Category Archives: Local sport

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



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.”


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

The Brentwood Cricket Festival is Back

Listen as Brentwood Cricket Club Chairman Paul Webb joined us in the studio to talk about The Brentwood Cricket Festival, including the annual match against the PCA England Masters, Adam Zampa, and some incredible performances by Brentwood’s teams this season.


Lakeside Speedway – POTTINGER: DON’T RULE US OUT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

BOSS Will Pottinger says there’s no reason why Lakeside should be ruled out of the running for Sunday’s Championship Fours at Redcar (2pm).

Heat-leader trio Nick Morris, Richard Lawson and Adam Ellis are joined by reserve Alfie Bowtell in what will be an invaluable afternoon of experience for the youngster.

Bowtell takes the place of the injured Kyle Newman, with Ben Morley also sidelined and Zach Wajtknecht unavailable.

Pottinger admits it’s a hard tournament to call but says Lakeside’s upper end strength could see them as genuine contenders.

“It’s the Fours at the end of the day and there’s always plenty of strong line-ups from everyone in the league,” Pottinger said.

“But you have to go into these meetings thinking you’ve got a chance and while we’ve just about been able to get four riders together, there’s no reason why we can’t do well.

“It would be good for the supporters and for the club if we could get a trophy in the bag this early in the season, but the boys will just go there and give it their best and see if that’s good enough.”

Gates open at Midday with start time at 2pm. Admission is £20 adults, £15 concessions, £5 children with Under-5’s being admitted free of charge.

LAKESIDE: Nick Morris, Richard Lawson, Adam Ellis, Alfie Bowtell.
NEWCASTLE: Stuart Robson, Ashley Morris, Tero Aarnio, Matej Kus.
IPSWICH: Rory Schlein, Danyon Hume, Cameron Heeps, Nico Covatti.
SCUNTHORPE: TBC, Josh Auty, Jake Allen, Gino Manzares.
SHEFFIELD: Broc Nicol, Todd Kurtz, Charles Wright, Lasse Bjerre.
REDCAR: Ben Barker, Thomas Jorgensen, Jonas B Andersen, Mikkel B Andersen.
EDINBURGH: Joel Andersson, Erik Riss, Mark Riss, Max Ruml.
BERWICK: Aaron Summers, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, David Howe, Kevin Doolan.
GLASGOW: Chris Harris, Richie Worrall, Claus Vissing, Lewis Kerr.
WORKINGTON: Ty Proctor, Dan Bewley, Rasmus Jensen, Mason Campton.
PETERBOROUGH: Scott Nicholls, Ulrich Ostergaard, Michael Palm Toft, Bradley Wilson-Dean.

Lakeside Speedway – MATCH REPORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE boss Will Pottinger admits they were beaten by the better side as they went down 52-38 in their top-of-the-table clash at Peterborough.

It was a first defeat in eight for the Hammers who also failed to pick up any points for their efforts for only the second time this season.

The Purfleet outfit were able to keep the hosts on their toes in the early stages before a Heat Five maximum saw Peterborough open up a six-point lead.

But Pottinger nominated captain Richard Lawson as a tactical substitute in the sixth, who went out and took the chequered flag in one of only two heat advantages on the night for the Hammers.

But Peterborough came on strong registering five race results in their favour in the space of six heats to stamp their authority on the fixture.

It proved to be a tough night overall for the Hammers, particularly without injured middle-order man Kyle Newman.

Lawson managed 15 points from his maximum allowance of seven rides while he was supported well by Adam Ellis who had another solid night at No.3.

No.1 Nick Morris endured a rare off night while Zach Wajtknecht experienced an up and down fixture on his return from international duty.

Alfie Bowtell struggled down at reserve as did Ben Morley who was withdrawn from the meeting after his fourth ride after he aggravated a thumb injury which initially made him a doubt for the meeting.

And while boss Pottinger was disappointed, he was also keen to reiterate that there’s still a long way to go in the campaign.

He said: “Congratulations to Peterborough, they were the better team on the night and it’s as simple as that.

“We had too long a tail towards the lower end and we obviously know Nick is capable of much better than what he did.

“I think we missed Kyle a bit because running rider replacement at that position when your reserves are struggling is tough.

“We’ve been on a really good run and this brings us back down to earth a little bit.

“It’s a disappointing result but it’s certainly not going to define our season.”

Hammers compete in the Championship Fours Tournament at Redcar on Sunday (2pm) before back-to-back fixtures against Glasgow.

They travel to Scotland next Friday (July 6, 7.30pm) before hosting the Tigers at the Arena-Essex Raceway on Saturday, July 7 (7.45pm).

