THURLOW NUNN: Matt Paine signs for Hadleigh United while striker Romario Dunne secures move to higher-league Brightlingsea Regent
Hadleigh United have secured the services of highly experienced midfielder Matt Paine, but Christian Appleford's Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division outfit will have to make do without talismanic striker Romario Dunne after he secured a jump up two levels with Bostik League Premeir Division Brightlingsea Regent.
Paine, 31, captained Billericay Town to a treble winning season in the Bostik Premier ahead of joining Hadleigh's divisional rivals Stowmarket Town last season.
He went on to make 31 appearances for Rick Andrews' side in 2018/19 as they finished fourth, scoring two goals, one coming against Hadleigh and the other against Framlingham Town.
The defensive-minded midfielder joined the Old Gold & Blacks last summer having helped higher-league Billericay Town to win a treble during the previous term. But his departure from the club was announced his departure from the club at the end of last month. His previous clubs include Boreham Wood and Braintree Town.
Hadleigh manager Christian Appleford was quoted on the club's official Twitter account as saying: "I'm extremely pleased to announce the signing of Matt Paine for @OfficialHUFC.
"Matt is a player of real quality having played in the National League and will bring great qualities to us as a club in our aim to progress and develop! Welcome Matt!"
The club apparently beat off interest from other Thurlow Nunn League clubs and higher-league competition for his signature.
Meanwhile, Appleford will be looking to now replace Dunne, who was joint top goalscorer as the Brettsiders staved off relegation with a 16th place finish and picked up the manager's and players' player of the season awards.
Despite only joining the club under former boss Shane Wardley in late October, he went on to become one of only two Hadleigh players to hit double figures in the goals column.
Along with Danny Thrower (10 from 19 appearances) he scored 10 times from 30 matches.
Meanwhile, striker Mekhi McKenzie, who finished the season on loan at Hadleigh from Bostik League AFC Sudbury, is not someone who will be rejoining the Brettsiders to fill the Dunne void, with Mark Morsley confirming he has agreed to go out on loan to their divisional rivals FC Clacton.
Morsley said: "He signed a new contract last season and we want him to develop him, and I think playing regular at that level will help him."
We understand it is likely to be a season-long loan.
More by this authorRussell Claydon