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  1. Last week there was good progress made in the Cup competitions as the 1st Team reached the quarter finals of the Suffolk Senior Cup and the Reserves qualified for the semi-finals of the Chell Trophy, which sets up two big games to look forward to in early 2013…the 1st Team are at home to Crane Sports (12th January) and Reserves home v Walsham-le-Willows (5th February).

    On Saturday the 1st Team lost 2-1 at Saffron Walden Town, a good game to watch considering the difficult conditions but the injury to Walden keeper Paul Wood (who made 118 appearances for Melford) overshadowed the match and we all wish Woodsie well for his recovery.

    It was a deserved win for Walden who had the better of the play and chances. But nevertheless another good battling display by Melford who were solid defensively and dealt well with a lot of aerial balls in the box from corners and Joe Rudkin’s unbelievable long throws, probably the best long throw I’ve ever seen; not just long but flat and fast too.

    It’s not a very experienced 1st Team at the moment, using Saturday’s squad as an example I’d say 11 of the 14 players have played most of their football at a lower level. But although Melford are in the bottom three, the majority of matches this season have been closely fought with only CUP, Newmarket and Braintree beating Melford by more than one goal in the league this season. Which suggests the players who have stepped up from the Reserves, U18s and local leagues have done very well and are holding their own against most sides in the division.

    Making an impressive debut for Melford on Saturday was Luke Cresswell, who stood for election as a Labour candidate last year in Sudbury, so it was appropriate that he played on the left wing!

    The Reserves came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Saffron Walden’s second string and now have a two-week break from action before playing Halstead Town at Stoneylands on Saturday 8th December.

    The Ladies’ match against Bacton United was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, their next fixture is away to Ransomes Sports on Sunday 2nd December.

    The next match at Stoneylands is the U18’s home game against Hadleigh United on Wednesday, followed by the 1st Team at home to Braintree Town Reserves on Saturday.

  2. Firstly well done to Tony West and everyone else involved in yesterday’s charity match at Stoneylands. The match raised over £400 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Success After Stroke, thanks to a 100+ crowd; the final score was Macmillan All Stars 3 Long Melford XI 5.

    Since my last update a fortnight ago a lot has happened at Melford on and off the pitch, the combination of ups and downs that every club encounters; defeats for the 1st Team and Reserves, victories for the U18s and Ladies, injuries and departures, a successful Fireworks night, a scathing comment on the club’s website forum, 3 more Senior debuts for the club’s youngsters and a cheque for over £500 from the Suffolk FA (last season’s Senior Cup prize money).

    It won’t be the same watching Melford play without Ashley Skeggs in the team, after 5 years at the club. Also his family who were regular supporters at Stoneylands will be missed. But Skeggo’s move to Diss Town is a great chance to step up a level and play in the Premier Division. So best wishes to Skeggo and I’m sure he’ll help Diss climb out of the relegation zone soon.

    For several years the club’s 1st Team had one of the worst disciplinary records in the League, which not only cost a small fortune in fines but also reflected badly on the club. Thankfully we have turned the corner this season; Melford are currently joint 6thout of 38 clubs in the Thurlow Nunn League Fair Play Award.  In league and cup matches this season, Melford are averaging exactly 1 yellow card per game (17 yellows in 17 matches) with 0 red cards. A huge improvement so well done to all involved in improving this aspect of the 1st Team.

    A big week ahead for the club, starting with the U18s’ local derby/top of the table clash with Cornard United on Wednesday night at Stoneylands. Then on Saturday in the Senior Cup the 1st Team travel to Ipswich to face SIL side Achilles, who were unlucky to be knocked out on penalties by Melford last season and will be tough opposition again this year. Meanwhile the Reserves make the short trip to AFC Sudbury hoping to avenge two defeats against Sudbury earlier in the season. The Ladies, who moved up to 3rd after their 4-1 win at Ipswich Valley Rangers yesterday, play at home to Brandon on Sunday.

    Finally good luck to former Melford manager Paul Grainger who has joined Cornard United to run their 1st Team alongside Chris Symes. With PG on board it won't be long before they they pick up their first league win in over a year and his arrival will liven up the Boxing Day derby. ANDY CUSSANS



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