Category Archives: Local sport

Lakeside Speedway – MATCH REPORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE boss Will Pottinger hailed top duo Nick Morris and Richard Lawson as they helped the Hammers secure a 51-39 home win over Sheffield.

The pairing went unbeaten at The Arena-Essex Raceway as Lakeside maintained their 100 per cent home record courtesy of a battling performance against the reigning Champions.

Hammers won 12 of the 15 races, but had to dig deep at key moments to send the Tigers back to Sheffield without anything to show for their efforts.

Only six in front with three races remaining, Lawson and Morris teamed up for two 5-1 maximums in Heats 13 and 15 to see Lakeside home.

“That’s why they’re so invaluable at this level,” Pottinger said.

“Nine times out of ten, you can rely on them when it matters most and they did what we needed them to do tonight.

“They stepped up when one or two of the boys had a below par night and it was another good victory for the team overall and sending Sheffield home with no league points could prove crucial in a couple of months time.”

Lawson romped to a full 15-point maximum with Morris tucking in behind his team-mate in Heats 13 and 15.

Ben Morley and Kyle Newman both took two race wins as they chipped in with vital contributions.

Adam Ellis endured a rare off night, while Zach Wajtknecht rounded his meeting off with a paid win in Heat Ten.

Reserve Alfie Bowtell failed to score from three rides, which certainly doesn’t reflect his gating on what turned out to be another tough fixture for the 21-year-old.

Hammers compete in the Championship Pairs at Somerset next Friday (July 20) before travelling to Sheffield on Thursday, July 26.

LAKESIDE 51: Richard Lawson 15, Nick Morris 13+2, Ben Morley 9, Kyle Newman 7+1, Adam Ellis 4, Zach Wajtknecht 3+1, Alfie Bowtell 0.
SHEFFIELD 39: Broc Nicol 11+1, Kyle Howarth 10+1, James Shanes 7+2, Todd Kurtz 6+2, Georgie Wood 4, Charles Wright 1+1, Lasse Bjerre R/R.


Essex Youth Forum Guides Essex into 2018/19

Chris Evans reports…

ESSEX YOUTH FORUM GUIDES ESSEX INTO 2018/19

Youngsters Help to Shape Grassroots Football’s Future

Essex County FA Youth Forum Chairman, Ciaran Whatley is aiming to find the next generation of club secretaries, managers, development officers and referees as he leads the group into another productive season in 2018/19.

As part of the Forum, young people aged between 16 and 24 have the opportunity to help shape and develop football, supporting and empowering a diverse workforce and influencing change. Currently a group of six individuals are supporting the County FA in delivering a strategy, aiming to give a voice to youngsters and make a positive impact.

Ciaran is proud to head the Youth Forum, and has pointed out that the knowledge within the group is valuable: “In my eyes, my main task as Chairman would be to give each Youth Forum member the best opportunities to develop and find their own successes, in a way which helps improve their clubs and the communities around them.”

“When we’ve all met up over the course of the season, and before for those who are in their second year on the Youth Forum, I can tell that there is a lot of energy and a wide skill base amongst the group. When combined, those two mean we have a good platform for success.”

Ciaran started volunteering in 2011/12 with Hawkwell Athletic FC’s Soccer School, which soon developed into refereeing when he turned 14. He performs various volunteering tasks, including referee mentoring plus helping in their home ground’s kitchen. Currently a lot of his time is going towards setting-up a girls academy and organising a fun day to help launch this.

Across the season, the Youth Forum will be working alongside the County FA to deliver the annual Grassroots Football Festivals, Futsal Finals and various events, and Ciaran agrees that there are particular areas and specialisms where the team’s skills could be strengthened.

“I think having new faces would give us the perfect opportunity to build upon what’s come before,” he explained, “with new ideas and voices providing a fresh take on how we can develop both ourselves as a Youth Forum and football in Essex as a whole.”

Rhys Elmer, from the Essex County FA Development Team, added: “I believe it’s extremely important that we listen to the views of children and young people to shape the way grassroots football looks. Young people currently volunteering in football are our future generations of club and league committee members, coaches, welfare officers and first aiders.”

Could You Join the Forum?

The ultimate aim is to recruit a team of twelve, to cover as many areas of football as possible. Existing ‘Football Futures’ members are welcome to join if they are:

o   able to attend, and actively participate in, all monthly Youth Forum meetings

o   committed to Youth Forum aims to provide a voice for children and young people

o   capable of delivering and attending various football events related to the role

o   in a position to support a minimum of three Essex County FA events

o   willing to complete the FA ‘CRC’ process

 

If you’d like to join the Youth Forum, E-Mail Rhys Elmer at rhys.elmer@essexfa.com or call (01245) 393093.

 


FA 50-Year Awards for Essex Volunteers

Chris Evans reports…

FA 50-YEAR AWARDS FOR ESSEX VOLUNTEERS

Recognition for Dennis Wyman and Chris Baker

Rewards for decades of selfless work in the grassroots game were recently handed to Chris Baker of United Ockendon FC and Upminster Park Rovers YFC’s Dennis Wyman when they were presented with FA 50-Year Awards to thank them for their efforts.

To be eligible for The FA’s ‘Order of Merit’ Award, a nominated individual must have completed 50 years as a football volunteer, inclusive of their playing career but excluding any football played at school. Stalwarts Chris and Dennis both received their awards from the Essex County FA’s Representative to The FA, Alec Berry.

Chris Baker

Chris has been with one club all of his playing and administrative football career, albeit the club has changed its name several times over the years. He played for Duffins FC from the 1966/67 season until 1996/97, turning out when they were short of players or when individuals didn’t arrive on a Sunday morning, and he has been pivotal in maintaining his club’s existence.

