Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League
Published 4th August 2012
After a three-season stay in the newly-named Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, the Jockeys endured one of the worst ever seasons in the club’s history last campaign, which ultimately led to their relegation.
Winning just a measly three out of forty league games, the Town Ground outfit also shipped 117 goals, while finding the net on just thirty-six occasions.
Although relegation was not expected by club officials at the start of the year, joint-manager Kevin Grainger has pinpointed the club’s woeful on the pitch fortunes down to the crippling injury list the club sustained.
“It was a hugely disappointing season and 70 per cent of the poor results we had was as a result of the amount of injuries we picked up,” said Grainger.
“The injuries destroyed us. Within the first three games we had eight out injured and from then on we were fighting a losing battle.”
In a bid to win back promotion at the first time of asking, the club have wasted no time in bringing in a number of familiar faces, including former manager Karl Johnson, who will work in a joint managerial role alongside Grainger.
During his last spell with the club back in the 2008/09 season, Johnson, who was last in charge of Kershaw Premier League outfit Lakenheath, steered the Jockeys to the then Ridgeons League Division One title.
“I wanted to bring in Karl last season but he couldn’t come due to work commitments,” added Grainger.
“We work well together and he will be a massive help to us. He is as good a signing as any of the players we have brought in.”
The bulk of Town’s new arrivals have come from Lakenheath with seven of the Wings Road club 2011/12 squad making the switch to the Town Ground.
While some faces will be making a return to the First Division outfit, for others it will be the start of another chapter in their careers.
Leading the list of players joining Newmarket from Lakenheath is veteran full-back Ricky Cornish and experienced winger Paul Betson.
They will be joined by tough-tackling central midfielder Luke Butcher and ever-consistent centre-half Matt Bonner.
“I’ve always thought that Matt Bonner and Luke Butcher are good enough to play at this level and they could be great assets to the team,” said Grainger.
“With the team we have assembled this year promotion is the goal, but before that we have to make sure we are consistently competing with the top six teams in the league.
“If we do that and with a bit luck stay injury free we can go up by either winning the league or taking a promotion spot.”