PETERBOROUGH 52: Ulrich Ostergaard 12, Bradley Wilson-Dean 11, Scott Nicholls 9, Michael Palm Toft 7+3, Simon Lambert 6+2, Tom Bacon 5, Ellis Perks 2+1.
LAKESIDE 38: Richard Lawson 15, Adam Ellis 11, Nick Morris 5+1, Zach Wajtknecht 4, Ben Morley 2, Alfie Bowtell 1+1, Kyle Newman R/R.

Matt Paine leaves Billericay Town FC

Report from Leigh @beakster99

Billericay Town FC has announced the departure of midfielder, Matt Paine, who leaves to focus on his career in the police force. Matt signs out with many happy memories of his time at the club, securing the treble of the Bostik premier Title, the Velocity Cup, and the Essex Senior Cup in his single season at the AGP.

Having joined BTFC in June 2017 from National league side, Boreham Wood, he was considered a headline signing for the Blues given his background as an established player in the top tier of Non-League.

Exhibiting the outstanding leadership qualities that had made him a target for clubs in the past, he showed great character to fight his way into the team after an initial loan spell with Concord Rangers.

From November 2017, he became firmly established in the team and proved to be a vital component either in the back-line or in central midfield. Whilst his role was primarily defensive, he also contributed in front of goal, scoring three times last season.

Looking back at Matt’s footballing career before BTFC, he started out as a Colchester United trainee. In June 2007, after a successful six month loan spell, he signed for now defunct National South side, Thurrock FC. He spent three seasons with the Rocks where he played in the same team as ex-BTFC stopper, Rob Swaine.

After a series of impressive performances, he caught the eye of National League side, Braintree Town. In June 2010, he became an “Iron”. Matt would stay at Braintree for five seasons enjoying the most successful period in the club’s history.

Matt made 183 appearances for Braintree Town. After missing a chunk of the 2014-15 season, due to an opening day knee injury, Matt hit back with an outstanding 2015-16 season. A vital defensive lynch-pin, he even managed to score from the half-way line in a March 2016 League game v Kidderminster Harriers.

Instrumental in securing a record 3rd place for Braintree in the National League, Matt thrived under the management of the Cowley brothers. Ultimately, the season ended in disappointment after defeat in the play-off semi-final v Grimsby Town, and, in June 2016, Matt moved to Boreham Wood.

Matt signed for Billericay Town after a single season as an ever-present at Boreham Wood. After short loan spells at Braintree Town and Concord Rangers early in the season, Matt returned to BTFC and established himself as a starter.

Matt leaves BTFC with the best wishes of the fans and many thanks for his contribution to BTFC’s historic 2017-18 season.


2017-18: League 24 (6) – 3 Goals; Cup 15 (3) – 0 Goals

BTFC Debut
19 August, 2017: 1-3 v Dulwich Hamlet (A)

First Goal
23 December, 2017: 3-4 v Burgess Hill (A)

(*Data kindly provided by @btfcunofficial)

Essex Thanks Grassroots Football Award Winners

Chris Evans reports…


County FA Reveal Winners of FA and McDonald’s Accolades

Local volunteer heroes have been celebrated after the Essex County FA revealed the winners of the 2018 FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards, thanking those who make a positive difference in their club, league or local community.

The Grassroots Football Awards, known previously as the FA Community Awards, recognise and celebrate the work of individuals and groups to instil The FA’s ‘PRIDE’ values – Progressive, Respectful, Inclusive, Determination and Excellent.

Following receipt of a record 2,904 nominations (141 from Essex), The FA have worked alongside respective County FAs to select appropriate winners across numerous categories. On 9th July, The FA’s National Panel will meet to select national winners from the pool of County FA recipients to be formally announced at the 2018 FA Community Shield on 5th August. Essex’s winners are:

Coach of the Year: Jordan Stringer (Ivory United FC)

Community Project of the Year: Forest Crusaders Futsal Club

Charter Standard Club of the Year: Saffron Walden Community Youth FC

Charter Standard League of the Year: Essex Senior League

Supporter of the Year: Soledad Hall-Ballina (Island Girls FC)

Volunteer of the Year: Susana Delgado-Curtis (Basildon Boys & Girls Club FC)

Young Volunteer of the Year: Alfie Davidson (Frinton & Walton YFC)

Brendan Walshe, Chief Executive of the Essex County FA, reacted: “We’re fortunate to have a large number of excellent volunteers locally, many of whom are involved with some truly brilliant clubs. It’s our privilege to be able to recognise them through the Grassroots Football Awards and we hope they continue to inspire the next generation to get into the game.”