Taking on many roles – including Treasurer, Secretary, Manager and Chairman – he’s ensured boys and men have had the opportunity to play football in South Ockendon. The club changed its identity to Albion Athletic (1971-73), Ockendon Plough (1973-95), Ockendon Motor Spares (1995-2007) and United Ockendon (2007 to date).

The club has appeared in eleven Essex Sunday Premier Cup Finals, winning the competition on seven occasions. United Ockendon (who were the original Ockendon Motor Spares ‘B’) have also won the competition on one occasion, their only appearance in the final.

Chris also took his Referee Course in 1991 and is still a match official to this day. He took up the whistle due to the shortage of referees locally, plying his trade mainly in the Thurrock Association Sunday League. Chris has been instrumental in helping to provide football to his home town with commitment and professionalism for 50 years.

Dennis Wyman

Upminster Park Rovers FC (UPR) were founded in 1965 when Dennis and Jim Sadler decided to start a side for their sons, and they quickly formed a team with boys from the local area. UPR joined the Echo Junior League in 1966 and became the first team to play matches at Hall Lane Playing Fields in Upminster. The cost of hiring the pitch for that first season was just £5!

As the club expanded, so did the area from which they drew their members. UPR now have players from all over Havering, and from many neighbouring areas. Dennis has overseen this expansion, and now UPR have many committed members and a strong committee.

Over the years, Dennis has guided and steered the club and has held most roles at some point, keeping them running on his own when new volunteers couldn’t be found. In the 1970s, UPR faced difficult times financially as the country was plunged into a recession. During this time, Dennis paid all the league registration fees from his own money just to keep the club in operation.

His dedication has been unwavering, with no undertaking too small to warrant his attention. For many years, he organised the Summer Tournament and managed to persuade professional players like Trevor Brooking to present the trophies. In the early days of the club, Dennis qualified as a referee and, until the age of 77, he still regularly refereed matches and waived any fee.

In 2006, he led UPR to FA Charter Standard status, no mean feat for such a large club. They continue to thrive, with over 30 teams playing in either the Echo Junior or Chelmsford Youth Leagues. He remains as Chairman of a club who, in June 2016, celebrated 50 years of football.

 


Lakeside Speedway – FRIDAY PREVIEW

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE return to full strength when they host reigning Champions Sheffield at the Arena-Essex Raceway tonight (8pm).

In recent weeks, the Hammers have been without Kyle Newman through injury while Zach Wajtknecht has had to fulfil other racing commitments.

But the pair will return to the side on Friday for what should prove to be another stern test.

And after back-to-back away defeats at Glasgow and Peterborough, Hammers team boss Will Pottinger is keen to see his side maintain their 100 per cent record at home.

“Losing by 14 points at Peterborough and 13 points at Glasgow left me naturally disappointed although I always try to look at the bigger picture”, Pottinger said.

“I’ve got no doubt that both score lines would have been closer if we’d have been able to put out a full strength team on both occasions.

“On Friday we are able to do just that though and that’s a pretty big thing for us because Sheffield have got a strong looking team.

“This is our only home league fixture during July at the moment so it’s really important that the Lakeside fans back the team as we look to claim three more vital league points.”

Sheffield are without Danish ace Lasse Bjerre as he has been suffering from concussion, but skipper Kyle Howarth makes a his return from a shoulder injury sustained last month.

LAKESIDE: Nick Morris, Zach Wajtknecht, Adam Ellis, Kyle Newman, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Alfie Bowtell.
SHEFFIELD: Kyle Howarth, Todd Kurtz, Lasse Bjerre R/R, Broc Nicol, Charles Wright, Georgie Wood, James Shanes.


“Let Them Play” Says CelebrateEssex ‘Footie Dad’ Winner

Chris Evans reports…

“LET THEM PLAY” SAYS #CELEBRATEESSEX ‘FOOTIE DAD’ WINNER

South Ockendon’s Jason Plunkett Has Advice for Parents

“Just let them play and enjoy the game” says South Ockendon ‘Footie Dad’ Jason Plunkett, winner of the Essex County FA’s #CelebrateEssex Twitter competition having provided support and encouragement to his football-mad son.

#CelebrateEssex promotes inspirational personal volunteer stories, motivating new faces to get involved and grow the grassroots community. Once nominations closed in June, a select group of footie dads were chosen for a Twitter poll to identify the monthly winner who’d receive a prize and extra public plaudits. Jason won the vote in front of two strong challengers.

A ‘Footie Dad’ is described as someone who offers support to their son or daughter before, during or after a game in any number of ways. They help to make sure their ‘star player’ gets to training safely, enjoys participating in matches and is encouraged to do their best. Kelly Plunkett believed Jason shows these traits so she nominated him to the @EssexCountyFA Twitter account.

Football has always been Jason’s passion in life, and he’s been involved in all aspects of the game: watching, playing, managing, training, coaching and even scouting. He started managing when he had to stop playing through injury at a young age. Then followed nearly 30 years in the Thurrock Association Sunday League and the Greene King Essex Veterans League on Saturdays.

He also started training the ‘minis’ at County Park YFC when a coach left so they could grow the club and bring teams through, running his son Oliver’s team. Oliver then signed for Southend United and Jason was unable to dedicate the time to his County Park responsibilities. However, he grew to miss coaching youngsters so he became involved in schools district football.

Jason will be looking to coach two district age groups in 2018/19 for Basildon and Billericay alongside Manager Billy Manners from Woodlands School. Being involved in the development of his son’s skills is important to him, and he said: “I became a ‘Footie Dad’ nine years ago, and my son started at an early age. From three years old he has grown up around football.”

“He was even kicking a ball before he could walk, crawling round the house! I just try to be there for him and support him for all the games he plays for his school, district, grassroots and academy teams. I give up most of my free time these days for my son as Southend United’s Youth Academy is a big commitment, training three times a week with games up and down the country.”

