Holwell Sports all set for Gedling season opener

Action from Holwell's final pre-season friendly against Harrowby United EMN-170208-142540002
Action from Holwell's final pre-season friendly against Harrowby United EMN-170208-142540002

Holwell Sports completed a lengthy pre-season on Tuesday evening as they prepare to begin their latest East Midlands Counties League campaign this weekend.

The Asfordby Hill club begin the new season on home soil when they welcome Gedling Miners Welfare to Welby Road on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) after extensive preparations which have served up two matches a week since late June.

Action from Holwell Sports' final pre-season match at home to Harrowby United EMN-170208-142551002

Action from Holwell Sports' final pre-season match at home to Harrowby United EMN-170208-142551002

John Webster takes charge of the First XI once more and will be keen to show improvements in his second campaign, having overseen a 16th-place finish last term.

But there will be encouragement, if any were needed, from last season’s cup runs as they reaced the first round proper of the FA Vase.

Holwell also reached the final of the Senior County Cup for the first time in 19 years only to be denied by a last-minute winner against Leicester Road.

Webster has brought in new signings Brett Sharp and Luke Underwood to bolster the squad.

Striker Laithan Hammond also returns after making a big impact in the opening months of last season before moving on to higher league football.

Experienced campaigners Michael Stevenson, Ian Bitmead and Aaron Ridout have put pen to paper, as have Kieran Foster, Liam Chapman and Chris Hibbitt.

Centre-half Rob Woodcock has registered again after a good debut season with the club and Holwell will again have the services of promising young winger Tom Harris.

Off the field there was further good news when Holwell were awarded FA Charter Standard status.

* The East Midlands Counties League got under way last weekend when six teams took part in the Groundhop weekend.

There were wins for league newcomers Selston, 3-1 at Graham Street Prims, and Teversal who beat Holwell’s opening opponents Gedling 2-0, while Holbrook Sports won 2-0 at Borrowash Victoria.

And on Tuesday, Clifton All Whites made their EMCL bow with a 1-1 draw at Belper United.