Beccles Town boss Batt happy with a solid first half of the season

Action from Beccles Town's final match of 2017, a 3-2 home win over Hellesdon on December 16. Pictur

Action from Beccles Town's final match of 2017, a 3-2 home win over Hellesdon on December 16. Picture: Steve Wood - Credit: Archant

Beccles Town have shrugged off the loss of a number of key players to make a solid start to their first season back in the top flight of the Anglian Combination.

The Wherrymen were hit by the exits of star strikers Liam Harvey-Cooper and Joe Clarke after clinching promotion from Division One last term, while influential defender David Shade also moved on.

But a new-look side has settled well at a higher level and went into the festive break a reassuring nine points clear of the relegation zone after winning five and drawing four of their 15 matches so far.

Manager Steve Batt is taking nothing for granted as he prepares for the second half of the campaign but admits he would have taken 10th position going into 2018 had it been offered to him during the summer.

“After all the changes it has been a good effort from the lads,” he said.

“Liam and Joe scored lots of goals for us last season, while David was an important player at the back, so it was a blow to lose them - but these things happen in football and you have just got to get on with it.

“It has given other players the chance to show what they can do - people like Neil Hurren, Luke Bailey and James Gill from our Under-18s - and they have all done a good job.

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“We have had some really good results, beating Mulbarton Wanderers and Long Stratton and taking points off Norwich CEYMS and if we had done better against teams lower down the table we could have had a lot more points.

“But I’ll settle for where we are now.

“The aim at the start of the season was to ensure we stayed in the Premier Division and while there is still work to be done we have made a decent start.”

Harvey-Cooper and Clarke now play for Kirkley and Pakefield and Wenhaston United respectively, while Shade is also playing at a higher level for Gorleston.

Following an extended festive break Beccles return to action on Saturday week when they travel to Blofield United. Their first home game of 2018 is against bottom of the table Reepham Town on January 13.

Loddon, who are struggling near the foot of Division One, have an even longer break and return to action on the 13th when they take on Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves at Walmer Road.