Author Archives: Chris Hood

Baker Philosophical Following Playoff Exit

Dave Ryan reports…

Levett Essex Leopards’ coach Thomas Baker was philosophical following his team’s exit from the NBL Division Two play-offs.

The Big Cats went down 84-80 against Westminster Warriors last week, leaving Baker frustrated:

“So the season is officially over for us. A bit prematurely for our liking but it is time now to reflect and grow individually and collectively” he said.

“On the night we couldn’t handle how direct Westminster were and our ability to finish strong at times as well as our shooting at the free throw line hurt us.”

Despite missing out on promotion, Baker was pleased with how his side performed during his first full year as head coach:

“Overall it’s been a season that has challenged all of us and I am proud of the resilience this team has shown across the season.

“Unfortunately in sport there has to be a winner and a loser and we lost on the night. “There have been some notable performances across the season, our captain Dougie [Bennett] stepped up numerous times showing his versatility in ways he can score, “Likewise Will [Ashby] has proven that time and time again. Shaq [Lewis] picking up the Most Improved Player award was hugely deserved and some of my college students in Jose [Morais], Wes [Moore] and Jordan [George] grew as the season went on.

“I will always remember this first full season in a men’s environment for two reasons; the sheer amount of work that goes into running a club and also the satisfaction you get when your team plays how you know they can.

“The support from people involved in the club from backroom staff to players has been massive. We need to build on this for next season. I look forward to taking some time out now to spend with family but most importantly reflecting to ensure that I can be back next year better for the organisation.”


Lakeside Speedway – MATCH REPORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

BRILLIANT Lakeside sent an early season message to their Championship rivals with a convincing 54-35 win over Ipswich at the Arena-Essex Raceway.

A powerful performance ensured the Hammers secured three more Shield points and demonstrated their ability around home shale.

A fine all-around team showing saw Will Pottinger’s side account for 10 race wins with Richard Lawson and Adam Ellis both starring with double figures.

It was an excellent night for the Purfleet outfit – and Pottinger hailed his side for their classy display which gives them plenty of confidence ahead of a league opener at home to Redcar next Friday (8pm).

“We’re really happy,” Pottinger said. “It was a very solid performance from all seven riders. They all put in a good shift, we didn’t have many last places and there was a good mix of points from all areas of the side.

“It’s a convincing win against a well-fancied Ipswich side, so I suppose that bodes well for us heading into the rest of the season.

“It’s always important to win your home matches in every competition. We’ve got another three points and denied the opposition any, so we know if we can go to Ipswich and get a result we’ve got a good chance of progression now.

“We’re more than happy, and we’ve got our first league match at home next week which is a chance for us to build on this good start.”

LAKESIDE 54: Richard Lawson 14, Adam Ellis 12, Nick Morris 8+1, Zach Wajtknecht 7+1, Kyle Newman 5+2, Alfie Bowtell 4+1, Ben Morley 4.

IPSWICH 35: Danny King 12, Connor Mountain 10, Rory Schlein 8+1, Nico Covatti 4, Danyon Hume 1, Michael Hartel 0, Cameron Heeps 0.

Championship Shield points: Lakeside 3 Ipswich 0

Frinton’s Lisa is First #CelebrateEssex Winner

Chris Evans reports…


Grassroots Volunteer Scoops ‘Footie Mum’ Category Win

Frinton & Walton YFC Fixture Secretary Lisa Ursell has paid tribute to the “fantastic team” of volunteers who keep the club going after she became the figurehead winner of the #CelebrateEssex ‘Footie Mum’ category.

#CelebrateEssex, organised through the Essex County FA’s Twitter account @EssexCountyFA, promotes inspirational personal examples and stories, encouraging new faces to get involved and grow the grassroots community. Once nominations closed in March, a select group were chosen for a Twitter poll to identify the monthly winner to receive a prize and extra public plaudits. Lisa won the vote in front of three other strong challengers.

At present Lisa is the club’s Fixture Secretary, which involves booking matches, and she also helps out with the Under 16s where her son has played for the last six years. She does the admin for the team, making sure the players know where the games are and the times of training, and she ensures they have enough players to play each match. Lisa’s responsibilities also extend to helping run their clubhouse at Frinton Park.

One of Lisa’s daughters is enjoying her first season playing for the club’s Under 9s Girls and she additionally tries to organise a rota for their clubhouse to be looked after by volunteers each Sunday. “I felt very proud making the final four… so winning was amazing! It’s great for our club to get the recognition it deserves,” she explained of her award. “I really enjoy it.”

