Letcombe F C manager Garry Cook has taken time to reflect on a funny old season. It all started with a socially distanced training session way back in June as we looked to build a competitive squad for the coming season. As the weeks went by we slowly put together what I felt was probably our best squad since I joined the club in 2017. One of our first signings was fans favourite and prolific goal scorer Josh Fowler who became first team captain for the season. Club stalwart Danny Joyce also signed and became club captain. Nathan Haresnape stepped up from the reserves in the previous season to form a formidable defensive pairing with Sam Mulvey. It looked at one stage as though Sam would sign for Hungerford Town, but at the 11th hour he decided to return home to continue our partnership which began at the club in 2017. Former Hungerford Town keeper Kiran Drake brought 5 or 6 talented lads to the club and also took some training sessions for the keepers. Des Williams recommended a 16 year old lad, Aaran Mudie, and he showed maturity beyond his years. It looked as though he had played mens football for 10 years, and impressed more and more as the weeks went by.
We picked up some good early points in the league as we slotted ourselves in the pack of the leading teams. With covid cases rising in the world, the league came to an abrupt halt and it looked as though it may never start again. After a long lay-off, the green light was given for it to resume, and a new competition was arranged initially with local teams on a mini-league basis. Wins over Kintbury and Shrivenham development plus draws against Hungerford Swifts and Wantage Town development saw up progress to the knock-out stages of the competition. Excellent wins at home to Tuffley development and away to Long Crendon reserves saw us reach the semi final, and although we lost against a powerful Flackwell Heath side who went on to win the final, credit must be given to the players for their attitude and real effort in reaching the last four and for making it a very enjoyable time for me personally. We had reached the semi final of the Faringdon Memorial cup, held over from the previous season, where we beat a physical Globe side to set up a final against our bogey side Wantage Town developmewnt, and although we lost 2-0, it was still a very rewarding season. We had some bad news as left back Christy Whelehan suffered a dreadful knee injury at Hungerford which required extensive surgery. His road to a full recovery will be a long one, but he is progressing well. Joe Blackwell returned to action after a serious achilles injury in pre-season, and got a few minutes of playing time. Our thanks to physio Kevin Dixon who has been working closely with both of them on their rehab as well as overseeing the welfare of all our players during the season.
I am looking forward to the coming season which starts on Thursday 1st July with training starting at 7.00pm. All former players are invited to attend and all new players will be made welcome. We already have three friendlies arranged against Cricklade (July 17th), Thame reserves (July 24th) and Mortimer (August 14th) with many others planned. We have the makings of a very competitive side for next season, and I can now start to talk to a few new targets we hope to add to the squad. Reserve team manager Mick Cross also has the basis of a good young team, and with a few more signings they should have a successful season. There have been many improvements at the club. There are new patio doors providing direct access from a new external patio. The clubhouse is open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a kids coaching night on Fridays when parents can come along for a relaxing drink and watch football on TV whilst the kids enjoy the session. Extensive renovation work on the pitch has taken place with 120 tonnes of sand/soil mix being spread and the whole pitch has been reseeded, so it should be in its best condition for years. The new training area has been levelled and should be ready for use later in the season. We have a big fund raising day planned on Saturday 31st July for injured players Christy and Joe. The fun day starts at 12 noon with lots of activitities for the kids, and live bands in the evening when out end of season awards will also be presented. We hope that lots of people will join us to make it a successful day.
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon. Cookie