Thurlow Nunn title win or not, Brightlingsea Regent are preparing for Ryman League Division One North
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Brightlingsea Regent manager James Webster is keen to let his current crop of players test themselves at Ryman League Division One North level next season.
Regent, who can win the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division today if they can better leaders’ Hadleigh United’s result, will be playing at the next level from August, irrespective of the outcome of the final round of matches.
Unlike Hadleigh and third-placed Felixstowe & Walton, who can also win the title today, Regent applied for promotion to Step Four and were given the green light to go up, on the proviso they finished in the top three.
Winning the title would be a bonus for Webster’s men, but fitting, considering the journey they are embarking on together.
“I think about 80% of my team played for us in the Essex & Suffolk Border league three years ago, and I think that togetherness is one of the reasons behind our success,” said Webster.
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“They play for each other and I have only ever tweaked the squad each season with two or three additions at the most.
“We are now going up to Ryman North, which is a division I have never managed in, and I would like to give the players who have got us there the chance to play at that level.
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“I will look at bringing in one or two players but this is a great opportunity and everyone wants to play at the highest level possible.”
Regent, who enjoyed a run to the fifth round of the FA Vase this season, host in-form Norwich United today, while Hadleigh entertain Mildenhall and Felixstowe are at home to fourth-placed Godmanchester.
Webster insists predicting the destiny of the title is a difficult task.
“I think we have got the trickiest game, Norwich are the league’s in-form team and haven’t lost since we beat them on February 1,” said the Regent boss.
“The game between Hadleigh and Mildenhall is hard to predict. We played Mildenhall a few weeks ago and found it tough to break them down, but with Hadleigh at home, they should be favourites to get three points. Then there is Felixstowe at home to Godmanchester and I think that pits the side with the best home league record against the side with the best away record.”
Whatever happens, Webster is delighted with the progress made by his team this season – his side were promoted last season after finishing third in the First Division.
“We have achieved more than we expected at the start of the season,” admitted Webster.
“We never thought we would be in promotion contention at this stage, but now we are, I hope the lads can finish the job. I think the FA Vase run helped, we turned that into a big positive and it was great incentive as everyone wanted to be in the team.”
He added: “Since we discovered our application for promotion would be successful (by finishing in the top three), things have snowballed.
“There has been a lot of work done off the pitch to get things ready for the Ryman League and the support we’ve received from local companies and businesses has been superb.”
More with Regent chairman Terry Doherty next week.