Jason has been part of one Essex’s most successful Sunday clubs – Ockendon Motor Spares who won the County Cup seven times, plus three with Little Thurrock Dynamos Veterans – but he knows what currently makes him tick: “I’ve lost count of the other titles and cups I’ve won, but being involved and supporting my son is the best feeling, seeing him enjoying the game he loves so much.”

He also has a word for anyone thinking of offering their spare time for grassroots football: “You don’t need to have experience as my father-in-law helped me until I stopped. Without volunteers then teams, and even clubs, disband so just try it please. You will be surprised how rewarding it is.”

And Jason also has advice for parent or guardians supporting their child: “Just let them play and enjoy the game. Ask them the questions, don’t tell them the answers. Support them and just be there for them. You need to tell them they’ll make mistakes and they’ll be rejected, but football is all about opinions and it’s about them enjoying and playing the game wherever it may be.”

 


Wickford Town Open Upgraded Bartlett Park

Chris Evans reports…

WICKFORD TOWN OPEN UPGRADED BARTLETT PARK

New Facilities Unveiled by Mark Francois MP

Wickford Town FC’s brand new Bartlett Park facility will “help the club achieve sustainability” according to Essex County FA Chief Executive Brendan Walshe, who attended the grand opening on Saturday 23rd June.

Mark Francois, MP for Wickford and Rayleigh, officially opened the state-of-the-art new changing rooms as Town look to become one of the largest youth football clubs in Essex. Their new facility was made possible thanks to investment from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

The grant enabled Wickford to double the number of team changing rooms, which will enable them to significantly boost their football provision throughout the community. The upgraded facility now comprises four team changing rooms, two changing rooms for match officials and increased access to male and female toilets.

A key improvement, however, is the upgraded club room complete with kitchen and servery area, which will help to increase the club’s long-term sustainability. This will mean they can stage more club events as well as coach and referee education courses.

The club hope the new facility will help them unearth more gems from their youth sides, which have already helped to produce Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley and former Southend United Manager Steve Tilson. The new site will also assist Wickford who play in the Southend & District Junior League, to forge stronger local community links.

President John Bartlett, who has had numerous roles within the club since it was founded in 1969, is delighted with the new provision. Town were awarded a £397,764 grant towards the project, working alongside the Football Foundation and the Essex County FA to compile a five-year Development Plan, which is a vision with an emphasis on increasing sports participation.

The new facility will support the club in hopes of almost doubling their number of youth football sides, as they aim to draw in a further 20 teams thanks to their improved provision. This would take their total from 37 to 61, a move which would increase overall participation by 154%.

With a focus on retaining young players and backfilling their existing teams through all age groups, a 100% increase in football participation for those in the 14-25 age bracket is predicted. Wickford also plan to establish four new girls’ teams and a ladies side, in addition to the two ladies sides they currently run.

County FA Chief Executive Walshe commented: “This application has evolved over the last 24 months and a lot of work has gone into it. This included a variety of support to access additional funding, develop the applications and business plan, the operating model and a football development plan for the site.”

“The opening ceremony was a real showcase event for the club, demonstrating the journey they have been on over the last three or four years, plus it also acted as recognition of what it has been achieved during that period. It had a real community atmosphere, with players, parents, volunteers, coaches, managers, friends and family all in attendance to celebrate the work of the club.”

“Wickford Town FC are in an excellent position to achieve more things in the future at this excellent facility, which will help the club achieve sustainability. The site has enormous potential for future expansion, with land at its disposal to help meet the growing football development needs of the Wickford and the wider surrounding community.”

Clive Lodge, Chairman of Wickford Town YFC, added: “I would like to thank Mark Francois MP for opening our new facility. Additionally we would like to thank Brendan Walshe and the Essex County FA for their continual support over the last few years in making this happen. The club have received support from funding providers and years of fundraising from club members.”

 


Match Preview | Surrey v Essex Eagles

Image courtesy of Essex Cricket

Essex Eagles are set for back-to-back matches this week when the Vitality Blast campaign continues. On Thursday, the Eagles make the short trip to London to meet Surrey at the Kia Oval, before hosting Glamorgan on Friday in another sold out clash at The Cloudfm County Ground.

With one win and one defeat from the opening two matches in the competition, all-rounder Ravi Bopara is keen for the Eagles to put together a winning run of form.

“It’s been mixed fortunes so far, we weren’t happy with our performance in the defeat to Sussex Sharks but then we put our first win on the board by beating Middlesex last Friday, so we are okay,” said the all-rounder.

“Our aim at this stage in the competition is always to reach the knockout stages by finishing top of our group. A few wins and that gives you momentum and hopefully, we’ll get a couple more positive results this week.

“Qualifying for the next stage is the number one objective.”

The 33 year-old, who made 38 T20 International appearances for England, believes that the Eagles have a couple of aces in their bowling attack in the shape of spinners Simon Harmer and Adam Zampa.

“Spinners around the country are playing a key role in matches this season and that doesn’t surprise me particularly with the hot weather we’ve had,” he said. “The wickets are dry and they are going to turn or at least hold for the spinners.

“Generally anyway, in my experience, spinners play a big part in T20 and to have the two world-class performers that we have in Harmer and Zampa should give us a huge advantage. Regardless of where you play matches, spinners are always in the game and will always take wickets.

“Obviously the batters have got to do their part as well but I’d like to think our spin options will be vital in helping us to get to the next stage.”

Surrey are still looking for their first Vitality Blast win this summer after losing to Middlesex and Kent Spitfires but their ranks have been boosted by the arrival of big-hitting Australian duo Aaron Finch and Nic Maddinson. Both have experience of playing in the IPL and Big Bash, and Finch arrives in scintillating form.

