After a silverware-laden finish to the 2015/2016 season, there was no small amount of expectation heading into the new season. However, a mixture of retirements, injuries, an emigration and a baby-boom (potentially coinciding with the cup winning joy of 2016) meant that a new look squad tackled the first game of the season. Results were extremely positive in the first instance with positive progress being made in the league and all three cups. Ex-Loughborough 1s stopper Ben Lancaster has returned to the fold, and was in sparkling form from the get-go.
Leading from the front was another ex-Loughbrite, James Taylor, who scored a hattrick in game one, and seemingly had a monopoly on man-of-the-match votes for the first few games. The squad was gelling well, with stalwarts Sutcliffe, Parker and Jack Gavin, complimenting the younger pairing of Cranston and Heard. The midfield has been more changeable with Sean Gavin, Smith, Newell, Classen, and (Nottsborough royalty) the Kerrs, providing the steel. The loss of Sinclair to injury has hit hard however.
With veteran goal machine Ewin still firing, and Barber finding form, the addition of Haynes has created an attack that can genuinely share the goal scoring responsibilities. Youngsters Beck and Stojsavljevic have also added a well needed dose of pace, when available. A fine 7-2 victory away at Eversely and California in the Surrey County Cup is arguably the high point of the season so far, especially since defeats in the league to main rivals Polytechnic, Alleyns, and Wilsonians have given the title charge a knock.
Nonetheless, progress in all three cups has been relentless, and three quarter finals leaves much to look forward to, especially as a post-Christmas upturn in form will undoubtedly have the leading pack looking over their shoulders as the inevitable late charge from the men in red and black will come. As we say down at Tolworth, ‘what’s that coming over the hill?’……