“I’m not going to lie – sometimes it can be hard, but it really is a great club to be a part of. Someone is always on-hand to answer a question or offer support. I’m part of a fantastic team full of people who all give up so much time to make the club what it is. We are currently all working together to organise this year’s Presentation Day. We have a committee of eleven people and 20 managers. Some teams have coaches and parent helpers, too.”

Lisa first got involved with the club in 2015 when her son’s manager left. She offered to help out and ended up taking on the role of the club’s Social Secretary, organising Christmas parties and events for all of their teams like the Christmas Fayre, the quiz night and the club’s presentation day. “We have a group of 20 mums and nans who help out with the clubhouse,” Lisa continued. “Putting the rota together can be quite a challenge.”

“Sometimes, as a lot of our volunteers have children in multiple teams, I try and make sure people don’t miss their own children’s matches. Our Club Chairman, Kim Witmore, has been a massive help with the clubhouse and she is the one making sure it’s fully stocked. She’s one of the first to help in there when our boys have home games. We keep the clubhouse clean and tidy, disposing of rubbish and things like that.”

Lisa opted to reinvest her prize back into the club, and picked some Respect signage as her reward which will promote good practice and excellent behaviour at home matches. She concluded: “Keeping the clubhouse going really is a massive team effort and we couldn’t do it without the support of our dedicated volunteers.”



Siddle Set for Essex Debut at Headingley

Ravi Bopara is amongst the 13 vying for a spot tomorrow: Image courtesy of Essex Cricket

Anthony McGrath has named a 13-man squad for the first game of the 2018 County Championship season, with Peter Siddle due to make his Essex debut in the match against Yorkshire at Headingley.

The 33-year-old Australian fast bowler has joined Essex for the first five matches of the season and will spearhead the pace attack until the return of New Zealander, Neil Wagner.

Siddle plays his State cricket with Victoria and recently was a key member of the Adelaide Strikers team that won the Big Bash. Although he won the last of his 62 Test caps back in November 2016, his current form has led to many calling for him to return to the Australian Test side.

Essex Head Coach, Anthony McGrath, is delighted to have the presence of the influential bowler in his squad and said: “We are really excited to have Peter Siddle with us for those early matches given all the quality that he brings. We are confident after what we achieved last year and I’m sure that he will add to what we are trying to deliver in 2018.”

Meanwhile Anthony McGrath starts his tenure as Essex Head Coach with a nostalgic return to his former stomping ground, Headingley.

McGrath won four Test caps and spent 17 years with the White Rose, but admits that there will be no room for sentiment when he walks back into the ground.

“No there won’t be any, cricket is my profession and my job,” he said. “I’m in my third year now with Essex and feel an Essex boy. I’ve really enjoyed my time since I moved down here.

“Yes I see old friends when I go back up there and my family will all be there, they live up there and so from that point of view, it’s great to catch up with people. But in terms of the game, it’s business as usual.”

Twelve months ago, Essex were the bookies, and many pundits, favourites to be relegated, but they shocked the critics by proving invincible in the red-ball game, collecting ten wins along the way.

“Being defending Champions comes with its own pressure because people now expect of us, but within our own dressing room, nothing has changed, it’s business as usual,” McGrath insisted.

“We look to control what we can control, look to improve as individuals, stay together as a team and stick to our game plans. I know that is a bit of a boring message but the teams that normally do the basics really well come out on top in four-day cricket.”

“We beat Yorkshire twice last year and we’ll be looking to do the same this year. We want to start well, we know this game will be tough because Yorkshire are very good at Headingley. They’ve had a great record in recent years in four-day cricket so we are certainly not under-estimating how tough the game will be.”

Yorkshire will be desperate to put on a better show than they did when the sides met in 2017. They were rolled over in two days at Scarborough in August where Mohammad Amir grabbed match figures of 10 for 72, and then fared little better in the return at Chelmsford in the final fixture of the season capitulating to defeat by 376 runs inside three days.

Essex batsman, Varun Chopra, and young seamer, Sam Cook, have passed fitness tests to be involved in the travelling squad to Yorkshire.

Essex squad
Ryan ten Doeschate (27) Captain
James Foster (7) Wicket-keeper
Ravi Bopara (25)
Nick Browne (10)
Varun Chopra (6)
Sam Cook (16)
Simon Harmer (11)
Dan Lawrence (28)
Jamie Porter (44)
Peter Siddle (64)
Paul Walter (22)
Tom Westley (21)
Adam Wheater (31)

Report provided by Essex CCC


Essex Volunteers Receive 50-Year Awards

Bob Brimacombe was one of two volunteers to be recognised

Chris Evans reports…


Lawrence Segal and Bob Brimacombe Recognised by The FA

Essex football volunteers Lawrence Segal and Bob Brimacombe were rewarded for decades of selfless work for the grassroots game recently when they were presented with FA 50-Year Awards to thank them for their efforts.

