Keeper makes switch to rivals
Ashford Hockey Club have confirmed the departure of long-serving goalkeeper Keir Starley following his switch to Kent Sussex Regional 1 rivals and old foes Folkestone.
The 33-year-old’s defection, at the start of his 18th season in senior hockey, ends a 12-year stay at Ball Lane – his second spell with the club, having returned in 2003 following six years at Canterbury.
Starley played his first game for Ashford at the age of 12, making his first-team debut three years later.
Strategic coach Daran Cass said: “Keir and I had a long conversation about things. There was no animosity about him leaving, he wants to play with his friends at Folkestone but we hope he will come back one day in the future.”
Meanwhile, Ashford men continued their build-up to the new season on October 3rd, losing 2-1 against both Folkestone and Eastbourne in a triangular tournament.
Cass said: “We had a good blend of first team and second team players involved.
“There were really positive signs despite the defeats, and things are looking bright.”
Ashford continue their preparations with a home friendly against Maidstone on Saturday (1pm).
The 2nds visit Medway club Holcombe (3.30pm).
The 3rds warmed up for the new campaign with a 4-2 win over Herne Bay at Ashford School.
Skipper Matt Carter, Matt Barlow, Robin Miller and Matt Goodwin were their scorers.
The ladies’ 2nds and 3rds, both playing
Thurrock v Brom & Becks 2nds, Redbridge & Ilford v Havering, Burnt Ash v East London 1, Tunbridge Wells 2nds v Ashford, Blackheath OE v Wapping 2nds, BBHC v Canterbury 2A.
Ashford 2nds 1 Bexleyheath & Belvedere 2nds 4, New Beccehamian 0 Folkestone Optimist 2nds 6, Tunbridge Wells 3rds 1 Bromley and Beckenham 3rds 2, Blackheath and OEs 2nds 6 Ashford 3rds 0, Herne Bay 1 Holcombe 2nds 3, Sevenoaks Acorns 4 Marden Russets 3.
Ashford 3rds v Tunbridge Wells 3rds, Holcombe 2nds v Sevenoaks Acorns, Folkestone Optimist 2nds v Blackheath and OEs 2nds, Marden Russets v New Beccehamian, Bromley and Beckenham 3rds v Ashford 2nds, Bexleyheath & Belvedere 2nds v Herne Bay. in Kent Division 1 this season, started with defeats on Saturday.
The 2nds lost 4-1 at Bromley & Beckenham, despite Amy Thomas putting them in front.
The 3rds went down Blackheath.
The 1sts, under new captain Annie White, begin their East Women’s League South East Division campaign with a trip to Tunbridge Wells 2nds on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Cass has reaffirmed Ashford’s intention to be more proactive in their bid to boost the playing strength throughout the club.
He said: “We want to attract all ages and abilities, they don’t have to be the best players in the world but enjoy playing and to be part of the social aspect of the club.”