FA Chairman Greg Clarke added: “It’s been fantastic to see a record number of nominations for this year’s awards and hear so many stories of dedication and commitment throughout the grassroots game. These winners represent the diverse nature of football in this country and I would like to congratulate each and every one for their inspirational work.”


Big Leigh Signs for Big Cats

Dave Ryan reports…

Leopards have announced their first signing of the season, with centre Leigh Greenan returning for a third spell with the club.

The seven-footer played for National Cup winners Hemel Storm along with University of Essex last season, and is the first signing who will play for both the Big Cats and UofE.

Greenan came through the youth teams in his home top of Ipswich before linking up with Barking Academy where he first played for Leopards as a teenager during the 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons.

He returned to Barking Abbey before signing a pro contract with the Big Cats for the 2010/11 season as Leopards finished runners-up in Division One.

Former England & GB junior international Greenan then returned to Ipswich, helping them to promotion in the 2012/13 season and spending five years with the Suffolk club before signing for Storm last summer.

Head coach Thomas Baker is delighted with his first signing of the summer: “Signing Leigh is really important for us” he said.

“He is a model professional and always has a significant impact on every team he is on. From the conversations I’ve had with Leigh it is clear he is focussed on the season ahead. I really look forward to working with him as we look to put a team together to achieve promotion this year.

“Ipswich will forever be a massive part of Leigh’s journey and it is testament to what a great club they are when you see what a great player Leigh is.

“The signing of Leigh also solidifies the relationship between us and University of Essex. It is going to be an exciting journey for us this season and this signing is just the start of what is a bright future for the club.”

Greenan is excited about returning to the Big Cats: “I’m looking forward to an exciting season, going back to a club I played for when I was younger is exciting. I look forward to getting underway with the season and pushing for promotion to get the club back to Division One.”

The Director of Sport at the University of Essex, Dr Dave Parry, is pleased to see the partnership with Leopards already taking shape: “Our ambition is that the partnership between the University of Essex and Essex Leopards will be the start of a journey towards the highest echelons of the sport.

“At Essex we are committed to supporting the development of dual-career athletes, and the signing of Leigh Greenan, one of our highest profile scholarship athletes, to play for Leopards for the forthcoming season is symbolic of both our ambition and our continued commitment to an athlete-centred programme.”

Greenan will make his return in the Leopards’ kit at the Essex Classic at the Brentwood Centre on September 8/9th. Details at




Referees Celebrate 2017/18 Promotion Success

Chris Evans reports…


Essex County FA Praise Developmental Approach

61 Essex match officials are looking forward to the 2018/19 football season with heightened optimism having been recognised for their progressive approach and commitment by being elevated in the latest round of promotions.

Following a Promotions Panel Meeting at the Essex County FA, a list has been revealed detailing the referees and assistant referees who have been moved up thanks to high levels of development and their dedication to improving standards. The Promotions Panel consisted of current and former referees, working with information gathered by Referee Assessors.

Each of the match officials has been contacted by Senior Referee Development Officer, James Lisher, to personally inform them of their promotions to their respective new levels. “I’d like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Essex County FA, to thank all the leagues who provided us with support in developing our match officials,” he commented.

“There’s never been a better opportunity to officiate within the senior levels of the game thanks to the development schemes we have in place. An increasing number of officials are applying and showing they have the ability to officiate at a higher level. The way we train and assess our match officials is adapting as football is consistently developing.”

Referees Promoted to Level 2A – Panel Select Referee (Conference Premier): Lloyd Wood (Romford)

Referees Promoted to Level 3-2B – Panel Referee (Conference North and South): Dean Skipper (Rainham)

Referees Promoted to Level 3 – Contributory League Referee: Joe Wrigley (Halstead), Jack Willmore (Tendring), Jamie Pope (Rochford), Rhys Battye (Thurrock), Farai Hallam (Redbridge), Brett Grant (Castle Point), Craig Pullen (Havering)

Referees Promoted to Level 4 – Supply League Referee: Nathan Oakes (Colchester), Joe Burgess (Castle Point), Leo Del Rosso (Brentwood), Paul Sturton (Chelmsford), Sam Wigington (Thurrock), Thomas Johnson (Harlow)

