20 June 2024

Changes afoot as season ends

by Richard Lusmore

The 2022-23 football season ended for Easington United AFC last Saturday, when the third team secured a point from a 2-2 draw against East Yorkshire United in Right Car East Riding County League Division 5.

The third-bottom finish, while hardly constituting a major feat, at least means the EzPats managed a better placing than either of their senior team counterparts, who both found themselves in the bottom two of their respective divisions.

Results-wise, it was therefore a disappointing way to mark the club’s 75th anniversary campaign. However, when one looks at the bigger picture and the other things happening within the club, the season may yet come to be regarded as “base camp” on a new journey for the Eastenders, rather than the continuation of “same old, same old”.

Setting to one side for a moment the current travails of the first team, at County League level there have been signs in recent weeks that both the reserves and thirds can enjoy a better time of things if given the ideal mix of experienced leaders and promising youngsters that was anticipated but so often denied them over the past nine months.

It’s a fair bet that had the reserves been able to regularly field the sort of team that recently won at third-placed Brid Spa and produced a battling South Holderness Cup performance against Hedon Rangers they wouldn’t now be looking at relegation from Division 2.

Similarly, far too often the thirds were left to sink or swim with a team almost entirely comprised of lads still finding their feet in open-age football.

Despite their travails, the management committee has taken the decision to again field three Saturday teams in 2023-24.

This comes with the proviso that enough committed players are on board to ensure we can achieve some much-needed consistency of selection. A cavalier approach to availability will no longer be tolerated.

It wasn’t just the Saturday afternoon teams that were hampered by lack of numbers. The Awd Ezzies experienced similar problems and last Sunday they were forced to concede their final game of the season at home to Hull & District Veterans League Division 5 title challengers Preston United, leaving the locals in seventh place in the table.

The other big decision facing the committee recently was in which league to place the first team in next season, following back-to-back bottom two finishes in Humber Premier League Division 1.

It now appears that that decision has been made for us, with all HPL clubs having been invited to attend a special general meeting next week to vote on new proposals for the competition.

These will see a new 16-team HPL Premier Division in place next season, set to comprise the current members plus two or three teams promoted from Division 1. Below this will be a “new (Right Car) County Premiership (HPL Feeder) Division”, also consisting of 16 teams made up from the current HPL Division 1 and the top half of the County League’s Premier Division.

In our view this is set to be a much-needed development, especially at a time when many of the original ideas behind the formation of the HPL would appear to have been lost.

To that end, the ongoing improvement plans for the Easington Recreation & Sports Ground (Low Farm) couldn’t be timelier. Although a return to the heady days of the early 2000s would appear some way off, having a ground that fits the criteria required for future progress should act as a real incentive to players wanting to better themselves in the coming years.

Meanwhile, the decision to again field three teams continues to put our current link with the junior set-up at Patrington at the heart of the Eastenders’ development. Creating a joint pathway for the two clubs, this “Easington and Patrington United” approach gives this corner of Holderness its own strong footballing identity, one that currently stretches from under-fives to vets football.

Away from the action, by the time these notes appear in print, a decision should have been made as to where and when the Eastenders’ annual presentation evening is going to take place.

The only definite thing I can currently report is that it certainly won’t be this Saturday (June 3) as originally planned.

Ground-wise, we were disappointed to see damage has already been done to some of the trees recently planted around the perimeter. Those people intent on carrying out such acts should be aware that CCTV is in operation at the ground but, more importantly, that all the current activities being undertaken are to ensure that the whole community has a recreation and sports field to be proud of. Why would anyone want to ruin that?

Finally, with the season now officially over, the committee would like to thank the management and players for their efforts during the season just gone. In addition, our thanks also go to all our sponsors and supporters. With the costs incurred at grassroots sport level constantly on the rise, such support is invaluable in helping us not only exist but hopefully flourish too as a club.

As such, anybody wishing to support the club during the 2023-24 season can find out how to do so by emailing [email protected] or contacting the club direct. We have various sponsorship schemes available, support of which is acknowledged on our club website and popular social media pages.

Alongside these, we also have a real desire to see people coming back through the gates at Low Farm and Welwick Road next season in order to drive our young teams on to bigger and better things. Not only is your encouragement welcome but by simply buying a cuppa and having a go on the “bus stop” each week, you’re doing your bit for your local team – #UpTheEz!

For up-to-date news, check out our club website at easington-united.co.uk, along with our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@EasingtonUtd).