Playing for Australia against Zimbabwe in an International T20 just over a week ago, Finch hit 172 from 76 deliveries in Harare. His first 50 runs took 22 deliveries before bringing up his second IT20 century from just 50 balls.

The Eagles squad to face Surrey:

Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Adam Wheater (31) Wicket-Keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Varun Chopra (6)
Matt Coles (1)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Ashar Zaidi (99)
Adam Zampa (88)

Report provided by Essex CCC

 


Lakeside Speedway – FULL-STRENGTH HAMMERS

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE heat-leader Adam Ellis says he can’t wait for the Hammers to be back together again when they host Sheffield on Friday (July 13, 8pm).

The Hammers look set to return to full strength for the visit of the reigning Champions with Zach Wajtknecht free of grasstrack commitments and Kyle Newman successfully coming through last Friday’s meeting with Glasgow.

Ellis is expecting one of the tougher home meetings so far against Sheffield and insists another big team effort is required if they are to maintain their 100 per cent home record.

“It’s another big meeting against Sheffield and it should be a good one for the fans,” Ellis said.

“At the moment we just need Kyle back to full fitness and a full strength side again.

“We’ve had such a good start to the season; we’ve not had many injuries and no one has been struggling much.

“As soon as Alfie (Bowtell) found his feet in the Championship as well, we were pretty strong.

“But we all need to chip in with some good points on Friday and hopefully we can get another win as a team.”


Preview: Aveley v Billericay Town

On Monday 16th July, Billericay Town make the short trip to Thurrock to take on Isthmian League North side, Aveley FC, in their second friendly match of the current pre-season. BTFC enjoyed an impressive work-out last Saturday in the searing heat to earn a 1-1 draw at National League high-flyers, Ebbsfleet FC.

Ambitious Aveley take on Billericay in what will be, if we exclude the reserve side that lost to AFC Sudbury, their fifth match of pre-season. A comfortable 4-0 home victory over Thurlow Nunn outfit, FC Clacton, last Thursday (5th July) was followed, last Saturday, by an impressive showing, at home, in a 2-4 loss versus National South side, East Thurrock United. Dartford, also of the National South, however, provided a stern test for the Millers at Parkside on Monday night, as a strong side recorded a convincing 6-0 victory. The Millers friendly game v Southend United on Thursday night took place after this article was written.

For me, it’s impossible to write about Aveley FC without waxing lyrical about the fantastic, state-of-the art £4.8m stadium located a stone’s throw away from the Old Mill Field. Opened for the start of the 2017-18 campaign, it is entirely funded by the sale for housing of the previous site. It is with great credit to those involved at Aveley that their efforts ensured the story has a happy ending. Many clubs forced into selling their prime asset to support a move to another location have subsequently ended up homeless and been forced to ground-share to survive.

The new facility, which puts the Millers firmly on the Non-League map, also boasts a full size grass pitch beyond the main ground. In addition, 7v7 and 9v9 training pitches make this a valuable community asset. All facilities are used by the burgeoning academy and newly formed Aveley FC reserve side. The team, which plays in the Essex Senior Reserve League, is designed to offer a path into the first team via the impressive youth set-up. Over time, a production line of talent driving the club forward and sustaining its future is a clear possibility.

Blues fans will know Parkside better than most and are very grateful to Aveley for use of the facilities last season. Due to the problems of the inclement weather and draining issues with the pitch at the AGP, the Millers came through in our hour of need. With home games against Dorking, Harrow Borough, and Tonbridge Angels moved to Aveley, plus the bonus of a visit to see the Velocity Cup final, the South Essex stadium become a “home from home” for a while.

Whilst it’s impossible not to like a ground at which you have a 100% record, I was very impressed with the whole set-up of the 3,500 capacity stadium. With a large function room, very wide bar-area, which guarantees prompt service at the busiest of times, and excellent vantage points to watch the match in comfort, this is the very top end of Non-League football comfort. Add in that some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet are always on hand as volunteers and you have a great combination for any football fan.

Moving back to the football, Aveley clearly don’t want to have the best stadium in the Isthmian North where they have resided since being relegated in 2011/12. With eyes on the greater prize, the club have expressed an understandable aspiration to be at National South level within a three-to-five year time-frame. After a slow start last season, and change of manager in October 2017, the club improved in the second half of the campaign to finish out of danger in 14th.

With manager, ex-Brightlingsea Regent boss, James Webster, now able to benefit from a full pre-season with the players, and bring in a number of individuals to bolster the team in certain areas, Millers hopes of promotion are high. Webster’s track record of four promotions in seven seasons at Regent, and an Isthmian North title win in 2016-17, supports expectations. For 2018-19, Aveley have been installed as one of the early favourites to win the Isthmian North League and, in Webster, have a man that knows how to get promoted and win titles.

Retention and recruitment for the new campaign at the Millers has been impressive. Keeping leading goal-scorer, Alex Teniola, with 24 goals (12 at Thamesmead Town) last season, and proven at this level, is good business. In attack, ex-Regent hit-man, Tom Richardson, stays on to add threat up front and, after an injury-hit season, a fully fit Tony Martin provides an additional option. Whilst there have been more changes in personnel than usual, centre-back and skipper, Connor Witherspoon, and defensive partners, Ryan Cosson and (now also coach), Chris Bourne add continuity and solidity at the back.

In terms of new faces at Parkside, there are some exciting names to consider with a focus on young, promising players, often with a Brentwood Town connection. We highlight, Andy Freeman, at 21 years old, an exciting, goal-scoring attacking midfielder that has joined from Concord Rangers. With pace looking to be a key theme, two young full-backs have also been recruited. Harry Gibbs, aged 20 years, who can operate at right-back, returns after leaving last year. On the left, Sam Cross, 23, joins from current tenants, Grays Athletic. Further forward, pacey experienced winger, Marcus Milner, also joins from Ware and ex-Regent man, James Love, offers versatility across a number of positions.

