Midweek Switch For Gladiators

By Tom Snee

Matlock Town update

There's a change of midweek home night for Matlock Town this season as the Gladiators switch from Tuesday to Wednesday.

Explaining the move Matlock Chairman Tom Wright said that it had been done in a bid to attract extra floating fans to matches at the Reynolds Stadium.

"We've looked at what other clubs are doing and after a great deal of deliberation opted for Wednesday. We appreciate Tuesday has been football night in Matlock for a lot of years but now Derby County, Chesterfield, Alfreton Town and Belper Town all play on a Tuesday night at home. It wasn't so bad a few years ago when both Derby and Chesterfield played on Wednesdays but they've decided in recent years to play on Tuesday. Alfreton have done very well and are now in the Blue Square Conference. Some people alternate between Belper and Matlock. We feel we could get some extra fans through the turnstiles and extra revenue by playing on a Wednesday."

When Matlock joined the Northern Premier League, now Evo-Stik League at the start of the 1969/70 season, home games took place on a Thursday night but soon came the switch to a Tuesday which in the main has been Matlock's choice apart from the 1981/82 season when games were staged on a Monday.

Town fans can at last see their favourites in action again as their pre season programme gets under way this week with visits to two Baris Northern Counties East league clubs. First Division hosts Teversal are the opposition at Caernarvon Street on Saturday (3 pm), before on Tuesday, Matlock visit Premier Division Armthorpe Welfare.

Assistant boss Nick Buxton has been in charge of the new season's preparations so far with Gladiators chief Mark Atkins on holiday in Florida. Buxton reports that the squad have worked hard and are itching to resume playing ahead of what is likely to be a very competitive campaign.

"Training's been really good, the lads have done an awful lot of running especially in the early sessions last Thursday and on Saturday, but there's also been some ball work as well. To be fair to the lads their fitness levels have been very good. We had 24 players there on Tuesday. Players' work commitments have meant that they haven't all made every session, but those who haven't made them all like Simon Sturdy for example, will work hard on their own and train elsewhere when they can."

A familiar face from the last two seasons has been in attendance as Ben Algar has returned early from his spell in New York and Buxton is confident that Algar will sign in addition to the other four close season captures in striker Ian Holmes, winger Chris Bettney, and defenders Michael Harcourt and Sturdy.

However on his return ahead of the Teversal trip, manager Atkins and Buxton will probably be trying to boost their strike force. goal machine of the last three seasons Ross Hannah has moved to Bradford City while Lee Morris has turned down an offer from Matlock and has joined Belper Town instead. Incidentally the Nailers have also signed ex Matlock goalkeeper Andy Richmond this week.

"We're disappointed that Lee won't be with us after we helped him out when he was with Glasshoughton last year. But he's decided to go to Belper and it's one of those things. We wish him all the best, thank him for his efforts and move on."

The much travelled Morris scored four goals in twenty starts and six further appearances as a substitute for the Gladiators.

Personal commitments often effect team selection at this time of the year and this week is no exception with holidays ruling out Algar, James Knowles and Kris Bowler, while Adam Sollitt is unavailable just for the Teversal game.

"Everything appears to be in good order and we're looking forward to getting going as pre season can linger on" Buxton continued. "But the training's gone very well, the lads have enjoyed it at the fantastic facilities we've used in Doncaster."

Meanwhile club officials were delighted that their second Golf Day held at Matlock Golf Club on a glorious day last Friday was "an outstanding success" after £2520 was raised for club funds.

"It was a fantastic day the weather was kind to us and everyone enjoyed themselves" commented one of the organisers Stewart Baker. "To bring in over £2500 was a magnificent effort. We must thank all who took part. There were over thirty teams which was a great turn out. I'd like to express our grateful thanks to Matlock Golf Club for the use of their marvellous facilities and the hole sponsors who were PG Automotives, Matlock Green Garage, WA Weston and Thomas Greatorex Funeral Directors."

Winners by just one point in a close finish on 90 points were Steve Bailey Builders with their team consisting of Steve Bailey, Andy Beers, Robert Evans and Keith Carl. Two teams finished with 89 points, Derwent Financial Services and Derbyshire Aggregates with the former sneaking second spot after Derbyshire Aggregates lost out with an inferior back nine hole score. Jack Wood, Jamie Strutt, Richard Strutt and Rob Dence made up the runners up team while playing for the third placed team was Sam Buckley, Craig Watson, Adam Lord and Dennis Freeberne. There were prizes for nearest the pin at both the second and eighth holes which went to Paul Edwards and Gary Barrass respectively with Matlock full back Lee Featherstone claiming the award for the longest drive at the opening hole. Winners will be presented with their prizes during the interval at the home friendly with Chesterfield on Tuesday July 19.

Fans can now order new replica shirts which will display a new sponsor to be announced shortly. The new all blue with a touch of white design for the home strip plus the second choice kit of tangerine and black are displayed on the official club website at www.matlocktownfc.co.uk

The shirts cost £40 each but Supporters Club members will pay £38. Fans buying both the home and away shirts can get them for £76 with Supporters Club members being charged £72. These can be ordered from the Club Shop at home games, during normal opening hours or by ringing 01629 583866.

Matlock are also looking for a volunteer to run the match day raffle in the coming season after long standing seller Susan Tomlinson decided to stand down. Anyone interested should contact any Committee member or the Club Shop.

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