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2017/2018 Season Report:
This season was not only one of transition for the new look 7s, but also one that threw up many challenges. If this wasn’t apparent as we opened the season with an emphatic 5 – 2 home victory, it became crystal clear in the next fixture: away to Loughborough Town 5s, (who would go on to finish 2nd), with a bare 11, no keeper and a 9 – 3 defeat. Although, credit must be given for a more than brave 2 nd half display, which ended 3 – 3! The problem evident here was to remain a headache throughout the season, namely, player availability. The consequent lack of continuity in selection made it difficult to foster a team identity and pattern of play, with promising youngsters, such as Oliver Pratt and Torin Bird, being claimed by higher teams almost immediately, whilst the midfield too often lacked an experienced general to direct the ever improving and willing Rob McCleish and Mark Bannister. Not surprisingly, therefore, Andy Read was the top scorer, with a measly 5 goals, and he had been poached well before Christmas too!
Come mid-November, however, the club bit the bullet and axed a team. This didn’t solve the availability problem, but it enabled the team to establish a consistent core, and although results didn’t improve before Christmas, team spirit and performance levels did. More experience was added to help the regular youngsters: Kye Hayden; Xander Hibbert and Rohan Takhar, and the benefits really started to become apparent in 2018, with the first game bringing the first away point. Some heavy defeats still came at the hands of the top teams, but the final third of the season brought two victories and some thrilling close encounters with sides eyeing the top spots, as Dylan Mayne flashed meteorically across the 7 th ’s sky with 4 goals.
As they’d say on MOTD, Rob McCleish could always be relied upon to “put in a good shift”, but he lost out narrowly in the player of the year stakes to Matt Jones, who would always put all parts of his body on the line, no matter how painful the consequences. With that sort of spirit, the dawning of open leagues and, hopefully, greater availability, the future may not be orange, but it most certainly can be bright.
The 2018/2019 League Table can be seen at the the MRHA Website here: MRHA South East 4
2018-2019 Team Captain: Doug Cave