With five BUCS entries and a healthy presence in local leagues, UEA’s footballers are looking to extend their successful recent history, and exhibit a bit more cutting-edge in BUCS cup competition.
The club will be overseen by a new Head of Football, Paul Neary, who boasts more than 20 years’ experience both at the elite level of coaching and in local football, this month resigning from the Downham Town hotseat to take over at Colney Lane. The UEFA B Licensed coach counts Manchester United and the Football Association among his employers.
After promotion last season, the Men’s firsts will this term compete in BUCS Midlands 2A against the likes of Northampton, Nottingham Trent seconds and Loughborough thirds. A great season also saw them reach the quarter-finals of the Midlands Conference Cup. Closer to home, they are also in the Anglian Combination Division 1 after a strong fifth place finish last season, playing their home games on Saturdays at Colney Lane. New captain Ben George will be hoping to make Colney Lane a fortress as the team look to cement their Midlands 2A place and push on in the Combination.
The reserve team will play in Midlands 3B, where they will face the likes of Bedfordshire, De Montfort, Anglia Ruskin and Cambridge seconds, and the Anglian Combination Division 4 on Saturdays. This comes after an exceptional 2017-18 where the side won Division 5 North and the local CS Morley Cup with a 2-1 extra-time defeat of Dussindale Rovers at the FDC.
While it will be a few weeks until BUCS action gets underway, the local leagues have been running since August. Hopes are high for striker Jody Scowcroft, who netted in the reserves’ cup final win, and has already scored several goals this season.
A third Men’s team will face some tricky fixtures in Midlands 5B after a comfortable mid-table finish last term following promotion, and the local Central and South Norfolk League Division 1 after coming runner-up in the second tier last season. They will also be looking to build on their last-eight showing in the BUCS Midlands Plate competition.
UEA will also be hoping for a good showing in the Norfolk County Junior Cup after breezing through the first round with a 9-1 win. In 2017, they lifted the trophy at Norwich City’s Carrow Road stadium in front of nearly 1,000 fans and will be hoping for another cup run this season.
Head of football Neary told Concrete: “I want all the teams to get promoted, take each game as it comes, play to win each one. If you can play nice and win, great. If you can’t play nice, make sure you win. It’s as simple as that.”
UEA Men’s football trials take place on Wednesday 26th(3:45pm) and Friday 28th(1:45pm) September at the Sportspark, with a £3 trial fee.
UEA’s Women will enter two teams into BUCS this year, in Midlands 2B and 4A respectively. After a third place finish last season, the firsts will be looking to do even better in a tough league including Warwick, Lincoln, Oxford Brookes and Loughborough seconds, and improve on their Midlands Conference Cup quarter-final finish. Several of the first team have been keeping match fit over summer in local Women’s sides.
The seconds will face a number of strong reserve teams in Midlands 4A, after a third place finish last term. They will also be hoping for a Midlands Conference Cup run where they could test themselves against the bigger fish higher up the BUCS league system.
Football was one of the sports in which both UEA sides picked up points in UEA’s Derby Day victory in Essex. The Men won a tempestuous, scrappy affair in the pouring rain 1-0, with the Women triumphing four goals to two – both teams will no doubt be hoping for a repeat come April.