never say never

First game of the season this Saturday, have you got much info do they have on the opponents?

We travel to Bedford for our first fixture, we have seen them add plenty of new lads to their ranks and are always a very strong team. You will definitely see them up the top come the end of the season, but we are always well prepared on all of our opposition

At this early stage, what are the targets for the first few games?

We will be looking for maximum points, with strong, well organised, hard-working performances

Finally, we asked Ben if there are there any games this season they are in particular looking forward to:

It’s always nice to come up against new opposition, but we always enjoy playing against the local teams and getting a few numbers through the gate at the ASM

Sports Shots would like to thank Ben for his time this week

SSMFL D2; Bovingdon v Mursley United preview + manager Jamie Lands thoughts on pre-season

Saturday 17th August 2019
Bovingdon v Mursley United
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
Green Lane
HP3 0LE
K.O. 3.00pm

 

(Last season’s) League standings:

Spartan South Midlands Division Two (15 teams)

Mursley United 6th

Bovingdon 1st

 

This game last season:

11th August 2018

Bovingdon 3 (Cain Davey x 2, Joe Slade)

Mursley United 2 (Tom Brazier, Dan Simpson)

 

Last four games:

Mursley United:

D 5-5 home v Aston Clinton 20th April SSMFL

D 2-2 home v Berkhamsted Raiders 13th April SSMFL

W 4-2 home v Grendon Rangers 6th April SSMFL

W 0-4 away v New Bradwell St Peter 30th March SSMFL

 

Bovingdon:

L 1-3 home v Old Bradwell United 10th August SSMFL

W 13-0 home v Clean Slate 27th April SSMFL

L 1-0 away v Old Bradwell United 20th April SSMFL

W 0-4 away v Unite MK 13th April SSMFL

 

 

Jamie Lands

Ahead of the season opener Sports Shots caught up with Mursley manager Jamie Lands to ask if since last season finished if he’d had much time to himself to relax & forget the game?

It felt like we finished the season pretty early to be honest so i managed to get some time away with the family and didn’t really think about football until June. It was nice to get the break, but pre-season is a busy time for managers as you’re talking to new and old players, speaking with the club, planning pre-season etc. I was also looking for a few to support me in the management team too, so for me i got just over a month off but i was back in football mode again by June

When did pre-season training begin, and how were the first couple of sessions in terms of numbers and commitment?

We started our pre-season the last week of June due to the prediction the season would start on the tenth of August. The first few sessions were good, we had positive numbers in the sessions, the biggest thing for us was getting the commitment to complete two nights a week from some due to work, location and availability. That being said, training has been ok with some good prep on and off the field leading into the season

How has it been signing on players, and have they lost many that have depleted any plans?

Signing on has been good, most of last year’s squad have stayed which is brilliant, especially with clubs from higher leagues looking at a number of our players, It’s a great foundation to have and meant we can continue our ethics of last season and bring them into this one. We have also been able to add a number of players to strengthen the squad, our main concern was our keeper, I wish Dan (Willett) the best of luck at Newport Pagnell, however Nick Bevans has come in and done well in some of the pre-season games and now we have also managed to sign James Green with one more to be completed to add competition

How have pre-season games been in terms of results & performances?

Our performances and results have been good, Winslow aside. We have had a number of good results pre-season but more importantly for me, my players are playing how i want them too which i believe should help them win more games and play with a bit more freedom. Another plus is lots of the squad have had plenty of minutes to improve their match fitness ready for this week

Are there players yet to sign on, or are United squad ready?

The squad is settled now although we do have a few sneaky late deals to get wrapped up this week to really bolster the quality within the squad before the season starts

First game of the season this Saturday, have they got much info on their opponents?

Nope, I understand that a new manager has taken over and they lost to Old Bradwell last weekend, but that’s it really.  I am expecting a tough game from Bovingdon as they are playing at home and will be up for getting their first points of the season after their loss

At this early stage, what are the targets for the first few games?

Ultimately to win them all, we have a tough start though! We play Bovingdon, Park View (cup), Totternhoe, Berkhamsted and Sarratt in our first five games, call me optimistic but i would like to get four wins from these games

Finally, are there any games this season Jamie is looking forward to?

The first one, all the hard work in pre-season starts in the first game and it matters more when there are points up for grabs! I was away last season when we went to Bovingdon so it will be a new ground for me to visit also. Given our location it’s always good to play local games against teams you know, I know a lot of the managers and players of New Bradwell and Unite MK which should also make them interesting games.