Referees Promoted to Level 5 – Senior County Referee: Adekola Adeyemi (Basildon), Ayesemuate Agho (Harlow), Joe Alborough (Leigh-on-Sea), Leigh Ballinger (Basildon), Paul Bursey (Billericay), Connor Cranfield (Harlow), Callum Dorling (Harlow), Toby Enstone (Tiptree), Matthew Friend (Dagenham), Gemma Gardiner (Clacton-on-Sea), Cristiana Hattersley (Westcliff-on-Sea), Michael Iddenden-Smith (Purfleet), Paul Killoran (Upminster), Paul Lingard Snr (Benfleet), Simon Lyons (Halstead), Alan Moore (Billericay), Jack Ridge (Witham), Charlie Roberts (Romford), Errol Souter (Colchester), Neil Strachan (Witham), Adrian Summerfield (Basildon), James Tape (Basildon), Matthew Webb (Braintree)

Referees Promoted to Level 6 – County Referee: Mariusz Burchan (Braintree), David Cavanagh (Brentwood), Paul Clarke (Waltham Abbey), Rhys Collins (Clacton-on-Sea), Richard Fox (Leigh-on-Sea), Adam Gordon (Shoeburyness), Conner Hodgkins (Clacton-on-Sea), Lee Jarvis (Grays), Nathan Kitteridge (Harlow), Ivo Komsiyski (Woodford Green), Howard Mackler (Southminster), Charlie Nicholls (Billericay), Richard Ramjane (Chelmsford), Robert Reddy (Brentwood), Charlie Roberts (Romford), Luke Scottow (Southend-on-Sea), Robert Steptoe (Brentwood), Neil Troubridge (Hornchurch), Robert Watson (Dunmow), Greig Williamson (Harlow)

Meanwhile, the following assistant referees have been promoted to become Panel Select Assistant Referees: Aaron Farmer (Colchester), David Harrison (Wickford), Karl Sear (Chelmsford)



Concord’s Jack Is CelebrateEssex Treasurer Winner

Chris Evans reports…


Stalwart Smith Has Overseen Rangers’ Steep Rise

Concord Rangers FC’s elevation from the Vange & District League to the National League is well documented in history, and few can take more credit for their outstanding rise to prominence than Jack Smith, winner of the Essex County FA’s #CelebrateEssex ‘Treasurer’ Award.

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

Concord’s rise to the second tier of non-league football has been steep – especially in the last decade – and Jack’s ability to make ends meet financially helped to build solid foundations for that progress in the 1970s. “In the season 1973/74 I was approached by the Concord Chairman, Albert Lant, asking me to be their Club Secretary,” said Jack. “I accepted.”

“Then, in 1983, we managed to lease some land from Castle Point Borough Council in Thames Road, Canvey. I was able to enlist volunteers to build the clubhouse and ground. No one was paid for their work. We received a grant from Essex County Council which covered the material costs of the building.”

Jack, an accountant by trade, organised the funds, labour and materials and worked many hours on the site himself. He continued: “It took two years to develop the ground and building and we first played at the new ground in 1985. In later years, three extensions were added to the original clubhouse, including a second bar.”

It was around this time that The Beach Boys enjoyed a particular boost in their growth. In 1988/89, the club joined the Essex Intermediate League, where they successfully won league and cup competitions. This led to them stepping up to the Essex Senior League in 1991. Albert stepped down as Chairman and Jack was then elected Chairman of the club for the next two years.

Unfortunately, health problems forced him to spend some time away from football but he was able to return to the club as Treasurer in 1998, a position he still holds to this day. His eldest son, Antony, became Chairman and Concord have won many leagues and cups since on the way to their current status in the Vanarama National League South.

During that time, Jack has rubbed shoulders with some prominent names, including Lincoln City’s ex-Concord duo Danny and Nicky Cowley, who he predicts will become a Premier League management team one day. And there are many other figures involved at the club who he believes have a major part to play in club operations off the field.

“With regard to the Treasurer’s role at Concord, I work very closely with the club manageress, Jayne Sisley,” he detailed. “I see her most days at the club and she gives me a detailed weekly statement of income and expenditure. At home I get this processed onto spreadsheets and I then produce a balance sheet and profit and loss statements.”

“I must say, Jayne’s involvement is crucial to my work as Treasurer. We pay all credit accounts by direct payment to their respective bank accounts. The club’s income primarily comes from sponsorship, gate takings and bar receipts at parties held at the club.”

Jack confesses that one day he’d like to pass the Treasurer position on to his youngest son, Jack Junior, and he has a word of advice for anyone taking on a voluntary role: “Anyone wishing to be involved in the running of a club will need very thick skin,” he shared.

“Football is all about opinions, and frequently you get told of what is wrong in your club.  We all do what we believe is right for our club. Without a doubt, Concord punch well above their weight when you consider our opponents. Losing is always a bad weekend for us all but, when your team wins, everything becomes worthwhile.”



