The Evo-Stik League Southern
Published 26th June 2012
The Boatmen have recruited young duo Ben Wilson and Ben Chambers from Eastleigh, welcomed back goalkeeper Matt Brown from Romsey Town and will be running the rule over Isle of Wight defender Scott Sampson who endured an injury-cursed stay with AFC Totton last term.
Left-back Wilson, 18, made three starts and two substitute appearances for Eastleigh in the Blue Square Bet South last season. But, with the Spitfires busily recruiting established names for a push at the title, he recently turned down the offer of a contract. Chambers, a striker, featured twice off the bench in cup competitions for Ian Baird’s men and was originally targeted by Sholing midway through last season. The Boatman, however, had put their interest on hold while he recovered from an injury.
Brown, who was previously with Sholing as an 18-year-old, was outstanding for Romsey, helping them to an eighth-place finish in the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier Division.
He made thirty-eight appearances for the Bypass boys and newly-installed Romsey boss Danny Barker recently described him as the best keeper in that division.
“Matt was with us before he went to university and came back last pre-season, but we had quite a few keepers on our books,” explained Sholing manager Dave Diaper. “But I’ve got a lot of time for him and, at 22 we could get at least another ten years out of him.”
Diaper knows a lot less about his fourth signing Scott Sampson, having only seen him play once for the Isle of Wight in last year’s Island Games final. But the 23-year-old comes highly recommended, having captained AFC Bournemouth’s reserves.
Following his release from Cherries, he joined the Marines and was signed by Totton last season following Wessex League spells with Newport IoW and Blackfield & Langley.
He impressed former Totton boss Stuart Ritchie in six league starts and would have had more but for two untimely injuries.
First he broke a toe, sidelining him for a month, and then he twisted his ankle in a comeback match playing for Newport IoW in February, ruling him out for the rest of the season.
“We’ve signed Scott on and offered him an opportunity to see what he can do in the friendlies,” said Diaper.
“The new signings are all young lads and I’m mindful of the fact that we need to freshen up a bit. We’ve been in the play-offs three times but haven’t managed to go that extra step.”