I would also like to thank everyone at Mursley for their ongoing support, especially the chairman and development team management. Also, a big thank you to Sports Shots for the coverage, you guys do some fantastic work for local grass roots football!

Sports Shots would like to thank Jamie for his time this week

BSCC; Buckingham Ath Dev v Ardley United match preview + Ath manager Jake Honor talks pre-season

Friday 16th August 2019
Buckingham Athletic Development v Ardley United
Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup
Stratford Fields
MK18 1NY
K.O. 7.45pm

 

(Last season’s) League standings:

Spartan South Midlands Development League (9 teams)

Buckingham Athletic 1st

Hellenic League Premier Division (19 teams)

Ardley United 17th

 

This game last season:

n/a

 

Last four games:

Buckingham Athletic Development:

W 2-0 home v Holmer Green Development 4th May SSMFL

W 3-1 home v Kempston Rovers Development 27th April SSMFL

W 1-3 away v Leighton Town Development 24th April SSMFL

W 1-0 home v Biggleswade United Development 20th April SSMFL

Ardley United:

W 3-1 home v Leverstock Green 13th August FA Cup

D 1-1 away v Leverstock Green 10th August FA Cup

D 1-1 home v Brackley Town Saints 6th August HL

W 2-1 home v Bishops Cleeve 3rd August HL

 

Jake Honor

Following the demise of the Spartan South Midlands Football League Development league at the end of last season, Buckingham Athletic Development have joined the Hellenic League in Division Two North, and ahead of their season opener Sports Shots caught up with Athletic manager Jake Honor to ask if he got much time in the summer away from the game?

I know the time between seasons is supposed to be time to rest however I can’t seem to do that; the moment the season ends I miss it and can’t wait for preseason to begin. However, those couple of weeks are valuable as it gives me a chance to discuss the squad and which players I’d like to bring to the club and what both Griff (Neil Griffiths – Ath 1st team manager) and Paul (Bevis – Ath U18 manager) have planned for the season

When did pre-season training begin, and how were the first couple of sessions in terms of numbers and commitment?

We started pre-season in the last week of June and numbers have been relatively good throughout. Pre-season is a challenging time due to different commitments and holidays, so I’ll be looking forward to the season starting and the summer holidays coming to an end

How has it been signing on players, and have they lost many that have depleted any plans?

There have been some changes in the squad this summer as some players have moved on to different clubs or left for personal reasons. However, it is the signings this year that i have been very pleased with, I have been able to bring in Tom Marshall, Sol Janecki and George Ford back to the club and I’m also very pleased to welcome Ashley Thompson, Conor Roberts, Mason Luya and James Hackett to the Ath for the first time. Scott Latham has also signed for us this season however he picked up an injury in our final friendly and is now out for a couple of months, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him back in the shirt

How have pre-season games been in terms of results & performances?

We have had seven games this pre-season, winning four, drawing once and losing twice, we started slowly but started to pick up after the third game and we have been very good ever since. We didn’t score in the first three games, however as soon as the first goal went in, they’ve been flowing ever since, and we have scored thirty-two goals in the final four games. There is however always room for improvement and that’s what these friendlies are for, making sure anything that needs fixing is done before the season begins

Are there players yet to sign on, or are they squad ready?

In terms of the development squad everybody is signed on and ready for the season ahead. Over the next couple of weeks, I do plan on signing on players from the under eighteen side so that during the season some of those boys can experience and take the step up into adult football

First game of the season this Friday, has Jake got much info on Ardley?

I don’t think we could’ve started the season in a more challenging way, we have been drawn against Ardley from the Premier division, so we know exactly the size of the challenge that awaits us on Friday night. However, we have absolutely nothing to lose from this game and I do quite enjoy the underdog status, it’s what cup football is all about

At this early stage, what are the targets for the first few games?

In terms of cup football, I have no expectations. I want the lads to enjoy themselves against opponents like Ardley and then Milton United in a few weeks’ time who are both in higher divisions, however the league is our priority and what we need to focus on this season. Being new to the league we need to make sure our expectations are realistic but from recent results and what I have been told about teams in this league, we seem to have a pretty tough first few weeks. I feel by the end of September I will have a much better idea on where we should be and what we will be aiming for come the end of the season

Finally, are there any games they are looking forward to?

I’m hopefully going to enjoy every game this season but in particular these cup matches. It’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against very strong opponents and as I said earlier, to go through as underdogs would be a great feeling!

Sports Shots would like to thank Jake for his time this week