Retention and recruitment at Billericay Town has also gone well and manager Harry Wheeler’s pre-season call for pace up front seems to have been answered. Speedy winger, Moses Emmanuel, joins from Sutton Utd and young right winger, Connor Hunte, 20, is an intriguing possibility if he can produce his talent regularly. Many liked the look of ex-Dagenham youth product, Jordy Mungoy, on the right of midfield who impressed in 45 minutes at Ebbsfleet. With experienced League campaigners such as Callum Kennedy, Jake Howells, and Simon Walton coming into the first X1, competition for places looks like intensifying.

With the emphasis still on gaining fitness, getting minutes under the belt, and impressing the respective bosses sufficiently to forward the claim for a place in the starting X1 come the time of the big kick-off, performance is more important than result. That said, I’m sure Aveley won’t want a repeat of the Dartford experience.

All that remains to be said is if you haven’t got to see a game at Aveley yet, don’t delay, it is an excellent football experience. As always, enjoy the game!


Lakeside Speedway – COOK LOOKING FORWARD TO VISIT FROM TIGERS

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE promoter Jon Cook is looking forward to getting his side back on home shale when reigning Champions Sheffield come to town on Friday (8pm).

After a run of eight straight wins in all competitions, the Hammers have fallen to consecutive away defeats at strongly fancied Glasgow and Peterborough.

But Cook is seeking home comforts this week as they aim to maintain their 100 per cent record at the Arena-Essex Raceway.

“It will be good to get another home meeting in after a slightly longer enforced break due to England’s progression in the Football World Cup,” Cook said.

“The Peterborough and Glasgow away meetings were never going to be easy but now we have to show our character by getting back to winning ways in front of our own supporters on Friday.

“Again we’ll need everybody contributing though because Sheffield are another solid side and it should be an entertaining fixture.”


Lakeside Speedway – MATCH REPORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

HAMMERS boss Will Pottinger admitted that his side were “so near but so far” from grabbing a result at Glasgow.

The Essex side went down 51-38 at Ashfield tonight despite a sensational display from the top three.

But ultimately missing Zach Wajtknecht and having Kyle Newman only just back from injury left the Hammers too vulnerable.

Pottinger said: “It’s very frustrating to come all this way and get nothing. It’s a tough place to come and they were on form tonight.

“We were so near but so far. We stayed in the meeting but when Adam lost a chain while leading Heat 10 that was a massive blow.

“It meant I had to play my tactical in the next race and instead of being nine down were 13 and that was probably too much to bring back from there.

“It’s Sheffield next at home a week on Saturday and that’s another big clash for the club. We are strong at home but we must keep winning.”

Hammers’ top three of Morris, Ellis and Lawson were in terrific form but back-up was lacking with Newman only just back from injury.

But the heat-leaders kept Hammers in the clash until Heat 14 when a home 5-1 from Sarjeant and guest Ben Barker wrapped it up for the Tigers.

The home side edged ahead to a nine-point lead after Heat 8 with a vital 5-1 from Paul Starke and Sarjeant.

But it was a Hammer blow for the visitors when the classy Ellis dropped a chain while leading Heat 10, gifting Glasgow a maximum heat win.

Lawson and Morris held off a fierce challenge from Richie Worrall in the next race to reduce the deficit.

But Tigers wrapped it up thanks to hero Sarjeant in the penultimate race.

Glasgow 51: James Sarjeant 12+1, Ben Barker 11+4, Paul Starke 9+2, Chris Harris 9, Richie Worrall 9, Jack Thomas 1.
Lakeside 38: Nick Morris 12+1, Richard Lawson 11, Adam Ellis 9, Kyle Newman 3, Ben Morley 3, Alfie Bowtell 0, Ben Hopwood 0.


Shock at BTFC as Joe Ellul leaves Blues

In a surprising development, centre-back and new Billericay Town recruit Joe Ellul has indicated on Twitter today that he has made the decision not to join the Blues for the new season. Joe had finished the previous campaign at Maldon & Tiptree in the Isthmian North division.

It had originally been announced, in June 2018, that he would re-join the club for his third spell and be part of the Blues squad for the 2018-19 National South campaign. In total, Ellul made 60 appearances for the Blues, scoring 12 goals.

Although no specific details are known on why circumstances have changed, Joe has commented that he will not sign a deal with Billericay Town this season. In a message to the supporters, he added that “the fans will always hold a place with me but it’s a decision I have made, which I feel is the right one”.

The loss of Ellul, who had been recruited to the heart of the Town defence to replace the departing Rob Swaine, comes less than one month before the opening National South fixture away to Truro on Saturday August 4th.

With defensive cover provided by Joe Kizzi, named in the Bostik Premier Team of the Season at centre-back, club record signing, Dean Inman, and experienced campaigner, Ricky Hayles, BTFC do not lack options at the back. However, given expected demands on the squad over the season, it seems likely that the club will need to recruit a suitable replacement as soon as possible.

Ellul’s career at BTFC commenced in summer 2015 after being snapped up by manger, Craig Edwards. By February 2016, he had moved on to East Thurrock Utd. Forming a formidable centre-back pairing alongside, Ricky Hayles, he gained promotion to the National South with the Rooks via the play-offs’.

By January 2017, Joe returned to BTFC under new owner, Glenn Tamplin. However, after a period out of the regular starting X1, Joe agreed an amicable departure from the Blues and signed, in October 2017, for National League, Braintree Town, under his previous boss at Enfield Town, Brad Quinton.

After signing for Isthmian North side Maldon & Tiptree in February 2018, Joe had planned to make it third time lucky, joining up with BTFC for the 2018-19 season.