Lakeside Speedway – FRIDAY PREVIEW

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE travel to league leaders Peterborough on Friday in what promises to be a scintillating top-of-the table clash (7.30pm).

The Hammers sit just a single point behind the Panthers in the current standings and would leapfrog their opponents if they were able to extend their unbeaten streak.

It’s now eight wins on the spin in all competitions for Lakeside with one of only two defeats this term coming at Peterborough in their opening fixture of the season.

And with Peterborough themselves losing just one of their last seven, it’s certainly a mouth-watering head-to-head in prospect.

Hotshot Zach Wajtknecht returns to the side after missing the Hammers’ last three fixtures due to international commitments representing Great Britain while rider replacement will again operate for Kyle Newman who is still ruled out through injury.

Lakeside promoter Jon Cook has been thrilled with life in the Championship so far and is hopeful of big things from his current septet.

“The team has gelled together so very quickly under the stewardship of Will (Pottinger – team manager) and they’re a very tight unit,” Cook said.

“They’re forming something of a formidable group and that must be quite scary to everyone else in this tight-knit Championship league that we’re delighted to be a part of.

“We’ve already progressed in the Championship Shield, we’re already through to the next round of the Knockout Cup and we’re already taking stock on what has been a brilliant start in the league as well.”

PETERBOROUGH: Scott Nicholls, Ellis Perks, Bradley Wilson-Dean, Michael Palm Toft, Ulrich Ostergaard, Simon Lambert, Tom Bacon.
LAKESIDE: Nick Morris, Zach Wajtknecht, Adam Ellis, Kyle Newman, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Alfie Bowtell.

GB Call Up for Steel

Dave Ryan reports…

Former Essex Leopard Josh Steel will be hoping to lead Great Britain to success in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this week.

The Harlow-born guard was the youngest player to ever start in a Division One play-off final when he helped the Big Cats win the treble in 2012 aged just 15.

Having also played for Division One rivals Kent Crusaders followed by a short spell at American college Duquesne, Steel now plays for British Basketball League side Surrey Heat.

The 21-year-old has been included in a 14-man GB squad for a pair of must-win games in Glasgow this weekend with Britain hosting Estonia on Friday before Israel visit on Monday.

Steel was surprisingly overlooked for the England squad who were overshadowed by neighbours Scotland in the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, but Britain will rely on Steel to play a key role as they look for the two wins which will send them through to the second stage of qualifying with a place in China next year being their goal.

The 6’5” player learned his basketball at Harlow Hawks, and averaged 9.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Scorchers this season as they surprised most observers by finishing fifth in the BBL.

Lakeside Speedway – MATCH REPORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE stormed to their biggest win of the campaign with a breathtaking 61-29 home success over Scunthorpe on Saturday night.

It completed a quickfire double for the Hammers who clinched a significant away 45-44 victory to the well fancied Scorpions on Friday.

Despite being without Zach Wajtknecht, who was representing Great Britain in the European Under-21 Semi-Final, as well as Kyle Newman through a shoulder injury, the Purfleet outfit continued their ruthless form to close in on league leaders Peterborough.

They won 13 of the 15 races as they again fired a warning to the rest of their Championship rivals.

Team Manager Will Pottinger said: “It’s an excellent victory considering that we were missing Kyle and Zach, but we managed to cover the absences well with our heat leaders all scoring double figures and our reserves scoring 17 points between them.

“Nicolaj (Busk Jakobsen) did a decent job and we thank him for helping us out.

“Richard (Lawson) deserved his paid maximum and I can’t really ask for much more from the Lakeside riders at the moment.

“This win sets us up nicely for our match at Peterborough next week and we’ll be looking to come away from that one with another positive result.”

The Hammers head to the East of England Arena to take on the Panthers on Friday (June 29, 7.30pm).

LAKESIDE 61: Nick Morris 14, Adam Ellis 13+1, Richard Lawson 12+3, Ben Morley 10+1, Alfie Bowtell 7+1, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 5+2, Kyle Newman R/R.
SCUNTHORPE 29: Josh Auty 9, Jason Garrity 6, David Howe 5+1, Jake Allen 4+2, Gino Manzares 4, Danny Phillips 1, Steve Worrall R/R.


The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE team boss Will Pottinger admits his side have “momentum” after a nail-biting away win at Scunthorpe.

The Hammers grabbed a 45-44 victory at the Eddie Wright Raceway thanks to Richard Lawson’s clever last heat decider win.

Lawson managed to get past Jason Garrity and Jake Allen and hang on for a vital success. Now Pottinger insists his side mustn’t be “complacent” ahead of the return in Essex on Saturday night.

