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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Bacon's Bites review 2018: Ipswich Town's Annus horribilis... Non-league on the rise... And we all love the darts!

28 December, 2018 - 19:30
Cole Skuse can't look and Luke Chambers isn't happy after conceding again in the 3-2 defeat by Bristol City. An all too familiar sight in 2018 for Town fans.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Cole Skuse can't look and Luke Chambers isn't happy after conceding again in the 3-2 defeat by Bristol City. An all too familiar sight in 2018 for Town fans. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

© Copyright Stephen Waller

MIKE BACON takes a look back at 2018 as well as a jump forward into 2019. From Ipswich Town to Lewis Hamilton - looking back, looking forward.

Mick McCarthy... Town boss No.1 in 2018    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMMick McCarthy... Town boss No.1 in 2018 Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Well, that was 2018 (almost).

So what does 2019 hold? Who knows? From Ipswich Town to Lewis Hamilton, SPOTY to the darts, I’ve got a few thoughts...

Paul Hurst... Town boss No.2 in 2018.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMPaul Hurst... Town boss No.2 in 2018. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

IPSWICH TOWN

It’s been – what is it now? – Ah yes, an Annus horribilis for Ipswich Town in 2018.

Not much to shout about on the old home wins front from the boys in Blue, three managers during the year and a team currently rock bottom of the Championship.

‘Things Can Only Get Better’ is the song by D:Ream and that really is the case.

Paul Lambert... Town boss No.3 2018 .    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMPaul Lambert... Town boss No.3 2018 . Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

For 2019, I hope Ipswich stay up. Not that it’s looking good, but hope springs – and all that.

I don’t go along with those who think it would be a ‘good idea’ for Town to go down and ‘begin again’.

Begin what again?, exactly.

Getting out of League One will be far from a bunch of Roses (other chocolates are available!).

Colchester Unired boss, John McGreal. Picture: STEVE WALLERColchester Unired boss, John McGreal. Picture: STEVE WALLER

The style of football is different and there are plenty of rock-hard, experienced players plying their trade with considerable success down there.

Money will be in shorter supply, the FA Cup won’t begin in January. No, Town will be playing in the First Round and the chances of coming up against a decent non-league side will be greater.

We all know what happened the last time Town met a non-league side in the FA Cup. Couldn’t beat Lincoln City... TWICE!

So, one big hope for 2019 is that by this time next season, Town are still playing Championship football. PLEEEEASSSEEEE!!!

Tempers flare at Victory Road where Leiston beat Needham Market 2-1 on Boxing Day. Non-league is in good health in the region Photo: BEN POOLEYTempers flare at Victory Road where Leiston beat Needham Market 2-1 on Boxing Day. Non-league is in good health in the region Photo: BEN POOLEY

COLCHESTER UNITED

As much as I hope Town don’t get relegated, I also hope Colchester United get promoted.

The U’s are one of the friendliest clubs. But friendly doesn’t always guarantee success of course.

Ipswich Witches Michale Hartel (blue helmet) and team-mate Danny King crash last season. It was a disappointing 2018 for the Witches. Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comIpswich Witches Michale Hartel (blue helmet) and team-mate Danny King crash last season. It was a disappointing 2018 for the Witches. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

John McGreal has done an excellent job at Colchester, ably assisted by Steve Ball.

It’s no easy task keeping an eye on the finances, bringing through youngsters and getting some older heads in. But McGreal is doing a good job right now.

Colchester deserve to be in League One.

One of my big wishes for 2019.... The U’s going up!

Suffolk's Peter Wright, part of a huge resurgence in darts. Picture: LAWRENCE LUSTIGSuffolk's Peter Wright, part of a huge resurgence in darts. Picture: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

NON-LEAGUE

Non-league football continues to grow and 2018 was no exception.

Nationally, the non-league game is taken far more seriously, with almost all the clubs at Step 1 (the old Conference), full-time.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Formula One drivers' championship during the 2018 Mexico Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City at the weekend. Will he go onto to equal Michael Schumacher's seven victories? Photo: PAMercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Formula One drivers' championship during the 2018 Mexico Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City at the weekend. Will he go onto to equal Michael Schumacher's seven victories? Photo: PA

It won’t be long before that sinks into Step 2, Conference North and South.

Locally, here in Suffolk and north Essex, non-league is on a high.

Braintree Town have endured a trying 2018. The joy of promotion back to the National League (old Conference), has been dampened by the fact just four months later they are bottom of the division and possibly on their way back from whence they came.

But Braintree are a super club who punch so far above their weight, they are a credit. Up against almost all full-time clubs, part-time Iron go toe-to-toe on a weekly basis. Here’s hoping for a ‘Great Escape’ for them between now and April.

In Suffolk the non-league game is in rude health.

Leiston, Lowestoft Town and Needham Market lead the way at Step 3 and the Southern League.

A tough, uncompromising division that all three teams are still coming to terms with after their move ‘across’ from the Isthmian League, all three are doing their towns proud.

Just behind them things are warming up nicely at Bury Town and AFC Sudbury in Step 4, both in good form and no doubt very much looking forward not just to their New Year’s Day clash at Ram Meadow, but 2019 as a whole.

Felixstowe & Walton got promoted to Step 4 back in May – a fantastic achievement for them, and there are many other local sides at this competitive level and below.

So, make 2019 the year you go and support your local club once in a while.

SPEEDWAY

I don’t know what happened to the 2018 speedway season at Foxhall Stadium.

Suffice to say it can’t have been that memorable because I can’t remember anything about it, apart from injuries and fewer meetings.

Even though we enjoyed the hottest summer since 1976, speedway still found itself squeezing in meetings in October – not at Ipswich mind you where the season had long finished.

2019 simply can’t be any worse at Foxhall and with the Witches back in the top league – the Premiership – hopes are high that the Witches will be flying high again. And on a TV set near you! Come on you Witches

For Mildenhall Fen Tigers, the trophy cabinet may have ended bare at the end of the season, but it was a brilliant 2018 for the West Row outfit.

In the end they just ran out of riders and luck.

But they are back again in 2019.

MISCELLANEOUS

I hope the continued rise in popularity of darts continues.

It’s the great working man (and woman’s) game and one we can all identify with.

The sport has been transformed into a high-octane, fun-fuelled spectacle (although I have heard a few fights have been breaking out at one or two events – hopefully they will be nipped in the bud).

From darts, to snooker and please, please, please, can we make it so that fans watching can shout out during the game. It would be so much fun.

Good luck to all in the Women’s World Cup 2019 in France (especially England), while here’s hoping Joe Root’s England can continue their winning form from Sri Lanka.

Lewis Hamilton is bound to win the world title again in 2019 because he’s too good, while one last wish in 2019.... For SPOTY to give speedway at least one mention during their glitzy show in December....

I’ll dream on. Happy New Year.

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