22 May 2024

Eastenders gearing up on and off the pitch

by Richard Lusmore

Two teams representing Easington United head to Ripon on Saturday to kick off the club’s pre- season schedule.

The Eastenders travel to Mallorie Park to form part of West Yorkshire League side Ripon City’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

A double-header away day has become something of a traditional start to proceedings for the locals, with similar trips to Wigginton and Wetherby having been undertaken in recent years.

Unsurprisingly perhaps given the time of year, the two teams fielded by United will include an unfamiliar mix of players. A combination of injuries, work, holidays and other factors means first team manager Craig Smalley will be without a host of hitherto regulars. These include skipper Liam Murrey and vice-captain Dan Warcup, along with goalkeeper Dan Fincham and several of last season’s core squad in Oliver Bewell, Charlie Clark, Harvey Clarke, Billy Symes and Jack Wright.

Far from frustrated at the situation, Smalley and newly appointed assistant Mark Richardson will instead take the opportunity of giving game time to some new faces, returning players and several more from the abundance of young talent coming through at the club.

Similarly, the Easington team that kicks off the afternoon’s proceedings against Ripon’s reserves side at 12.30pm on Saturday will also include a mix of players from across the second and third strings.

There is no great expectation based on either team going into the games, more a keenness to get some minutes into players’ legs and hopefully put into practice some of the things worked on at recent training sessions.

With all six members of the club’s Saturday management setup present at Mallorie Park, at least the players on show can be confident that their performances won’t go unnoticed.

Away from the action, the annual general meeting will now take place next Monday (July 31) at the Hildyard Arms in Patrington, with the chair taken at 8.15pm, immediately after training. This follows a postponement last week due to unforeseen circumstances.

Several other events have taken place in recent weeks as the club ties up the remaining loose ends from last season and prepares for the new campaign.

On Monday, July 10, Judy Sugden and Christine Ward went to the Queen’s Centre at Castle Hill Hospital to present a cheque for £2,000 to members of WISHH, the independent Hull hospitals charity. The money is to be targeted at Wards 30 and 32 in memory of Mike Wilson. Thanking the club for the donation, charity manager Lisa Whitton described the club’s efforts as “incredible”.

The much-missed “Mickey Bo” was also uppermost in our thoughts on July 19, when he was one of the five named recipients of the FA Order of Merit at the East Riding County FA Grassroots Football Awards. Mike’s posthumous award, which was accepted by Christine Ward on behalf of the club, was in recognition of his service with the Eastenders, which “began in 1973 as a player before going on to be team manager, committee member, vice-chairman and groundsman”.

Also present at the event held at the MKM Stadium was Andy Graham, who was recognised as one of the East Riding County FA’s monthly Unsung Heroes for his 700-plus appearances for the Eastenders.

As the new season approaches, ongoing improvement work continues at the club’s Low Farm home (the Easington Recreation & Sports Ground), helped in no small part by the welcome arrival of some recent rain and the delivery of some brand-new equipment, which was secured via the club’s successful application for Football Foundation grant funding.

Along with our partners at Patrington AFC, the club is seeking to create a real community feel to things this season, one that everyone in this part of south-east Holderness can be proud to be a part of.

For anybody who is in a position to support Easington United AFC and would like to do so, the club continues to offer various opportunities, ranging from player sponsorship (£10 per player) and match sponsorship (£30) to pitchside advertising at £300 a sign. If interested please email [email protected] or contact the club direct for further details. All support is greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged on our club website and popular social media pages.

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) – and we now have a TikTok account at @easingtonunitedafc.