He said: “That Heat 15 was big for us. Everyone has gone home happy and with confidence ahead of our home meeting with Scunthorpe. It would have been very different if we’d lost narrowly in the end.

“We’re on a winning run and feel like we have some momentum. It was a bit nail-biting at the end. But Richard came good in Heat 15. He came past them on the inside and he had Jason Garrity and Jake Allen on his tail.

“Richard did a great job. Garrity was all over him but he did just enough to win and get us over the line for a big win.

“Scunthorpe have got a good solid team. That result keeps us up at the top of the table which is obviously where we want to be.

“Everyone played their part. The reserves probably made the difference because they out-scored the home guys and that was massive.

“Now we must focus on Saturday night’s meeting against Scunthorpe at home and another win will keep the pressure on Peterborough who are above us.

“If we can keep up our good home record against Scunthorpe it will set us up nicely for when we go to Peterborough next week.

“I think it’s important we stay on our guard at home and don’t get complacent. We’ve got good enough riders I’m confident wouldn’t do that anyway.”

It was a see-saw battle in the early stages at Scunny but the Hammers established a three-point lead after Heat 11.

But the lead was cut to just one-point and then the last three heats were shared in a nerve-shredding finale, Lawson keeping his nerve to win the final heat and complete a fine paid 14 return.

Pottinger also admits that it’s now crunch time for the Hammers as they face some big clashes over the next fortnight.

He added: “This is now getting to the business end of the season. We are racing against the well-fancied or teams at the top of the table so any points that we take off them or victories, it’s a massive boost.

“If we get results against the big sides it sends out a message that we mean business, especially away from home.

“We’ve got such a good home track advantage when it comes down to aggregate matches we’ve got a good chance to win over two legs.

“But our away form is excellent, we’ve only lost twice away this season and we’ve got to keep that going.”

Scunthorpe 44: Jake Allen 13+2, Jason Garrity 12, Josh Auty 9+2, Charles Wright 6+1, Danny Phillips 2+1, Gino Manzares 2.
Lakeside 45: Richard Lawson 13+1, Adam Ellis 8+1, Nick Morris 8, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 6, Alfie Bowtell 5+3, Ben Morley 5+1.


Grassroots Football Festival – Entries Open

Chris Evans reports…


Clubs Invited to Attend Colchester Event

Teams are being invited to Colchester’s University of Essex campus to enjoy SSE Wildcats sessions, recreational small-sided matches and a Walking Football tournament at the Essex County FA Grassroots Football Festival on Saturday 14th July.

Each year the festival (formerly known as ‘Community Football Day’) provides as many opportunities and elements of the game as possible. Similar to last season’s model, there will be solely non-competitive tournaments (except for the open-age section, which will be competitive). Three sessions will run for different age groups from 9:00am-6:45pm.

The festival has progressed rapidly based on feedback from participants, and they have quickly gained in popularity. The non-competitive element eliminates pressure and expectations, especially for new teams or those who are experiencing a new format for the first time.

The festival, this year in partnership with Boots2Africa, is divided into two events to maximise the number of teams who can join in. This is the first of the two dates, aimed primarily at the county’s geographical Group 1 (Braintree, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring) and Group 2 (Brentwood, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Uttlesford).

A second festival later in the Summer will cater for Group 3 (Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock) and Group 4 (Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest). This will also include a disability element, as well as 7v7-to-9v9 transitioning.

Senior Football Development Officer Danielle Warnes explained: “We’d love to see as many teams within each category as possible. Anyone who has already entered is welcome to encourage parents, siblings and other family members to join us too. We’ll have refreshments stands and, fingers crossed, the weather will be on our side so we hope it’s a fun day for all!”

Danielle has explained how one of the key elements of the festival will be to transition players between different formats of the game as they move up the age groups, as well as assisting their coaches in adapting to the changes in-between seasons. She added: “We know clubs and teams are always looking to support the next element of the game.”

“It’s crucial to allow teams to be creative in exploring new formations and playing positions without the pressure of the scoreline. It’s equally important for the coaches and managers to see their players on a different-sized pitch and in different positions so they can understand how to support them for the new season in their new format.”

Team entries can be made at

Foundation (8:30am-11:30am)

SSE Wildcats Session (5-11-Year-Olds)

5v5 Girls Festival (Under 9s for 2018/19)

FA Charter Standard 5v5 to 7v7 Festival (Under 9s for 2018/19)

Youth (12:30pm-3:30pm)

FA Charter Standard 9v9 Girls Festival (Under 12s for 2018/19)

FA Charter Standard 9v9 to 11v11 Festival (Under 13s for 2018/19)

Open-Age (4:00pm-6:45pm)

Adult Female 6v6 – Adult Male 7v7

50+ Walking Football


Essex 2017/18 Fair Play Award Winners Revealed

Chris Evans reports…


Teams Praised for Positive Approach to the Game

15 local Essex football teams have been commended for their “sportsmanship and attitude towards how the game should be played” following the announcement of the 2017/18 Essex County FA Fair Play winners.

