March Town boss in buoyant mood after first pre-season victory
- Credit: Steve Hone
It’s very early days, but March Town boss Arran Duke was in buoyant mood as his side began preparations for their step five challenge.
Duke oversaw a 2-1 win over Peterborough Northern Star at the GER on Saturday, which saw them lift the annual BKD Trophy thanks to a brace from Jack Friend.
The game also saw new signings Dean Miller from Swaffham Town, George Rayner from step seven side Witchford, plus trialists Luke Crombie formerly of Mildenhall and ex-St Neots youth player Harry Clarke in action.
“It was a useful exercise, minutes in the bank. We’ve got different things to look at and lots to work on, but lots of things to build on,” Duke said.
“We’ve brought in young players but there are players we can develop and with the coaches we’ve brought in, they will work hard in training and in sessions to help them.”
As well as returning goalkeeper Simon Dalton, Duke has brought in ex-Wisbech St Mary star Nick Davey and has given chances to reserves forward Stef Cavozzi and Kyle Liddy from March’s ‘A’ team.
It was a competitive game to fuel March’s pre-season schedule as they look ahead to the new Eastern Counties League Premier Division season after securing promotion last season.
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“Dean is a winner and a strong addition for us; George is someone we haven’t taken a gamble on as he’s got the ability and someone I’m interested to see progress,” Duke said.
“The two trialists are very young, but it didn’t show.
“Kyle Liddy’s only 19 and maybe got overlooked last year, but he’s come on leaps and bounds.
“Nick played with Jack Friend and had a very good partnership, and it gives us competition for places.”
Captain Max Mattless and Danny Emmington also shone for March in a game played in memory of Hares under 18 players Ben Whiteway, Daniel Runacres and Karl Munton, who died in 2002.
Although Duke felt his side were under-performing at times against a physical outfit, a fixture against United Counties League opponents showed his team can adapt to their new level.
“I felt we coped for long periods and maybe we were sloppy sometimes, but it’s very early days,” Duke added.
“This season is important that we get settled and adapt to life at step five.
“I felt with the younger players, this is a good season for them to adapt and dip their toe in.
“As pre-season goes, the first couple of games are more looking at different options, but I’m happy the preparation is working.”
March face Cambridgeshire County League side Great Shelford at the Cromwell 3G in Chatteris on Saturday.
MARCH PRE-SEASON FIXTURES (subject to change)
10 – Great Shelford (at Chatteris 3G)
13 – Holbeach United (H)
17 – Moulton Harrox (H)
21 – Whittlesey Athletic (A)
27 – King's Lynn Town Under 21s (A)
31 – Biggleswade (H)