Thurlow Nunn sides wasting little time bringing in new recruits
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Thurlow Nunn clubs are starting to return to pre-season training but at many, recruitment has been underway for a number of weeks. Chris Brammer looks at the movers and shakers so far in East Anglia
There will be much more activity in the transfer market before the season kicks-off in August, but a number of teams have already issued early statements of intent.
Nowhere has this been more evident than Stowmarket Town, who after their first-ever promotion last season, are preparing for life in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
Names are all very good on paper, they have still got to gel, but if Town’s new men get off to a flying start, then few would back against them winning a second, successive promotion.
Andrew Wood has scored goals for fun in the Premier Division in a lower-mid-table Walsham-le-Willows side, while ex-Sudbury and Leiston defender, Scott Mitchell is a class act at this level.
Jemel Fox (Stanway), Ethan Clarke (Felixstowe) and Angelo Harrop (Brightlingsea) are well-versed meanwhile with the rigours of Step Five football, but the signing of the summer so far has to be Ollie Brown.
The Ipswich-born full-back went on trial with Dagenham & Redbridge, in the Conference, last season and was one of Leiston’s star turns in the Ryman Premier.
Due to family reasons, Brown wants to take a step back from the rigours of Ryman football for the time being and Stowmarket have managed to lure him to Greens Meadow, which is a major coup.
The Old Gold & Blacks will be expected to be in contention for the top spots this season, as will Felixstowe & Walton who have completed the signing of another former Leiston stalwart, Joe Francis.
Francis brings pace, work-rate, creativity and goals down the left flank and should be a star at Thurlow Nunn Premier level and will replace some of the energy that Ethan Clarke often provided.
Another side expected to be challenge are Brantham Athletic who ended the season strongly under new management duo Matt Carmichael and Michael Brothers,
Their main signing of the summer so far is Sam Newson.
A prolific goalscorer at the level above, Newson scored 21 goals in Ryman North as Maldon & Tiptree came so close to winning promotion to the Ryman Premier last season.
Former Needham man Newson will add energy to the Athletic frontline and an ability to sniff out half-chances.
Brothers and Carmichael are an ambitious partnership and should be able to put together a top-six side.
It’s been fairly quiet at Ipswich Wanderers and Walsham-le-Willows so far, while some of Hadleigh’s best business may have already been done with the news that their best young players look like staying put for next season.
New Long Melford manager Jamie Bradbury, meanwhile, confirmed this week that three unnamed players had agreed to sign for the Villagers, however he did not want to disclose their identities until a deal was done.
He is keen to replace the prolific Jamie Griffiths, who has signed for Needham Market and Bradbury’s ability to sign a goalscorer for the new campaign could make the difference between a season of struggle or a season of success.
A significant move has seen Haverhill Borough’s Aaron Forshaw agree to join neighbours Haverhill Rovers.
Forshaw made 24 appearances as Borough secured promotion to the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division for the first time.
Stanway Rovers boss Kem Izzet has also made a big signing, bringing in experienced ex-Colchester United team-mate, Jamie Guy.
Guy will be expected to be the focal point in a team that could feature several youngsters.
In Division One, Shane Coldron is the new man in charge at Whitton United and was encouraged by his new team’s performances under his predecessor, Steve Jay, towards the back end of last season.
Coldron has no intention of making wholesale changes, but has strengthened the spine of his young team.
They are defender Scott Marjoram, midfielder Tom Bradlaugh and striker Chris Williams, all of whom were part of Whitton’s victorious Division One and Senior Cup-winning team of 2014.
Marjoram and Bradlaugh were integral parts of Stowmarket Town’s ascent last season, while Williams, despite finishing the season playing in the SIL for Henley Athletic, is a regular goalscorer at this level and scored 115 goals in 174 appearances, between 2010 and 2016 – during his first spell at Whitton.
He also scored a few vital goals last season for Felixstowe & Walton in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.