the npl

Weekly News - 24.5.23

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Weekly News - 24.5.23

A busy week at the Proctor Cars Stadium has seen two more pre season friendlies confirmed, four new signings, another player retention and the celebration of a successful season with the club’s Presentation Evening taking place in the Shorts Lounge on Saturday.

The big news on the pre season friendly front is undoubtedly the confirmation that Derby County’s first team squad will be visiting the Proctor Cars Stadium on Saturday 8 July (3pm). It’s nine seasons since the Rams sent their first team to Matlock so it’s a game that is being eagerly looked forward to by both Matlock supporters and Rams followers. The game was made public last Friday and with tickets selling like hot cakes, Matlock quickly made the decision to make the game all ticket. By Tuesday the 2000 barrier had been smashed.

Matlock boss Martin Carruthers paid tribute to what he described as a tremendous response from Matlock and Derby supporters.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable to sell that amount of tickets in such a short time and it speaks volumes for the way the local community has rallied round to back the club with the number of tickets that have been sold in such a short space of time. Interest is obviously high for the game, there’s exciting times ahead” enthused Carruthers.

Matlock have also confirmed another home friendly with National League North neighbours Buxton coming to town on Wednesday July 12. The teams will battle for the Markowicz Cup which was contested for the first time last summer, the Bucks gaining a narrow 1-0 win at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium thanks to an early own goal. So far, Matlock have four home friendly matches, the other two being against Notts County on Tuesday 18 July and Mansfield Town on Tuesday 1 August.

Hard on the heels of the Derby announcement came the news of four new signings at Matlock. Full back Joe West and midfielder Andrew Wright have moved from Gainsborough Trinity, Wright therefore beginning a third spell with the Gladiators. Another midfielder Ollie Clark has made the move from Basford United while winger Nathaniel Crofts has arrived from Guiseley.

Then with the ink scarcely dry on these four signings, news emerged that experienced Saul Deeney had been retained by Matlock and will be their first choice goalkeeper for the coming campaign.

Matlock therefore seem to have the spine of their side in place but Carruthers says that his shopping is not yet complete.

“It’s important that we have that back line in place by getting key players tied down, and in turn getting the spine sorted so the likes of Saul Deeney, Ioan Evans, and Reece Styche who all have experience at this level are important players for us. But I’m still actively looking to add to our squad and the players we’re targeting play at higher levels than ourselves. They’re also speaking to other clubs to keep their options open. I like to get my business done early but this time we might have to wait a bit longer if we’re to get the players we’re looking for. I’m more than happy with what we’ve got, we’ll just have to be patient to get that extra quality in.”

The weekend was capped with the club’s Presentation Evening which saw Al Byrne presented with the fans player of the year award and receive the leading goalscorer award sponsored by Steven Greenhough. Ioan Evans was named as the players player and was presented with a new watch donated by CW Sellors Jewellers. Jamie Sharman went home with two awards, the club’s young player of the season and the fans forum player of the year trophy. The presentation of the fans player to Al Byrne was made by four of the Gladiators young supporters, Henry Rich, Jack Mather, Leo Gilman and Taylor Jackson with the Gladiators officials recognising their great vocal support and the youngsters are the future of the club.

Ian Richardson