Old Leiston duo set to return to Victory Road with AFC Sudbury on a ‘curtain raiser’ of an opening night as Thurlow Nunn Christmas fixtures are announced

Dave Cannon

Dave Cannon - Credit: Archant

There promises to be an added bit of extra spice to the start of the Thurlow Nunn First Division season as old Leiston managerial duo Danny Laws and Dave Cannon return to Victory Road with new club AFC Sudbury Res/U21s on Friday, August 8, 7.45pm.

Although the official start of the Thurlow Nunn Leagues is Saturday, August 9, this game is to be used as a curtain-raiser the previous evening as clubs prepare to start their respective seasons.

Laws resigned from his first-team managerial post at Leiston in October of last year after an indifferent start in the Ryman Premier Division but returned to football at the end of the season at King’s Marsh Stadium.

Cannon meanwhile, took charge of Leiston’s under-21 team last campaign, but left to reacquaint himself with Laws earlier this summer – as his assistant manager.

In charge of Sudbury’s second string, it should therefore be fitting that the duo’s first game in charge, and the opening fixture of the season, is against their former employees’ reserve/development side – who have just been newly-elected to the Thurlow Nunn set-up.

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“The first game is always the one you look out for and fittingly it’s against Leiston,” said Cannon.

“Being under the lights and with a lot of local support as well as hopefully some from wider afield, it should be a great advert for the league.”

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Cannon, who played under Laws at Needham Market, led Leiston’s youngsters to a respectable mid-table finish in the Ryman Under-21 League last campaign, and is relishing the return to a place that brings back many great memories.

“I like Leiston as a place, it’s a place and a club I’ve had a wider affinity for having taught PE to eight or nine of the players at any one time,” he added.

“I’m grateful to Danny (Laws), first of all for giving me the opportunity last season, and to Andy (Crisp) for allowing me to continue.

“I left because I had the opportunity to work with Danny again and work within a great non-league club.

“I’ve been very, very impressed with the whole structure, organisation and professionalism of the club and that includes the first-team, the under-21s and the under-18s.

“We’ve just started pre-season training and it’s been to a very high standard - the orginisation and quality has been excellent so far and sessions aren’t getting broken down because a 17-year-old is involved.”

In essence, the aim of Sudbury’s young second string is to provide players for first-team manager David Batch to use as Cannon explains.

He said: “The aim is to provide a platform for the under-18s to get into the under-21s and push their aspirations higher towards the first team and the Ryman North.

“With the likes of ourselves, Leiston, Braintree, Dereham, Kings Lynn and Needham Market in the Thurlow Nunn First Division, facility wise it is very good and gives players a full season - which, although it is a good league, that is something the Ryman Under-21 doesn’t provide. There aren’t enough games for the players to be completely part of the club and make the transition into first-team football.”

Although the full list of the Thurlow Nunn fixtures is still pending, the Christmas Premier Division fixtures have been arranged and have thrown up some potentially thrilling games as follows.

Friday, December 26 (KO 11am) - Kirkley & Pakefield v Gorleston, Walsham-le-Willows v Haverhill Rovers.

Saturday, December 27 (KO 3pm) - Brantham Athletic v Stanway Rovers, Diss Town v Thetford Town, Ely City v Godmanchester Rovers, Fakenham Town v Norwich United, Hadleigh United v Felixstowe & Walton United, Ipswich Wanderers v Whitton United, Mildenhall Town v Newmarket Town, Wivenhoe Town v FC Clacton.

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