Leiston’s evergreen Blake Saker still fit as a fiddle following 350th league appearance

Leiston's Blake Saker (blue)

Leiston's Blake Saker (blue) - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Leiston’s evergreen and long-serving full-back Blake Saker still has that buzz to compete at the highest level.

The 33-year-old, who recently made his 350th league appearance for the Blues, travels to Enfield today (kick-off 3pm) looking for three points to re-ignite Leiston’s Ryman Premier Division play-off push.

Richard Wilkins’ side fought back from a man down and two goals down to salvage a draw against league-leaders Maidstone United last week, but have picked up just two points from their last four league games.

“Last week’s game was one you want to be involved in,” added Saker, who became the first contracted player at Leiston after signing in 2003.

“You sit in the changing room at half-time thinking that the score-line could be an embarrassing one, but we were by far the better side after they went down to 10 men (49 minutes).”

Having now made more than 350 league appearances for the Suffolk side, Saker has seen more than most over the span of his career, and is still feeling mentally and physically strong.

“I’m still really enjoying it,” Saker continued.

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“I’ve always felt really welcome here, and it’s a big achievement (making 350 league appearances), and one I’m proud of.

“I’m feeling good. Luckily I don’t have to do too much to keep physically fit, I never have done.

“The thing at my age is the mental stuff.

“I had a period of ill-health in November and December where I was questioning whether or not I was enjoying it, but I’m buzzing again now and am fully back on it.”

Stuart Boardley (300 league appearances), Leon Ottley-Gooch (150 league appearances), and Joe Jefford (150 league appearances) are three other players to hit landmark achievements recently, and Saker thinks that one of the main reasons for Leiston’s success over the years has been down to a core group of players staying at the club.

“Leon might have made 150 league appearances, but I think he’s played a total of about 90 minutes for the club (in reference to Ottley-Gooch’s injury problems),” joked Saker.

“We’ve got a great group here though, the squad harmony is good, everyone is on the same page, and we still have hopes of getting into the play-offs.”