Lawrence has a distinguished career as a volunteer whilst Bob has also been instrumental in helping to provide football to many people in Essex. To be eligible for The FA’s ‘Order of Merit’ Award, the nominated individual must have completed 50 years as a football volunteer, inclusive of their playing career but excluding any football played at school.

Lawrence Segal

Lawrence started in 1966 when he became Secretary for OK Jewish Youth Club FC, where he had been a player since 1963. In 1971, he started playing for Moorscott FC and was also the Referee Appointments Officer for the London Accountants’ League and a qualified referee, relinquishing the Appointments post in 1974 to become League Secretary.

In 1978, Lawrence started to volunteer for the Essex County FA. He was associated with the County FA until 2017 when he had to retire through age. In his time he has undertaken the following roles: Area Referee Assessing Secretary, FA Licensed Referee Instructor, elected Council Member representing youth football, Disciplinary Chairman and Board Director.

Lawrence has also guided and advised many grassroots competitions. These include the Ilford & District and Essex Business Houses Leagues and the London Old Boys Cup Competition. In 1992, Lawrence became involved with youth football as Secretary for Westhamians FC. This led to his dedicated commitment to the Echo Junior League, one of the biggest local youth leagues. He was a pivotal member of their committee for 15 years.

Bob Brimacombe

Bob took his referee’s ‘badge’ in 1966/67, like many who had followed the success of England winning the World Cup in 1966. He started his career as a match official with the Mid Essex League, officiating there for 21 years. In 1971 he also took up the challenge of Match Official Secretary. He held this thankless yet rewarding position until 1982, overseeing many match officials’ graduations to higher national league status.

In 1983, Bob became Honorary Secretary, until 1985 when he changed role to Treasurer, a post he would hold for four years. He was an integral member of this progressive Saturday football league and was voted to hold the position of its Chairman in 1989, a post he was to hold for 15 years. In his time as Chairman, the league went from strength to strength and has become one of the most respected in East Anglia.

Bob was given the honour of being League President in 2004, and he’s still the President to date, serving as an integral member for 51 years and counting. In 1993, Bob was also a founder member of the Essex Veterans’ League, seeing the necessity to provide football to those who were getting past their prime, yet were still very competitive. He took on the role of Chairman, and he still undertakes this position. Between 2004 and 2011 he was Secretary.



Lakeside Speedway – FRIDAY PREVIEW

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE will renew their old rivalry with Ipswich in the Championship Shield at Purfleet on Friday (8pm).

The Arena-Essex Raceway is gearing up to host a mouth-watering showdown between two of the big-hitters in the second tier.

The Hammers roared to a 50-40 win over Peterborough last week – and team boss Will Pottinger wants a repeat performance to send the Witches home empty handed.

Said Pottinger: “I’ve heard a lot things about the rivalry between the two clubs back from the Elite League days, and it will be good to renew that on Friday.

“It’s an important match for us as we look to get some more Shield points, because we want to progress from the group and we know every point will be vital.

“We’ll be looking to win the meeting and make sure Ipswich go home empty handed, so we’re aiming for a similar job to what we did to Peterborough last Friday.

“Everything is looking good so far, we just need to maintain that and keep improving.”

Ipswich are led by star names Danny King and Rory Schlein, whilst Lakeside middle order men Adam Ellis and Kyle Newman take on their former club.

Meanwhile, six heats of junior racing will take place before the main meeting, getting underway at 7.30pm.

LAKESIDE: Nick Morris, Ben Morley, Adam Ellis, Kyle Newman, Richard Lawson, Zach Wajtknecht, Alfie Bowtell.

IPSWICH: Danny King, Michael Haertel, Rory Schlein, Cameron Heeps, Nico Covatti, Connor Mountain, Danyon Hume.

Porter Named One of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year

Jamie Porter is one of five named in Wisden’s list: Image courtesy of Essex Cricket


Essex opening-bowler, Jamie Porter, was named one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year this morning.

During a stunning first season in Division One, Porter took 75 wickets to lead Essex to the County Championship title and his stellar work has been recognised with one of cricket’s finest accolades.

Shai Hope, Heather Knight, Natalie Sciver and Anya Shrubsole join Porter on the list, and all have been acknowledged for their significant contributions to cricket over the past 12 months.

