Smith bids to improve Walsham's position

PAUL Smith is in his tenth season as Walsham-le-Willows manager - and every season he has improved their league position.He sends his team into Ridgeons League, Premier Division action at Debenham Leisure Centre on Saturday in 14th place having been hit by the withdrawal from the league of King's Lynn Reserves.

Elvin King

PAUL Smith is in his tenth season as Walsham-le-Willows manager - and every season he has improved their league position.

He sends his team into Ridgeons League, Premier Division action at Debenham Leisure Centre on Saturday in 14th place having been hit by the withdrawal from the league of King's Lynn Reserves.

Walsham had beaten them twice, so now find themselves six points worse off.


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Last season Walsham, who were still in the SIL when Smith took over, finished tenth.

He knows he has some making up to do to achieve his goal of improving on that.

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“I have aimed higher each year, and this season is no exception,” said Smith.

“As long as you are going forward it makes everybody's efforts worthwhile.

“Losing six points - and we were one of only two teams to have beaten Lynn twice - is a big blow, but that is something out of our hands.

“Like everybody else we did not play last weekend so it makes gaining something at Debenham even more important.”

The Ridgeons League has given its blessing for clubs to arrange pitch inspections today to decide on the likelihood of games going ahead on Boxing Day.

Like every other ground in the league Debenham's was still under heavy snow this morning and there must be a big doubt about playing in two days' time.

Smith says that he has been a little bit surprised by Mel Aldis' Debenham having such a good start to the season after their promotion last season.

And he warns them that it will get tougher next term.

“When we came up we found that we caught teams out because they didn't know much about us and the way we played,” added Smith.

“Our second season proved harder.

“We are expecting a tough match as Debenham have a good home record and it looks to me like being an even contest.”

Smith will be without the suspended Lee Simm, Stuart Holden and Richie Partridge for a derby where they have to travel 15 miles.

Debenham - with six wins to their credit at home and just seven goals conceded - start the match in tenth place.

Felixstowe and Walton United have no game on Boxing Day with 15th placed Hadleigh taking on fourth-placed Stanway Rovers at Millfield with an 11am kick-off.

Hadleigh have struggled against the top three and this will be a good test of their progress, while Leiston (third) face a trip to seventh-placed Kirkley in a game that is more likely to go on than most with the worst of the snow having missed that part of the world.

Leiston have gained just one point from their last three games but have scored 40 goals on their travels. Leaders Needham Market take on Woodbridge Town (19th) with 47 points separating the two. The home side are unbeaten at Bloomfields while the visitors have struggled to get points anywhere, but their two wins have been on their travels.

In the First Division, Ipswich Wanderers are at home to Brantham while Stowmarket Town travel to Whitton United - both with 11am start times.

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