Blofield’s pre-season preparations have finished and the real business begins tomorrow with a tough looking trip to much fancied Caister (kick off 6.30pm).
Its fair to say that manager Didwell has probably aged about 10 years during this time as he has had to deal with the knowledge that at least seven of last year’s squad decided to move on or were unable to commit for the forthcoming season.
So, we have said good bye and good luck to Tom Wright (Mulbarton), Matt Banham (Yelverton), James Basey-Fisher (Dussindale), Orren Oliver (Gt Yarmouth), Abdul Ferej (moved back to London), Elliot Gibbs (work) & Dan Stobbart (work).
Kris Hart’s injury woes continue, and he is still considering his next steps. Whatever he decides to do, both him and JBF have given a lot to the club over the last decade or so and should Kris decide to ‘retire’ or move on, the club are extremely thankful for both their efforts and achievements over that time.
Danny Mckail is continuing to play, although, for most of the time, this will be for the Reserves, alongside Sterry Cup winning player Dean Fitzgerald, who returns to the club after a long injury lay off. Rumours that another old boy, Danny Brown, may well help the Reserves when he can, we shall see!!
Of the new player’s coming into the first team squad, Ben Morgan returns for his third spell, having had two very successful seasons with both Norwich CBS & Easton.
In defence, the club have secured the services of Andrew Fulcher and Darren Critchlow, who in recent years have both contributed to Mattishall’s successful cup runs.
Adam Bellingham has made the step up to Senior football from Hempnall and he is joined by Shane Dunthorne (striker), midfielders Aarron Hooper and Shane Empson. Seventeen year old Calum Cox (striker) has also joined 'full time' from Norwich United under 18s, having also played occasionally for the first team last season.
Regrettably Lewis Rivett has injured his knee again in pre-season and we await the prognosis.
Youngsters Rhys May & Ryan Frankland have been promoted from last year’s Reserves squad, alongside Alain Medina, who had an extended taste of first team involvement towards the end of last season.
The reserves are rebuilding again under the continued management of Liam Barnes and Andy Guest as they begin the new season in Division Four on Wednesday with a trip to Wymondham. Their numbers have been swelled by an influx of young players from Blofield United Youth under 18s, which is good to see.
Training has been well attended with an average of over 20 players at each session, all under the guidance of Level 2 coach Adam Varvel, assisted by Dylan Stott (who is studying for his UEFA B).
Pre-Season results have been mixed and got off to the worst possible start with a 10-0 hammering at the hands of a very strong Norwich Utd side.
Things improved somewhat a week later, with more players available, both the first team and the Reserves had wins against Sprowston Athletic, 5-1 and 3-2 respectively.
The first team then travelled to Bungay and despite seeing plenty of the ball, did very little in the final third and the impressive hosts scored twice late on to record a well - deserved 3-0 victory.
Next up was the first game at the Rec against Reepham, who were relegated last season from the Premier Division. A decent contest saw the Beavers win 3-1 and their final game this Saturday saw another victory against another Division 1 team, Yelverton, by the score 3-2.
Meanwhile yours truly made an ill attempt at a return to playing for the Reserves in a friendly away at Division 2 side Freethorpe. With several players more than young enough to call me ‘Dad’, my return lasted a mere 20 minutes before my thigh muscle gave way. Having trailed 3-0 at one stage, the young lads did rally to bring it back to 3-2 before the home side scored a late fourth goal to clinch the game. Still managers Barnes and Guest had 19 players at their disposal that night and they have followed that game with another 4-2 defeat, this time at home to Yelverton Reserves.
There is some hope though that the blend of youth and experience, that is available this year, will help the Reserves have a much more successful season than the previous two.
Off the field, the Club had two very successful evenings in the summer, playing host to the Blofield Youth End of Season Presentation evening and the Sea Scouts Summer Jamboree. Thanks to all the committee members who worked well into the night running the bar for these two events.
We’re also indebted to Kevin Hunt of Grabs by Hunt for sponsoring Blofield for the next two seasons. The first team will be wearing the new green kit tomorrow night.
Best of luck to both teams for the new season.
Updated 21:50 - 13 Aug 2018 by Paul Warman