Relegation troubles over for IES?
HOCKEY: A TRIO of new faces could help Ipswich East Suffolk avoid what has become an annual fight against relegation from Premier Division A of the Printwize East League.
By Martin White
A TRIO of new faces could help Ipswich East Suffolk avoid what has become an annual fight against relegation from Premier Division A of the Printwize East League.
For the past two seasons, the Rushmere-based club has escaped the drop by the skin of their teeth, but this season hopes are high that those days are gone.
They made a highly-encouraging start with a 3-3 draw against Bishop's Stortford, but also carved out many more scoring opportunities, which will give them hope for the future.
Skilful midfielder Matt Walker has moved to the club from Felixstowe and has slotted into the position left vacant by Colin Mannall, whose teaching job has taken him away from the area.
Walker scored on his debut and his power and all-round ability will be a big boost to IES. They have also picked up defender Matt Gardner, who played in the Northern League for Sheffield Bankers and midfielder Gavin Cole from nearby Harleston Magpies.
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All three gave a good account of themselves in the opening game, while the pacy Peter Elsom, who last season skippered the second team to promotion, linked well with Cole to score the second goal.
Goalkeeper Charlie Farrow has taken over the skipper's armband from Martin Reader and IES hope their strong squad will now be more of a force with which to be reckoned.
Will Fulker, who chipped in with seven league goals last season, has already opened his account in this campaign and his persistence will cause problems for most defences.
Tomorrow, IES travel to Cambridge City who started their programme with a 5-0 defeat at Crostyx, but the visitors are unlikely to take much notice of that result as the former national league side are strong favourites for the title.
A strong second team, this year led by Guy Whiting, entertain Cambridge City seconds, with much expected of highly promising forward, Tim Caston, while the thirds, skippered again by Richard Adams, take on Sudbury seconds at Copleston School.
Neil Slade has taken over as captain of the fourths from David Walsh, while goalkeeper Duncan Vaughan replaces Mark Howlett whose job has taken him to Cambridge.
John Wright will lead the fifth team at Waltham Forest thirds, while the sixth team tomorrow has a friendly against Colchester Veterans.
Last week, the sixths were the only winners among the men's sides with Brian Mitchell (2) and Barrie Whelpton (2) giving them a 4-0 league success against Havering fourths.
Other results: Royston 3 IES II 1 (Keedle); Waltham Forest 2 IES III 1(S Bouttell); IES IV 1 Waltham Forest II 3 (Klug); IES V 0 Thurrock II 3.
n IPSWICH East Suffolk Ladies play their second home game tomorrow in the Printwize East League Division Two South when Kent side Bromley are the visitors.
The Rushmere-based outfit must put last week's defeat by Colchester behind them and play with real confidence and believe in their ability to win.
They will be without Heather Ryland in the middle, but have Jan Taylor to add her strength to the team.
IES need to be alert, active and take control right from the start rather than letting the opposition dictact the pace and tactics.