The County FA recently called for honesty, integrity and respect to be recognised with nominations from the grassroots football community. Anyone was able to nominate a side they felt had displayed consistent high levels of conduct and competed in the true spirit of the game.

Submissions were received and assessed by a specialist panel and winners were identified in several categories. The County FA were looking for evidence of outstanding sportsmanship and fair play in as much detail as possible, and the winners were:

Open-Age Male

1st: Danbury & Bicknacre (Pope & Smith Chelmsford Sunday League)

2nd: Railway Academicals Reserve Team (Saturday) (Southend Borough & District Football Combination)

3rd: Dunmow Rhodes (Braintree & North Essex Sunday League)

Open-Age Female

1st: Beacon Hill Rovers (Essex County Women’s League)

2nd: Alresford Colne Rangers (Essex County Women’s League)


1st: Basildon Soccability (Essex Soccability League)

Youth Boys (Competitive)

1st: Basildon Boys Club Under 15s (Leopards) (Southend & District Junior League)

2nd: FC Clacton Under 12s (Blues) (Colchester & District Youth League)

Youth Boys (Non-Competitive)

1st: Wivenhoe Tempest Under 11s (Reds) (Colchester & District Youth League)

Youth Girls (Competitive)

1st: Leigh Ramblers Under 15s (Essex County Girls’ League)

2nd: Hutton Under 18s (Essex County Girls’ League)

3rd: C & K Basildon Under 15s (Essex County Girls’ League)

Youth Girls (Non-Competitive)

1st: Frinton & Walton Under 11s (Hurricanes) (Essex County Girls’ League)

2nd: Leigh Ramblers Under 10s (Essex County Girls’ League)

3rd: Springfield Under 10s (Essex County Girls’ League)

Essex County FA Welfare Officer, Helen Hever, reacted: “We would like to express our thanks for the support shown in nominating teams for this award. This was a wonderful opportunity to recognise teams who embrace fair play.”

“These clubs make the football experience more enjoyable, not only for their team but for their opponents. Football is, of course, a competitive game, so having an award for fair play gives us a chance to reward those who are nominated for their sportsmanship and attitude towards how the game should be played.”



Lakeside Speedway – FRIDAY PREVIEW

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE are gearing up for important back-to-back fixtures against strongly fancied Scunthorpe this weekend.

The Hammers travel to North Lincolnshire on Friday (June 22, 7.30pm) before hosting the Scorpions at the Arena-Essex Raceway on Saturday (June 23, 7.45pm).

Second-placed Lakeside will be without star youngster Zach Wajtknecht for both trips who is abroad representing Great Britain in the European Under-21 Championship.

Hammers have booked Berwick’s Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen for both meetings with rider replacement operating for Kyle Newman who is out with a shoulder injury.

Team manager Will Pottinger said: “We had a good win against Berwick last week and their only real resistance came from Nikolaj.

“So he was on my radar as a potential guest and I saw enough last week to suggest he can do a good job for us.

“Scunthorpe have had injury problems of their own to the likes of Stevie Worrall and Stefan Nielsen, but that hasn’t stopped them starting the season well.

“So we know we’re in for two tough matches but the boys are riding well as a team at the minute and fingers crossed we can add more points to our total over the next couple of days.”

SCUNTHORPE: Charles Wright, Stefan Nielsen R/R, Josh Auty, Jake Allen, Jason Garrity, Danny Phillips, Gino Manzares.
LAKESIDE: Nick Morris, Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen, Adam Ellis, Kyle Newman R/R, Richard Lawson, Ben Morley, Alfie Bowtell.

MATCH PREVIEW | Essex v Nottinghamshire

Essex return to County Championship action tomorrow: Image courtesy of Essex Cricket

Essex now concentrate once again on the red ball game with back-to-back home matches in the Specsavers County Championship starting on Wednesday when they entertain Nottinghamshire at The Cloudfm County Ground.

In their last fixture in the competition, Essex beat Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford, a victory that saw the victors complete the “double” over the Red Rose County. The win saw the Champions register their third win in Championship cricket this year.

Head Coach Anthony McGrath is hoping that his charges can add to that success over the next two matches. “After these two games there is quite a gap before we play four-day cricket again because the T20 season starts” he said.

