Nottsborough, formed by two old boys of Loughborough and Nottingham Universities, will start their 30th season in just a few weeks. We have come a long way from the side that started in the Wimbledon and District League, playing in Wimbledon Park. Joining the Southern Olympic League was the stimulus to run more teams. The new millennium brought us into the Southern Amateur League and our home at the lawns of Tolworth, Kingston University. The facilities here have got better and better and we now play on a super pitch overlooked by excellent changing rooms and a superb bar on the first floor. We still have players from Loughborough and Nottingham University joining us but we now welcome all University players and their friends. We now run 4 men’s sides and two Vets teams, and like every amateur club these days we are always on the lookout for new playing members. No matter what happens I am sure we will celebrate our 30th Anniversary in style in 2018! Nottsborough still like to socialise and celebrate in style!
Our 29th season was one of those “nearly seasons”. The first team under David Shaw were in contention across the board. We were in the semi final of the AFA Trophy, the Quarter Final of the Surrey Premier Cup, The Final of the Surrey/Kent AFA, and we were second in the League. In the end we had to settle for winning the Surrey/Kent AFA. Like many clubs injuries hurt us at a crucial point of the season, but David Shaw should be very proud of the job he did over two very successful seasons. David has stepped down due to family commitments and we are very pleased that former Nottsborough Captain David Hallam, one of the clubs founders, has agreed to become the new manager. We wish David success and the pre-season friendlies we have played so far have been very promising. Sadly we are saying goodbye to our long term skipper Arren Sutcliffe who has captained both the first team and the SAL Representative side for many seasons. He will be a real loss, but this gives Richard Parker a chance to step up and see what he can do. Ben Lancaster came down from Loughborough University as our goalkeeper and Ben has almost immediately got into the Rep team. Another Loughborough boy making the first team is James Kirkham who has moved up from our 2’s. It was great to have centre back James Cranston back and I am sure he will be pushing for a Rep team place as well. In midfield Mark Smith and Ross Newell have been doing well and it is great to see Sean Gavin and Chris Sinclair fit again. Another former Loughborough man James Taylor has made the step up to vice captain and James has run several good training sessions already this pre-season. I expect great things of Dan Barber this season!
Last season the Second Team enjoyed a quite bizarre season. In the league we somehow found ourselves threatened by relegation, which we finally avoided. In the Cup we were a different animal and for the first time in many years we reached the AFA Final winning an exciting game against Old Wilsonians. A lot of praise is due to the Captain Gaz Melia. He has a very good keeper in Toby Smyth. Rich Pilcher and Dean Mitic are still very good players at the back. Rory O’Brien and Paul Fynes are still a threat up front along with the returning Ben Nash who scored many vital goals last season. Tom Woolston and Dom Matcham have been great additions to the side. Hopefully we can get back to form in the league this season.
A review of the 3’s, 4’s and Vets will follow in a couple of weeks. Best wishes to everybody for Club Day on the 2nd September when all new players will be welcome.