Grundisburgh bid to retain title

MICKY Squirrell may have won the SIL Senior Division title three times as Grundisburgh manager, but he has never successfully defended it.

That is the task facing Squirrell, joint manager Kevin Cunningham and coach Glenn Bradlaugh as the 2011/12 Kingsley Healthcare SIL season gets under way tomorrow.

Squirrell will be starting his seventh season in charge of the village club – he had one season with Julian Beaumont before joining forces with Cunningham – as Grundisburgh launch their defence.

He said: “Defending it is harder than winning it. Our record shows that since we have been there we have not successfully defended it.

“We won the Senior Cup and the Omnico Cup and came close to doing the treble the season Brantham won it, but everyone wants to beat you as champions, and I think everyone wants to beat Grunisburgh because of who we are.

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“The hunger is still there, but you need some luck along the way. However, we are confident we will be up there again.

“I expect Achilles, who have not changed their team much from last year, to challenge for the title and Framlingham under Mel Aldis could be dark horses. Ipswich Athletic and Woodbridge Athletic should also do well.”

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Grundisburgh have lost three of last season’s side – Gary Hammond to Felixstowe United, Luke Reid to Henley Athletic and Daniel Pryke to Brantham – and have brought in Danny Cump, who rejoins brother Andy, from Felixstowe United, Matt Oxbrow from Coplestonians and Peri Howell from Melton St Audrys.

They head into their opening match after remaining unbeaten in pre-season – defeating Ridgeons Premier opponents Kirkley & Pakefield 1-0 and Walsham-le-Willows 3-1, and drawing with Ridgeons Division One sides Ipswich Wanderers 2-2 and Cornard United 0-0.

They rounded off with a 1-0 win against Division One side Henley Athletic ahead of tomorrow’s opener away to Capel Plough, where reserve keeper Doug Mustoe will replace the unavailable Danny Crump.

“Capel are always in the top half of the table and are difficult to beat at their place, so we are expecting a tough game,” added Squirrell.

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