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New season beckons for Beccles and Bungay

PUBLISHED: 11:25 14 August 2015

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Beccles and Bungay begin their Anglian Combination League Division One challenges this weekend.

It’s home start for Beccles, who face Hellesdon, while promoted Bungay have a trip to Bradenham Wanderers.

Beccles will be hoping to go one better than last season, when they were pipped to promotion, finishing third just a point behind Scole United.

Since then it’s been all change at Common Lane where the club have a new joint management team, with Neil Hurren and Steven Batt now in charge following Gaven Tipple’s departure to Kirkley & Pakefield.

Bungay completed their preparations for the new season with an encouraging 3-0 win against Wickham Market at the Maltings Meadow on Wednesday evening –– and manager Tim Clarke is satisfied with how preparations have gone.

The Black Dogs have played five friendlies – all against higher grade opposition, and although Wednesday’s game against Suffolk and Ipswich Premier Division side Wickham Market was their first win, he is not too worried about that.

“I am very happy. We have lost four and won one, but we have played some high quality opposition,” he said. “In training we have had two sessions a week, and the squad is as fit as it has ever been. We have deliberately played high quality opposition who have shifted the ball about quickly and that means we have got quicker. If we can maintain that on the pitch tomorrow that will help.

“I think we have prepared as well as we possibly can and we have a fitter and bigger squad. There are many good signs, and we are ready.”

Clarke sees Bradenham, who were well in the running for promotion last season until the final month, as a side who will be in the promotion frame again this season – one of the toughest sides, along with Beccles.

But he has added Paul Bliss and Fionn Goodwin-Wright from Harleston, Stuart Campbell has returned a better player, and keeper James Shaw, back from university, has also signed, to provide competition for Rob Howes. Lee Houghton is back after travelling the world. All last season’s double winning squad have re-signed.

On the down side, captain Craig Hunting has injured a toe and is out for three weeks.

Joe Macfarlane, Aiden Lowe (penalty) and Sam Olley got the goals on Wednesday. Previously the Black Dogs had lost to Thurlow Nunn Premier Division sides Saffron Walden (4-1) and Gorleston (2-0) after giving as good as they got for an hour, and lost to Anglian Combination Premier Division sides Blofield (0-5) and Caister (0-1).

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