Winning promotion is Trimley's priority

PUBLISHED: 07:59 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 04 March 2010

LOCAL rivalry will be at stake tomorrow when Senior Division Felixstowe United entertain Division Three Trimley Red Devils in the fourth round of the Metaltec SIL Omnico Cup (kick-off 1.

Winning promotion is our

priority, says Trimley boss

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

LOCAL rivalry will be at stake tomorrow when Senior Division Felixstowe United entertain Division Three Trimley Red Devils in the fourth round of the Metaltec SIL Omnico Cup (kick-off 1.30pm).

It will give the visitors to the Trimley Sports and Social Club a chance to achieve some giantkilling as the lowest level team left in this season's competition.

But manager Mike Davies is quick to confirm his priorities.

“Yes, we want to do well tomorrow and, yes, we will be well prepared,” he said.

“But I will not take any risks with players, and without any doubt winning promotion is our main priority.

“It is a tie the players wanted, but I am not convinced it is the one I wanted.

“It will give us a marker as to where we stand, but I am under no illusions.

“Anything less than a 5-0 win will surely be a disappointment to the Felixstowe camp.”

The Red Devils are top of the table having zoomed up the divisions in the five seasons they have been in the SIL having progressed from youth football.

Davies has been in charge since the club's youth days and wants to continue the team's advancement up the football ladder.

He went on: “I have a talented group of players who collectively want to move up.

“We have played just one game in the last five weeks - and that was a third round win over First Division Mendlesham.

“They have all played their part and I would not like to single anybody out although tomorrow will be a big game for keeper Matt Archibald, who was with Felixstowe United last season.”

Trimley have played one previous game against senior opposition when they lost 2-1 at Cockfield.

Other junior clubs in action are all from the First Division - Claydon against holders Grundisburgh and Wickham Market and Rougham-based St Edmunds against Westerfield and Woodbridge Athletic respectively.

In the only all senior game, St Johns take on championship-chasing Crane Sports.

Although games between Achilles and Coplestonians, Leiston St Margarets and Haughley and Ransomes and Capel Plough are not scheduled until next week because of county cup games, the quarter final draw will still take place on BBC Radio Suffolk tomorrow at around 5.30pm.

Of the four fixtures in the SIL Senior Division, new joint managers Liam Manning and Matt Smith will be in charge for the first time when Melton St Audry's entertain East Bergholt.

Both Capel Plough and Leiston St Margarets will be hoping to eventually play their Touchline Sports Suffolk Senior Cup semi-finals with Beccles and Lakenheath their respective opponents.

LEAD STORY BELOW

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

WHITTON United's withdrawal from the Premier Division could be the forerunner to a number of non-league clubs going into difficulties in the current financial climate.

And it opens up a whole load of questions.

Will Whitton be allowed into the Metaltec SIL next season? And if so at what level?

What will happen to the proposed new nearby purpose-built state-of-the-art stadium when their current pitch becomes part of a new housing estate?

What is going to happen to the PASE scheme based at the club?

Should they have been made to play their reserve division in the top flight?

“It would have been suicidal to have carried on,” said Whitton press officer Ian Hart today. “Both financially and footballing-wise.”

A full statement from the club will appear in next Thursday's Kick-Off column in the Evening Star.

In hindsight it was probably just what Whitton - a club steeped in history and the best in the county in the sixties - didn't want when they came through late to sneak the third promotion spot in the First Division on the final dramatic day of last season.

For the previous few years Whitton struggled to maintain their position in the Ridgeons League after promotion from the Metaltec SIL - never seriously being in promotion contention.

And once Gary Thompson and Neil Gregory took them up it proved too much.

Chairman Phil Pemberton left followed by Gregory and then Thompson, and despite having the income from a successful bar that is leased out the club started to go into freefall.

Without a figurehead it became impossible to see how the improvements necessary to bring the ground up to Premier League standing were going to be made.

The cost was estimated at £20,000, which has added to Whitton's woes with the league saying this had to be done by the end of the season.

Simon Betts was named caretaker player-manager, but he soon made it clear that he did not see himself in the post beyond the end of the campaign. And with the weather intervening he did not take charge of a single game.

Whitton recently made an unsuccessful appeal for a new chairman - 'a figurehead, who can drive us forward. Someone who can take us to the next level'.

Many will query why Whitton were not told by the league to drop their reserve side and soldier on in the Premier Division with players who will still be competing in the Ridgeons Reserve section.

They could then regroup and play in Division One in 2009/10.

Will they be allowed to enter the SIL next season - and will it be in Division Six?

The PASE scheme is rumoured to be going to switch to Needham Market, with Ipswich Wanderers - among others - surely going to show interest in having use of the brand new stadium.

And with Leiston having beaten Whitton 7-0 and 5-0 they will lose out in the title race with main rivals Lowestoft not having any points deducted as they had not played the Ipswich-based club.

Whitton have been down this path before almost going out of business and having to start again in the SIL after being 'saved' by the likes of the late Bob Sharman and Dennis Thrower in the early eighties.

Felixstowe and Walton United visit Haverhill Rovers in the Ridgeons League having lost a friendly 2-1 against SIL Grundisburgh at Dellwood Avenue on Wednesday.

Woodbridge visit King's Lynn Reserves while in the First Division Hadleigh and Ipswich Wanderers are both at home with Brantham, Debenham LC and Stowmarket all away.

N (SQUARE) ARE you an ex-player or official of Whitton United? Let us know your views on their current plight. Write to Sports Desk, Evening Star, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk.

Metaltec SIL recent transfers: Simon Barker (BT Trimley to Albion Mills), Keith Brett (Sproughton to St Clements Hospital), Shane Brownlee (Bramford to Westerfield), Bren Burroughs (Henley to Tacket Street BBOB), Paul Felgate (Dennington to Benhall), Adam Glencastle (Melton St Audry's to Ransomes), James Goulding (Walsham to AFC Hoxne), Adrian Hall (Haughley to Coddenham), Melvyn Smith (Willis to Blakenham).

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