Trio of new players sign for Melford as captain departs

MELFORD SWITCH: Pete Whitwell, pictured defending for Cornard United against Swaffham Town last season, has signed for Long Melford
MELFORD SWITCH: Pete Whitwell, pictured defending for Cornard United against Swaffham Town last season, has signed for Long Melford

Long Melford manager Jules Mumford has added two experienced new signings to supplement his young squad ahead of the new season.

Versatile defenders or midfielders Chris McMahon and Pete Whitwell have joined 18-year-old Ross Waugh in becoming the first set of confirmed new additions at Stoneylands.

But last season’s captain Justin Crissell and veteran striker Martin Westcott have both decided to seek out a new challenge with divisional rivals Saffron Walden Town.

Thirty-one-year-old McMahon returns to the Thurlow Nunn First Division club after a brief spell under Jason Maher the season before last, having played at Wormingford Wanderers last season.

Mumford, whose side opened their pre-season campaign with an 8-1 thumping of Hedinghams United at Great Yaxley on Saturday, said: “He was with me at Sudbury Athletic, he can play anywhere and has good experience as well. It is good to have him back in the ranks.”

Whitwell has signed from Cornard United after the Villagers tried to prise him away from the bottom club last season.

“He wanted to stick it out with Cornard to get their first win which shows good character,” said Mumford.

Waugh has signed from Boxford Rovers and is described as strong on the ball.

Chaise Guyon (3), Jack Durey, Courtney Prince, Will Wingfield, Tom Wingfield and Richie Abbott were the goalscorers on Saturday, with Melford hosting Crane Sports on Saturday (3pm) and following it up at Stoneylands with the visit of Woodbridge Town on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Cornard United manager Mark Hoskins has also added three new signings ahead of their first pre-season friendly, at home against Essex Senior League Division One side Springfield on Tuesday (7.45pm), but youngster Jordan Bailey (knee) is set to be out for the season.

Goalkeeper Colin Athey, 34, (Halstead Town), central defender Lee Smith, 25, (Heybridge Swifts and Halstead Town) and central midfielder Dan Sakal, 22, (Halstead Town) have all signed.

Halstead Town manager Mark Benterman said Sakal’s new job as a photographer at Ipswich Town meant he could not fully commit himself to the club.

The Rosemary Lane outfit have added 28-year-old Heybridge Swifts midfielder Nick Miller and 26-year-old Burnham Ramblers centre-back Ash Baptiste.

Halstead won their first three pre-season games, all 
at home, against higher-league opposition — 2-1 against Stanway Rovers last Tuesday (Palmer, Root), 3-1 against Bowers and Pitsea on Saturday (Fuller, Cook, Thorogood) and 2-1 against FC Clacton Tuesday (Hutchings, Drew).

They host Earls Colne on Saturday (3pm) and Bacton United 89 on Tuesday (7.45pm) and will travel to Eastbourne for two games against fellow step five side Hailsham Town from July 27.