“Therefore, it’s important that we get as many points as we can from these next two games. We are targeting at least one win from these two games and from where we are in the table right now, it would set us up nicely when we return to Championship cricket later in the season.

“I was delighted with the win against Lancashire, they are a good side and if you look at their side on paper, you would say that perhaps they are under-achieving a little bit. It was a really, really important win for us and to get two wins against them this season has been very satisfying. We’ve got them out of the way now and I’m sure they will pick up plenty of points this season.”

Essex will be without captain Ryan ten Doeschate for the match with Nottinghamshire as he completes a two-match ban and the side will be led in his absence by Tom Westley.

“It’s unfortunate that Ryan will be missing but we just have to get on with it” McGrath stated. “Any absence for whatever reason allows someone else to come in and grab their opportunity.

Essex have managed just 6 batting bonus points this summer and that is an area McGrath is anxious to improve quickly.

“I still feel that there is a lot more to come from our side, particularly in the batting where I am looking for us to step-up,” he said.

“The mitigating circumstances would be that the games have been fairly low-scoring affairs in our Championship matches this season. It’s not been easy but we have been below-par with the bat. Having said that, we’ve still managed to pick up three wins.

“Hopefully we can start to get some serious runs on the board from now on and give our bowlers some runs to really play with. We do need to start getting more batting bonus points because they can really make a difference by the end of the season.

“If you look at the table now, I know the first game was washed out but if you add in a few more batting points to the table, we’d be top and that shows just how important bonus points are. We have to start getting some serious batting points on the board and hopefully that can start against Nottinghamshire.”

The visitors, who were promoted from Division Two at the end of last season, start the match one place and 6 points adrift of third-placed Essex who, in turn are 7 points behind leaders Somerset. The West Country side though have only played 5 matches, one fewer than Essex and Nottinghamshire.

Essex Squad to face Nottinghamshire:

21 Tom Westley (C)
31 Adam Wheater (WK)
25 Ravi Bopara
6 Varun Chopra
1 Matt Coles
26 Alastair Cook
11 Simon Harmer
28 Dan Lawrence
19 Michael Pepper
44 Jamie Porter
94 Matt Quinn
13 Neil Wagner

Report provided by Essex CCC


Lakeside Speedway – KYLE NEWMAN UPDATE

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE’s Kyle Newman has received some positive news regarding his collarbone injury.

The Hammers’ middle-order man crashed out of Friday’s win over Berwick and was withdrawn due to a suspected broken collarbone.

But x-rays show no broken bones and that the AC joint between the shoulder and collarbone is displaced.

Newman will require physiotherapy and is likely to miss the upcoming home and away fixtures against Scunthorpe – but could feature in the trip to Peterborough on June 29.

Lakeside Speedway – MATCH REPORT

The latest from the Lakeside Speedway Press Office…

LAKESIDE produced another dominant home display to see off previous league leaders Berwick 56-34 at The Arena-Essex Raceway – but it may have come at a cost.

Middle order man Kyle Newman was unbeaten by a visitor in his opening two rides, but was collected by Bandits’ reserve Dany Gappmaier in Heat Eight.

Newman landed heavily and was withdrawn from the rest of the meeting with a suspected broken collarbone.

It put a dampener on what was otherwise another hugely encouraging Purfleet performance for the Hammers – who were already riding without Zach Wajtknecht who is in the Czech Republic representing Great Britain in the World Under-21 Semi-Finals.

The remaining five riders stepped up to the plate though, securing a sixth straight win in all competitions.

It moved them up to second place in the standings, with Peterborough the new leaders after their win at Scunthorpe on the same night.

Hammers team boss Will Pottinger said: “It was a fabulous win considering that we were without Zach and then lost Kyle Newman to a suspected broken collarbone after two rides.

“Both Ben (Morley) and Alfie (Bowtell) had to have seven outings each but everyone performed on the night to cover the absences.

“It was a long night so we thank the fans for sticking with us throughout.”

Hammers opened with three successive 5-1s and never looked in any real danger throughout the clash.

Lakeside travel to Scunthorpe on Friday (June 22) before hosting the Scorpions the following night (Saturday, June 23, 7.45pm.)

LAKESIDE 56: Nick Morris 14, Adam Ellis 12, Ben Morley 11+2, Richard Lawson 9, Alfie Bowtell 6+4, Kyle Newman 4+2, Zach Wajtknecht R/R.
BERWICK 34: Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen 12, Aaron Summers 7+1, David Howe 6+2, Kevin Doolan 6, Theo Pijper 3+1, Dany Gappmaier 0, Jye Etheridge R/R.