Sadly, today’s news of his early departure means that the fans will not get the chance to see him once more in a Blue shirt.


Lakeside Speedway – FRIDAY PREVIEW

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE travel to Glasgow on Friday in another key clash towards the top end of the Championship (7.30pm).

The Hammers currently sit in second place, one position above their Scottish opponents, who are six points behind them in the current standings.

And following last Friday’s defeat at league leaders Peterborough, the Hammers are keen to add to their tally.

But in-form heat-leader Adam Ellis reiterates his side are in a strong position as they reach the mid-point of their campaign.

“We were obviously disappointed not to get anything at Peterborough but we’re not looking at it as a bad result,” Ellis said.

“At the end of the day we’ve been on a really good run and I guess it had to come to an end at some point.

“But we’re not too worried at all really because it’s just one meeting. There’s still plenty more to go and we’re still confident that we’ll do enough to stay in that top four, especially when we’re back at full strength and that’s all that matters.”

The Hammers will make a late decision on Kyle Newman while Ben Hopwood has been chosen as the National League guest to replace Zach Wajtknecht who is competing in a grasstrack fixture on the continent.

Redcar’s Ben Barker guests for Glasgow in place of Claus Vissing who is required in the Danish League, while Rider Replacement operates for the injured Lewis Kerr for the hosts.

GLASGOW: Chris Harris, Lewis Kerr R/R, Paul Starke, Ben Barker, Richie Worrall, Jack Thomas, James Sarjeant.
LAKESIDE: Nick Morris, Ben Hopwood, Adam Ellis, Kyle Newman, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Alfie Bowtell.


Match Preview | Essex Eagles v Middlesex

Image courtesy of Essex Cricket

Essex Eagles entertain Middlesex at The Cloudfm County Ground on Friday having started the Vitality Blast campaign with a disappointing defeat to Sussex Sharks on Wednesday night.

The Sharks won by 36 runs after posting a score of 181 for 6, with the Eagles bowled out for 145, Sussex fast-medium bowler David Wiese picking up 5 for 24.

Eagles skipper, Ryan ten Doeschate, is looking for an immediate improvement from his squad and get the campaign up and running in front of packed house at Chelmsford.

“It’s good that we have an early chance to rectify matters because overall, we just weren’t good enough on the night,” he admitted.

“They probably got 20 more than we would have liked and we needed to have put in a better batting display. I thought our bowling was okay for much of the time but when we did have them on the ropes, we couldn’t capitalise. I think about 160 was about par on that wicket but we let them off the hook.

“We were facing two world-class bowlers when we were batting and we always knew it was going to be tough. They kept picking up wickets and the pressure was always on, particularly when the asking rate gets up above ten with eight overs to go, then that’s tough.

“So there is a lot of work to be done before we face Middlesex and hopefully, we can sort out a lot of things ahead of the match on Friday. We need to look at a number of aspects of our play but we do have some very good players in our dressing room and I’m expecting them to turn things around. But we do need to review a few things and work out where we need to be stronger.”

And the Essex Eagles captain is not ruling out changes to the side ahead of Friday’s sell-out match.

“We may need to change the team around a little bit and try and get a better balance,” he acknowledged. “Tactically I think we may have too many bowlers in there and so maybe playing an extra batter is one option.

“With the talent we have in the squad, perhaps we are still finding out what our best team is and what our best formula is. We need to look at our selection progress and need to learn from the Sussex defeat – and quickly.”

Middlesex include West Indian Dwayne Bravo, one of their two Overseas players, along with Australian, Hilton Cartwright. The 34-year-old Bravo has played 66 Twenty20 internationals, averaging 24.29 with the bat and taking 52 wickets at an average of 28.26 and spent the briefest of time with Essex back in 2010.

Essex Eagles squad to face Middlesex:

Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Adam Wheater (31) Wicket-Keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Varun Chopra (6)
Matt Coles (1)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Ashar Zaidi (99)
Adam Zampa (88)

Report provided by Essex CCC

 


Lakeside Speedway – JON COOK SPEAKS OUT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

The Lakeside Hammers meeting this Saturday against Glasgow Tigers has been postponed to avoid a clash with the World Cup football fever which is sweeping the country.

Hammers Co-Promoter Jon Cook commented “Having taken the opinions of our supporters on board, we agree that on another heatwave day and with England hopefully on fire, we can’t expect fans to travel in their masses to watch speedway after the match which may go to overtime and of course then sees England’s potential opponents kicking off at 7pm.

“The World Cup only comes around every four years and England haven’t created this much excitement since 1990.  We believe that moving one meeting to later in the year for the convenience of all, including Sweden’s many Scottish supporters, is a sensible decision for all.  Our thanks go to Glasgow for their understanding in this matter.”

The next meeting at the Arena Essex Raceway, will now be on Friday the 13th of July, when the Sheffield Tigers are due to be the visitors.

Cook continued  “This meeting however, and all our other Friday meetings, mysteriously disappeared from the official BSPA fixture list at the end of last week and although the club has yet to receive any explanation from the Association, the SCB (Speedway Control Board) has reassured us on the continuation of our season, but has asked us to move our meeting with Peterborough from crowded Fridays to ease the problems one or two clubs are having with guests, which we view as an eminently sensible request to solve this situation.

“We have a (BSPA) Association meeting next week and I expect the matter to be sorted easily there. The Association by its name is there for all clubs and not for the few, as the few can’t race against themselves.  A problem has been identified and there are enough speedway related brains there to sort out the issues in a fair and even manner, and one which doesn’t present clubs with a situation that could prove terminal to their season.

“We’ve lost one speedway club this week and I’m sure when my fellow members attend next week, the gravity of that situation won’t go amiss when all matters are discussed.”