It has been a roller coaster year for the 24-year-old after being ruled out of the Lions Winter tour to Australia with a lower back stress fracture, but Porter believes this is the perfect boost ahead of an important 2018 season.

He said: “It is a great honour to receive this award. People that have received this accolade before me have gone down as legends of the game.

“The company I am in is of the highest calibre. The three women who were pivotal in helping England to the World Cup last summer, and Shai Hope, who has been brilliant across the year, and had an incredible series against England.

“I have had chance to reflect on 2017, and it was a special year for both the Club and myself. This is a great confidence boost, but I am not going to dwell too much on it now as I need to be ready for Yorkshire on Friday. I want to look ahead to another important season, and hopefully produce similar performances that will allow me to be in this position again next year.”

Report provided by Essex CCC


Hutton 2-1 Silver End United (Essex Women’s Trophy Final)

Chris Evans reports…

Hutton 2-1 Silver End United, Sunday 8th April 2018, The Meadow, Kick-Off 3:00pm, Essex Women’s Trophy Final.

Goals in each half from Kaitlin Sugg and Amy Crumpler saw Hutton Ladies win the new-look Essex Women’s Trophy, narrowly defeating Silver End United 2-1 at the home of Saffron Walden Town FC.

The Trophy was introduced in 2011, but a change in format ahead of the current campaign meant every Women’s side entered the Essex Women’s Cup knocked our prior to Round Three moved into the Trophy. The result was two well-matched Eastern Region Women’s League sides meeting on a wet afternoon in North-West Essex, with Hutton hailing from Division One South and Silver End from the North section.

Silver End pulled a late goal back through Stephanie A’Len but two fine finishes had already given Hutton their two-goal cushion. Both sides had endured a few issues earlier in the season with a shortage of players, but they’ve recovered well and a County Cup final was just rewards. “It was a good game,” said Hutton boss Dominic Howlett afterwards. “The pitch didn’t help, but it was as good as it could’ve been. Both teams had a right go.”

Howlett was also quick to approve both strikes: “There was some decent football and we worked really hard. The first goal from Kaitlin was excellent. She’s well capable of that and she does it all the time in training so it’s good to see one of them go in. Amy, who scored the second, is our best passer and everything else and she completely controls the way we move forward. She’s more than capable of popping those in the top corner.”

He was additionally pleased with the tinkering of the format as Hutton lifted the Women’s Trophy eight years after losing in the final of the Women’s Cup: “It’s worked well. We won the League Plate last year and obviously this [trophy] this year and it gives teams like us who go out early doors something to play for until the end of the season.”

And it could be that extra chance for glory which helps keep sides like Hutton and Silver End going, having successfully come through their early season worries. “We expected nothing less [from Silver End] because they’re localish and we’ve got a lot of history with Silver End as a team,” Dominic continued.

“We’re pleased that, hopefully, they’re going to keep going as well because at the start of the season we were both struggling for players. We’re going to start recruiting players if we can and hopefully this little bit of silverware will help us do that.”

The two hours of persistent rain prior to kick-off at Catons Lane made for a difficult surface, but both teams adapted well as they looked to make an impact in the contest. The first opening of the game arrived on 17 minutes. Silver End goalkeeper Hannah Streetley make a good stop to keep out Laura Allen’s 20-yard shot and the tall custodian made another fine save minutes later to prevent Kate Lowen from finding the back of the net.

But, on 29 minutes, some of Hutton’s pressure told as they took the lead when Sugg lobbed in from 30 yards. A chance for Silver End then saw Rebecca Donnelly’s low cross bring an effort deflected just wide by Megan Jiggins at the far post. Jiggins was in on the action again mid-way through the second half. She pulled a low ball across goal where A’Len couldn’t quite convert prior to her low shot being well held by Hutton ‘keeper Krissie Glover.

Silver End custodian Streetley was then back in action to keep out Hayley Critchell’s drive before Hutton doubled their lead on 78 minutes, Crumpler curling a fine 20-yard free kick into the top right-hand corner. But the job wasn’t quite complete as, six minutes later, Silver End halved the deficit. A’Len sidefooted home yet, although the goal set-up a fine finale, Hutton held their nerve to lift the trophy.

Hutton: Krissie Glover, Kirstie McLeavy, Hannah Page, Rianne Dimmock, Nicola Walker, Kaitlin Sugg, Keeley Walker, Lucy Critchell, Kate Lowen, Amy Crumpler, Laura Allen. Substitutes (repeated): Hayley Critchell, Rhiannon Mallard-McHugh, Patrizia Leo, Lucy Blurton.

