Mer­sham Sports lift county T20 ti­tle

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport - By An­drew Gi­d­ley

Don Cros­bie says he is stag­gered and dis­ap­pointed af­ter Ash­ford United were fined £750 by the South­ern Coun­ties East League for fail­ing to ful­fill their open­ing fix­ture of the sea­son against Beck­en­ham Town last month.

The Ash­ford owner ap­peared be­fore a dis­ci­plinary com­mis­sion last Wed­nes­day to an­swer the charge but ad­mit­ted he was un­happy at the out­come, de­spite £500 be­ing sus­pended.

The game was called off due to de­lays with the in­stal­la­tion of the mul­ti­mil­lion pound 3G pitch and United’s plans to stage the game else­where not prov­ing pos­si­ble.

Mr Cros­bie said: “I am dis­ap­pointed, stag­gered and hor­ri­fied that the ech­e­lons of football don’t sup­port the grass­roots and lit­tle non-prof­it­mak­ing com­mu­nity clubs like ours.

“We should be pat­ted on the back for what we have done at Home­lands, pro­vid­ing the sort of fa­cil­i­ties that lo­cal author­i­ties or the Football As­so­ci­a­tion don’t fund.

“I won’t be ap­peal­ing and I will pay the fine. I would pay £10,000 if I had to be­cause it is the prin­ci­ple of the thing, there is no sup­port.”

The new sur­face sur­vived a huge soak­ing on Tues­day ahead of the Lordswood game, with Mr Cros­bie hail­ing the pitch as “beau­ti­ful and ab­so­lutely per­fect.” He added: “If the game had been played on grass, it would have been off, as would Can­ter­bury’s game against Deal due to take place last night (Wed­nes­day).

“Ev­ery­body, vis­it­ing play­ers and ref­eree, said how good it was to play and of­fi­ci­ate on.”

Mean­while, United trio, Nathan Paul, Dave Cook and Jamie Col­lado have left the club this week, with play­er­man­ager Danny Lye con­firm­ing he has made seven-day ap­proaches for new play­ers.

Paul, who joined the club at the start of the sea­son, has fol­lowed for­mer striker Stu­art Zanone to Green­wich, while Cook and Col­lado have re­joined Hythe, fol­low­ing the ap­point­ment of Cook’s fa­ther as new joint-boss of Hythe. Lye said: “Green­wich put in seven days for Nathan last week, we of­fered him a good deal to stay but they topped it by a mile.”

were win­ners of Soc­cer Club Swap Shop Pro­gramme of the Year last sea­son and placed 42nd over­all na­tion­ally. Geer­ings, of Ash­ford, are the new de­sign and print part­ner for the pub­li­ca­tion, edited by Dave Reid.

Pic­ture: Wayne McCabe FM4019801

Ash­ford United’s Jamie Col­lado drives for­ward on the new pitch against Erith Town

on Satur­day. Match re­port, page 77

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