Unbeaten sides clash at Junction Meadow
SOMETHING has to give tomorrow when the two unbeaten sides in the Senior Division of the Metaltec SIL meet at Junction Meadow.Leiston St Margarets top the table by virtue of playing two more matches than Stowupland Falcons, who have a 100 per cent record to protect.
By Elvin King
SOMETHING has to give tomorrow when the two unbeaten sides in the Senior Division of the Metaltec SIL meet at Junction Meadow.
Leiston St Margarets top the table by virtue of playing two more matches than Stowupland Falcons, who have a 100 per cent record to protect.
Bookmarkers would have given long odds on these two clubs featuring high in the championship stakes with St Margarets living in the shadow of neighbours Leiston from the Ridgeons League.
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Secretary John Barker has been involved with the Saints since 1954 when he played his first game as a 14-year-old, and he says the manager Neil Cole's current squad is as good as any the club has produced.
“We had a team in the early sixties when Sizewell A power station was being built that was very good in old the Leiston League,” said Barker.
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“The current one matches that, but we are in for a real test tomorrow.
“We lost a couple of players in the summer including talented striker Darren Harper to Grundisburgh, but now have more depth in the squad.
“If we could pay all our players we would. But as we can't we don't pay anybody.”
St Margarets are sitting on a goldmine, however, with their ground recently valued 'in the millions' if developed for housing.
“We own the land and know its worth,” added Barker. “But we have no intention of selling even though builders have promised to provide a new ground and build a clubhouse elsewhere.”
PE teacher Cole has been involved with St Margarets for many years and has been manager for four steadily improving his squad with players who all live in the Leiston area.
Brantham Athletic, who have lost just once, have a full squad for their game against near neighbours East Bergholt.
Front-runner Brian Clarke picked up an ankle injury in the last minute of last Saturday's 4-1 win against Stonham but has been given the all clear to play.
With players returned from injury and late holidays Brantham are now looking to push on.
A spokesman said: “Last season's fixture was not for the purist, and let's hope this one will be remember for good football and nothing else.
“Despite Bergholt's indifferent start to the season we will not underestimate them.”
Bergholt include two ex-Brantham players - Chris French and Lewis Symes, who were both transferred pre-season.
Brantham manager Tony Hall was previously in charge at Bergholt, winning the title for the Gandish Road-based club and taking a number of Bergholt players with him when he switched before the start of last season.
Bergholt manager Glynn Hague said: “Last season both games were hard fought. We are hoping to turn our fortunes around by working hard for each other and start to move up the table.”
In the First Division of the Ridgeons League, three consecutive wins have seen Hadleigh United climb up to fourth. Manager Steve Jay said: “Tomorrow's home game against Saffron Walden can be used as a yardstick to show just how good we really are.
“A win could really see our season take off.”
Whitton United visit second-in-the-table Thetford with former Birmingham City player Ian Brown having left his position with the Whitton second team. He is currently coach to the Under-16's.