Lakeside Speedway – SATURDAY POSTPONED

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE Hammers have postponed their home Championship meeting with Glasgow on Saturday – to avoid a clash with football fever!

Club bosses had been keen to press ahead with the attractive fixture against the Tigers but fear any extra time and penalties in the Sweden v England World Cup quarter final afternoon game would kill the attendance.

In addition, medical staff are working at big screen events in the afternoon and the club are keen to avoid any delays as a consequence.

Hammers will, however, still be making the journey to Scotland on Friday as planned to race Glasgow at Ashfield Stadium.

A new date for Saturday’s meeting will be confirmed with a fixture update when available.


Preview: Ebbsfleet United v Billericay Town

Billericay Town face their first friendly game of the season this Saturday at National League side, Ebbsfleet FC. Having reported for the start of pre-season training last week, the game forms part of the initial preparations for what will be a demanding five-week program before the big kick-off on Saturday August 4th.

With the fixture announcement on Wednesday revealing a trip to Cornish side, Truro, as first opponents, Billericay Town face an immediate introduction to the longer distance travelling requirements brought by promotion to the National South League.

Ebbsfleet, who also began their pre-season last week are currently at their annual warm weather training camp in Portugal. Once they jet back from the Continent, the visit of Step Two new-boys Billericay commences their preparation for what looks a very exciting opening day fixture. For the first time ever, on the opening Saturday in August, the Fleet will face ex-League Two side, Chesterfield, who make the trip down from Derbyshire to the Kuflink Stadium.

The friendly fixture kicks-off at 12.30pm to accommodate anybody wanting to watch the England v Sweden World Cup Quarter-Final, kicking off at 3pm. With the big screen in the Main Stand Bar, supporters have the chance for a double portion of football on what should be a sunny afternoon.

Unlike the England game, the result of the friendly match should not be viewed as critical. This is primarily a chance for players to integrate into the team and improve their levels of fitness and match sharpness. An impressive performance versus a National League outfit is the primary consideration for the Billericay Town management team.

The choice of Ebbsfleet FC for a friendly match not only represents an appetising fixture for all but a chance to know more about a club not dissimilar to the Blues. In many ways the Fleet exhibit a similar profile to that of Billericay Town.

Both ambitious football clubs, funded by an individual benefactor, determined to achieve an ultimate objective of League football. In addition, as a point of comparison, it is worth considering the respective management teams. In Billericay Town’s Harry Wheeler and, the admittedly more experienced Daryl McMahon, we have two young (under-35), highly rated, hard-working, tactically astute managers.

For the fans, the game offers the first opportunity to assess the new signings made in the close season. On the back of successful previous campaigns, both sides retained the services of a high proportion of their playing staff for 2018-19. Billericay Town have brought in seven new players, with Joe Ellul, Ricky Hayles, Callum Kennedy, Jake Howells strengthening the back-line, Simon Walton increasing experience in central midfield, and, Connor Hunte and Moses Emmanuel adding extra pace up-front.

Ebbsfleet have two new signings, in Jack King and Ebou Adams, to increase options in central defence and midfield. With Billericay’s recruitment largely complete, Ebbsfleet may still be in the market for a new striker to supplement the ever-reliable goal-machine, Danny Kedwell.

Billericay’s visit to Kent represents a tough test against opposition that narrowly missed out on promotion to the Football League last year. A 6th place finish for Ebbsfleet saw the club progress to the play-off semi-finals before a narrow loss in extra-time to eventual winners, Tranmere Rovers.

The Essex side are, however, no strangers to success on the back of a treble winning season. With a side packed with National League experience – including two former Ebbsfleet players in Sam Deering and Adam Cunnington – the trip to one of the best sides in the top tier of Non-League football represents a good opportunity to evaluate the strength of the squad for the season ahead in the National South League.

Under impressive manager, Daryl McMahon, Ebbsfleet play an attractive brand of football often in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. Generally operating as a lone front man, Danny Kedwell, is ably assisted by the attacking trio of Corey Whitely, Luke Coulson, and the experience and passing quality from midfield of Andy Drury.

Whilst technically, the formation suggests a double-pivot, holding midfielder Dean Rance shone last season in a slightly freer role, allowing him to make forward runs, and inter-change with more defensive midfield partner, Jack Payne. We also think we should mention one of the best goal-keepers in Non-League football, Nathan Ashmore, who was in outstanding form last year.

Billericay Town have tended to shift formation during the course of the year shifting between a variety of line-up’s. However, we would characterise a blend of 4-3-3 and 3–5-2 as most representative of employed strategies to date.

With new personnel coming into the club suggesting a desire to play 3-5-2, it will be interesting to see how boss, Harry Wheeler, sets up. A pragmatic coach, with a growing track record in being flexible enough to make changes that deliver positive results, we expect him to keep his options open over pre-season.

After the long break since both sides last played in early May, the game offers a great chance to renew acquaintances with the players and get back down to your local club and support the early preparations for the start of the new campaign.

Further friendlies come thick and fast and seeing team shape coming together and new players adding extra options represents an exciting back-drop for the fans as the season preparation begins. Everybody going, please enjoy the game.


Billericay blog: A New Season

🔵⚪️🔵 Billericay Town FC 🔵⚪️🔵 A New Season

It won’t be long before the new league season starts, the National League (South), fixtures were released today, first up an away trip to Truro on Saturday 4th August, followed by home games against Concord Rangers on Tuesday 7th August and Wealdstone on Saturday 11th August. The club also have an exciting list of fixtures over the Christmas/New Year period, Boxing Day 26th December, away to Chelmsford, Saturday 29th December away to St Albans City and New Years Day, home to Chelmsford

The team play their first pre season friendly away to Ebbsfleet on Saturday 7th July (1230 KO) followed by away to Basildon on Tuesday 10th July (7.45pm), there is a home fixture v West Ham on Tuesday 31st July (7.45pm)

Following last seasons problem with the pitch flooding extensive work has taken place to resolve the issues. A new drainage and irrigation system has been installed which looks impressive, hopefully there will be no further problems + a new grass pitch has been laid.

