Bloaters on road to success
THE 2008-09 Ridgeons League season for Great Yarmouth Town looks set to begin and end on the road.The Bloaters start with four away games, including an FA Cup trip to Hadleigh United next week, with the Wellesley pitch being unavailable to them for all but the final Saturday in August, writes Gerry Brown.
THE 2008-09 Ridgeons League season for Great Yarmouth Town looks set to begin and end on the road.
The Bloaters start with four away games, including an FA Cup trip to Hadleigh United next week, with the Wellesley pitch being unavailable to them for all but the final Saturday in August, writes Gerry Brown.
If their lofty ambitions are to be realised though, Town will need to travel better than they did last season when only four wins and four draws were recorded in all away games. So their start could give an indication of the way the season may go.
However, although all clubs start with high aims and enthusiasm, with new club structures in place and tremendous enthusiasm around the Wellesley following the appointment of chairman Stephen Brierley last November, Yarmouth begins its 100th active season with an expectancy that is almost tangible.
The management duo of Kevin Cruickshank and Paul Tong has been very pleased with the way the pre-season has gone even though only one match has been won.
“Pre-season is about the management team assessing all the players' ability, fitness and attitude, both individually and collectively, during training sessions and through playing friendlies,” commented Cruick-shank: “It is not about results, although it is always good to win games.”
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The friendlies have seen a nucleus of players retained while giving opportunities to as many players as possible.
“The first team door is never shut,” continued Cruickshank. “Those players not selected for the first game, although disappointed, should show the right determination and earn their right to play first team football by performing well at training and playing well for the Reserves.”
Tong said he was excited about the season ahead: “We've had some tough friendlies but that's what you want, something to test you.
“We do have a young side but we've also signed some more experienced players, like Alan Darby and Ady Ager, as we try to build the club up.
“Stewart Roach, though still only 29, is the oldest player on the books and has been a real leader in training, I can't praise him enough.
“The youth set-up is second to none and that reflects great credit on Ian Griffin and Mark Scales. They have a tremendous squad of boys there, and that's something which puts a real spring in your step.
“Everyone has their own particular aims and goals but we just want to win as many matches as possible.”
The Bloaters start their programme tomorrow at Cornard United, one of the back-markers in Division One all last term but still in the care of wily manager/secretary Chris Symes after several seasons.
Yarmouth's opening squad selection has only Stewart Roach over 25 and with an average age of 21 - 13 of the 20 players named are either current or former youth team members, including several who make welcome returns to the Wellesley - principally, Alan Darby, Darren Lamb and Scott Woodcock.
Two of the up-and-coming youngsters, Adam Sewell and Dominic Smith, are the first to have signed contracts this season, and new men include Adrian Ager, Michael Hilton and Olly Savage.