Silver End United: Hannah Streetley, Emily Bambrick, Lindsey Cowell, Danielle Warnes, Roxanne Gardner, Danielle Bragg, Stephenie A’Len, Megan Jiggins, Rebecca Donnelly, Juliana Marques, Georgia Bryan. Substitutes (repeated): Jennifer Stanhope, Laura Borein, Toni Brown, Lisa Nepean, Angela Holden.

Referee: Cristiana Hattersley (Southend-on-Sea).

Assistant Referees: Michael Iddenden-Smith (Thurrock) and Connor Cranfield (Harlow).

Fourth Official: Mariusz Burchan (Braintree).

Attendance: 110.


Marquis 4-1 Palmers (Essex Sunday Junior Cup Final)

Chris Evans reports…

Marquis 4-1 Palmers, Sunday 8th April 2018, The Meadow, Kick-Off 10:30am, Essex Sunday Junior Cup Final.

A brace inside the opening 15 minutes from David Lorimer set Marquis en route to Essex Sunday Junior Cup victory, with strikes from Jamie Guy and Liam Bailey sealing a 4-1 win over Palmers who pulled a late goal back through Asa Lawrence.

Colchester & District Sunday League Division One side Marquis lifted the Junior Cup in just their third season as YouTube sensations Palmers, from the Thurrock Association Sunday League, were defeated in Saffron Walden. With over 212,000 subscribers to their online channel, Palmers are making waves both nationally and internationally in Sunday football, but they were undone by a fast start from Marquis in both sides’ first County Cup final.

“That’s history!” proclaimed beaming Marquis boss Paul Bugg who couldn’t praise his side enough after the game. “When you win a County Cup that’s history and we have two other cups to try and win, which we want to win. I’ve only been here six months and there’s belief and desire and they’re all good mates. That’s what they’re all about.”

“Two early goals from David Lorimer really put us in command of the game, but I’m just over the moon. It’s just unbelievable. To see this team achieve what they’ve achieved in so little time is quite astonishing. They’re all good mates on the pitch and good friends off the pitch and this is the culmination of all that hard work.”

With ex-professionals Jamie Guy and Kevin McLeod among the Marquis ranks, Bugg’s says his side can certainly call on some expertise: “Jamie used to play with me when I had Botolphs a few years back and many of the lads here have played together before. Obviously to have their experience on the pitch is crucial and I think today, from the off, we just looked like we were the better side.”

“I think basically today we had a little bit too much up top for them, and every time we got beyond them we looked like scoring. They’re obviously a very good team. They’ve got to the final of the Essex Junior Cup and there were hundreds of teams in it. Palmers put a hell of an effort in and, even at 4-0 down, they showed that desire and scored a consolation. To be fair they did the best they could.”

The quick start Bugg alluded to saw Lorimer sprint clear and lob a finish past Palmers goalkeeper Garron Price on just 3 minutes. That lead was doubled with 14 played when Lorimer rifled a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner. A chance for Marquis’ Guy saw the forward get through on goal only to be denied by a good block from Price and, minutes later, Marquis hit the post. Lorimer came inches from a first-half hat-trick.

Guy’s fierce shot deflected just wide in first-half stoppage time but, just four minutes into the second period, he scored his side’s third as he headed in a left-wing cross. Palmers’ Lee Atkinson then watched his shot well saved by Marquis’ Glen Morrison before Marquis added a fourth on 74 minutes. Bailey smashed a thunderbolt in off the underside of the bar from distance.

But Palmers kept going. Connor White’s zipping effort along the floor flew just wide and, with two minutes remaining, they pulled one back through a good Lawrence finish. Marquis weren’t to be denied, however, as they were left to celebrate Junior Cup success.

Marquis: Glen Morrison, Ryan Brady, Ryan Minter, Nathan English, Daniel Bugg, Stewart Tomkinson, Liam Bailey, Craig Minter, David Lorimer, Kevin McLeod, Jamie Guy. Substitutes (repeated): Robin Miller, Sean Catney, Alex Young, Daniel Martin, Adam Jennings.

Palmers: Garron Price, Tony Connor, Dan Smith, Lee Atkinson, Aaron Knowles, Luke Grayson, Elliot Gresham, Josh Knowles, Lee Henry, Lewis Francis, Nick Horne. Substitutes (repeated): Graham Hazelwood, Asa Lawrence, Shane Garrett, Richard Hunt, Connor White.

Referee: James Parks (Colchester).

Assistant Referees: Nathan Kitteridge (Harlow) and Simon Lyons (Braintree).

Fourth Official: Sam Wigington (Thurrock).

Attendance: 204.