Matlock Town may have ended as unlucky late losers in the Derbyshire Senior Cup Final against Ilkeston at Chesterfield, but for one of the Gladiators junior sides, it was still a night to remember.
The Warriors, Matlock’s under eleven side, acted as mascots alongside their similar aged counterparts from Ilkeston at the impressive Pro-Act Stadium with the boys from both clubs forming a guard of honour as Matlock skipper Martin Foster and the Robins Laurie Wilson led their teams into the arena.
Warriors manager Doug Jenner was a proud man as he witnessed events unfold and while he would obviously have preferred a Matlock victory, he says it was still a night to savour and enjoy.
“It was a brilliant evening and one we’ll all remember for a very long time” said Jenner who had his assistants Keith Elson and Kevin Toft by his side as usual.
“I know from the comments of my team how much it meant to them and how much they enjoyed the whole experience. The evening was topped off by the presentation of a football to all the outfield players and a pair of goalkeepers gloves to the goalkeepers. These opportunities don’t come round very often and are so important for the development of young players in the game. On behalf of the Matlock Warriors players, managers and parents I would like to say a huge thank you to the Derbyshire County FA and Matlock Town FC for their hospitality, generosity, and for just letting us be part of what was a fantastic evening .”
There was a penalty shoot out during the interval which narrowly went Ilkeston’s way, before they resumed their ball boy duties of the first half.
Matlock boss Mark Atkins has added two more games to the Gladiators’ pre season schedule this week.
At present Matlock will open their programme with a trip to Teversal on Saturday July 13, while the other extra game sees them travel to Mickleover Sports on Tuesday August 6.
Mickleover are managed by former Gladiators Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins who took over midway through last season from former Derby defender Dick Pratley after Sports struggled in Evo-Stik First Division South following relegation from the top tier at the end of the 2011/12 campaign. Further links with the Gladiators come in the form of midfielder Gary Webster and striker Nathan Benger who followed Kirkwood and Hopkins from Heanor Town.
Matlock are still awaiting replies from at least two Football league clubs as they look to add home games to their schedule. Derby County are due at the Reynolds Stadium on Tuesday July 30.
The pre-season for Matlock currently looks like this:
Sat 13 July—Teversal (A)
Fri 19 July—Staveley MW (A)
Tue 30 July–DERBY COUNTY(H)
Sat 3 August–Clipstone (A)
Tue 6 August–Mickleover Sports (A)
The warm Bank Holiday weather helped Matlock earn some much needed cash when they converted their pitch into a car park as visitors descended on the town. Cars parked at the ground on both Sunday and Monday.
“It proved to be a good source of revenue for us and with the weather being warm and dry it didn’t damage the pitch in any shape or form” said a Matlock spokesman.