Club builds on pivotal year

Hurst Green in action
Hurst Green in action

The year of 2014 will go down in Hurst Green Football Club’s record books as a pivotal year in its history, as it continues to grow from strength to strength.

The first team continued their fine form under the management of Graeme Seedall, after their previous promotion, and finished third in West Lancs Division One, narrowly missing out on promotion.

The reserve team also enjoyed an incredible run of results at the start of 2014, and were promoted at the end of the 2013/14 season into West Lancs Division One Reserves.

There is a 10-strong committee, all members of which have played for the club, and the new youth team, under Alec Young’s governance, is proving highly successful.

There are a record number of sponsors, and because of this the club can invest heavily in the pitch, and it is believed the club’s greatest asset is their groundsman, Barry Bolton, who has been nominated for the league’s ’Groundsman of the Year’.

The first team’s defining game was a home night match against Hesketh Bank last April, which also doubled up as the “Sponsors Match”, where food and drink were provided in a marquee adjacent to the pitch.

A crowd of 300 watched a tense battle which Hesketh Bank won narrowly and were duly promoted. The team also got to the final of the Divisional Cup, but were narrowly defeated, once again, by Hesketh Bank.

The leading marksman in the league and scorer on both nights for Hesketh was Jon Stead, who was so impressed with the set-up and playing surface of the villagers that he now plays for Hurst Green, and this season is forming a formidable partnership with Alan Coar, who has smashed in 24 goals.

Once again the villagers are doing very well, though two defeats in December have meant the team has slipped from top spot to fourth.

Steve Young and Andy Holden have formed a successful managerial partnership for the reserves and installed some real steel into the team which has been superbly marshalled by centre half and captain Tom Bamber.

The team have played well in this new division and are lying just below halfway, although the fixtures secretary has not been very kind, as they have played 11 at home and just three away.

The youth team have only lost against two teams and all the current starting 11 still have another year left at youth level, and the club is really excited about this, in particular for next season with the team potentially being alongside the best in Lancashire.

Incredibly, they reached the quarter final of the Lancashire Youth Cup last month, but were defeated by Ramsbottom United. Competition for places is fierce, especially up front, where the four forwards have pace, skill and abundance of goals.

A club spokesman said: “In summary, the club continues to grow from strength to strength. We have a record number of sponsors who we thank for their continued support, and because of this we can invest heavily in the pitch.

“Groundsman Barry Bolton has been nominated for ‘Groundsman of the Year’ in the West Lancs League. In summer he has been known to cut the pitch three times in one day. The playing surface is simply superb.

“All three teams train at the same time at Stonyhurst College every Thursday at 7pm. Off the field, the committee work hard, and the renowned cabaret evening raised revenue that will be ploughed back into the club’s infrastructure.

“The ultimate goal is for changing rooms to be built alongside the pitch, thus enabling the team to compete in the West Lancs League Premier Division.”