At the end of May, 300+ season tickets had been sold, last season the average attendances were around 1000, it would be good to see average attendance above 1500 for the new season. There is a lot of interest in the town following last seasons success winning the league + League Cup and Essex Senior Cup

As promised Glen Tamplin has continued to invest in the team for this new season. Harry Wheeler continues in charge but with an increased coaching team, which includes Danny Hazel as well as being joined by Tristan Lewis another experienced coach

The majority of players from last seasons successful team have remained at the club, including top scorer Jake Robinson. A few players have left including fans favourites Billy Bricknell who has signed for Enfield, Rob Swaine who has signed for Chelmsford and Jack Giddings who has joined East Thurrock, Josh Urghart has also departed as well as Matt Paine who has left to become a police officer. A number of new players have signed, all of whom appear to have a lot of experience playing in the football league and national league, the last signing was Jake Howells who has played over 400 times for Luton Town.

I’m really looking forward to the new challenges for 2018/19, I think it’s exciting times for Billericay Town FC, since Glen arrived he has done everything he promised plus a lot more, we have a ground and club to be proud of. Where will finish in the league, it would be a good season for me if we make the playoffs, there are a lot of good teams in the league, there will be no easy games.


Match Preview | Essex Eagles v Sussex Sharks

Image courtesy of Essex Cricket

Essex Eagles return on Wednesday evening to commence the Vitality Blast campaign with two home fixtures at The Cloudfm County Ground this week starting with a visit from Sussex Sharks on Wednesday evening.

Past encounters between the two sides have seen new records set for the competition.

It was ten years ago that Eagles all-rounder Graham Napier captured the headlines when he re-wrote the record books blasting an unbeaten 152 against the South Coast side at Chelmsford.

His century came off 44 balls, but the remaining 52 took just 14 deliveries and overall he smashed 16 sixes beating the previous best score in the competition of 141 set by Cameron White of Somerset.

But four years later at Chelmsford, Luke Wright set new figures for the domestic competition with 153 not out from 66 balls that included 11 sixes and 12 fours leading his side home in a world record T20 run chase to reach their 226 target.

Napier has since retired but the threat of Wright remains a potential concern for the Eagles who have attracted Australian International Adam Zampa to the Club for this year’s competition.

The leg-spinner has considerable experience of the T20 format having played for Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash and for Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League. He has also featured in 31 ODIs and 13 International T20’s for his country.

The 26 year-old makes his debut for the Eagles on Wednesday night and is eagerly looking forward to the experience.

“I’ve been over here for a while now and spent time with the lads in preparation and I can’t t wait to get started,” he said.

“The ground here at Chelmsford is quite compact and it’s important for me just to get used to the size of the it, the crease, but I’ve had a couple of games here already and that’s given me a  good insight.

“It’s always an exciting time of the year when T20 starts and I know the guys in our dressing room are looking forward to it and to having a break from the longer form of the game. There is a pretty good buzz around the place.”

Meanwhile, Head Coach Anthony McGrath admits that he is hoping for an improved campaign this year from his squad.

“I think we have been below par in the past couple of years but I believe that with the squad we’ve got together this time, we can do well providing we play somewhere near our capabilities,” he acknowledged.

The signing of Zampa is one that delights him and offers a different look to the bowling attack.

“Personally, I think we’ve lacked some mystery to our attack in the middle overs in the past couple of years and he has the ability to take plenty of wickets and it should be really exciting watching him.

“We’ve also got Neil Wagner for the first part of the T20 campaign and then Peter Siddle joins us, so it’s good to have two overseas players throughout the group games.

“Overall, with the squad we’ve got, I think we look very exciting with the bat and very exciting with the ball, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Essex Eagles squad to face Sussex Sharks:

Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
Adam Wheater (31) Wicket-Keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Varun Chopra (6)
Matt Coles (1)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Matt Quinn (94)
Neil Wagner (13)
Tom Westley (21)
Ashar Zaidi (99)
Adam Zampa (88)

Following the clash with the Sharks, the Eagles continue the Vitality campaign on Friday with another home game against Middlesex for a sell-out match at The Cloudfm County Ground.

Report provided by Essex CCC

 


Lakeside Speedway – BOSS HAILS HAMMERS EFFORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

HAMMERS team boss Will Pottinger admitted it was a “great effort” to make the Championship Fours final.

Without Kyle Newman it ended up being a tough final and the Hammers ended up in fourth place behind champions Peterborough, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Nick Morris was outstanding all afternoon, dropping just one point in the qualifying run-off for the final but there just wasn’t enough consistent backing.

Pottinger said: “It’s hard to come into an event like this without your strongest side. I know some other teams were missing riders as well.

“But in the end Peterborough won it with a full strength team and that perhaps made all the difference.

“I’m proud of all the boys, they all had a good go but we just lacked an extra bit of power in the middle order. But it was a great effort.

“Nick was brilliant all day dropping only a point. To be honest he kept us in the hunt all afternoon and got the vital place in the run-off to make the final.

“Adam Ellis and Richard Lawson both gave it their all as did Alfie Bowtell and it has been great experience for him.

“Now we just put this behind us and concentrate on the next league matches at Glasgow and then home to the Tigers on Saturday. They are massive matches for us.”

Scorers:

Qualifying heats – 13: Morris 6, Ellis 5, Lawson 1, Bowtell 1.
Final – 14: Morris 9, Ellis 4, Lawson 1, Bowtell 1.