Newmarket Town prepare for Premier Division challenge

Newmarket Town joint managers Karl Johnson, left, and Kevin Grainger, right

Newmarket Town joint managers Karl Johnson, left, and Kevin Grainger, right - Credit: James Ager

NEWMARKET Town joint manager Kevin Grainger knows the importance of establishing the club in the Premier Division of the Thurlow Nunn League next season.

The Jockeys suffered relegation from the top flight of the Eastern Counties League in 2007/08 and again last season.

But they have bounced back at the first attempt both times, and will take their place in the Premier Division again next season.

Plans for Cambridge City to ground share with Newmarket have bitten the dust, with the Southern League Premier Division side agreeing to play at Blue Square Bet North Histon’s Glass World Stadium for the next two years.

Three years ago Cambridge City agreed to play at their Cricket Field Road ground, but then extended their lease at Milton Road.

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Grainger, who is also the club’s vice-chairman, said: “We are not that disappointed. The money would have made a difference, but not a massive difference to us.

“We were very disappointed at the time. Three years ago it was a big thing, but it is now second-hand news and not that important.”

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Grainger, whose joint manager Karl Johnson is stepping down at the end of the season, said that although it would be financially tougher playing in the Premier Division the club were ready for the challenge.

He said: “It is important now that we concentrate on Newmarket Town and having a good season in the Premier Division.

“You play at the level that you can afford and sometimes it is hard as with the money situation everyone is struggling.

“We have proved we are good enough to play in the Premier Division, but it will be difficult for all clubs.

“But John Olive, our chairman, has taken care of the financial side of the club, so I am sure we will be okay.”

A 1-0 defeat at home to Saffron Walden Town on Tuesday night has left Newmarket’s hopes of pipping Cambridge University Press hanging by a thread.

Newmarket were disappointed to have to replay the match against Saffron Walden, which they led 3-1 with 15 minutes to go, after midfielder Luke Butcher suffered a broken right shin.

Even if Newmarket win at Halstead Town today, CUP will clinch the title if they defeat Fakenham Town.

A point for CUP, who have dropped just two points in their last six matches, will edge them mathematically closer to the championship as they hold a goal difference of plus nine over Newmarket, who they face in their last match of the season a week on Wednesday.

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