Football pre-season starts early for the Pebbles

Dan Cox, ex-Pagham under-18 manager and coach, has joined Bognor’s under-18s set-up as coach for next season.

It follows a solid first season for the youth team at Nyewood Lane which the club are now determined to build on.

Youth-team manager Mike Wood said: “We’re extremely pleased to have someone of Dan’s experience and ability on board.”

Pre-season trials and light training are being held tomorrow (June 7), and June 21, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at a venue to be confirmed. Full pre-season training will commence on July 1.

The under-18s finished eighth out of nine in the Ryman Youth League south division and their campaign is being seen as a good effort after the squad was hastily put together just before the start of the season.

The team – who have become known as the Pebbles – were put together from a single trials night and three pre-season games.

The first season was always seen as the first step in a long-term aim of providing a solid base for local youngsters to make the step up into Ryman League football.

The first few games were a steep learning curve but they grew in strength and started playing good flowing football.

They fielded 15, 16 and 17-year-olds in their squad, where more established teams put out older players, generally 17 and 18-year-olds. The majority of the Rocks team are all eligible to play next season.

The inclusion of four of the youth players in the first-team squad, with three gaining actual match experience, bodes well for the future.

They had a large number of players suffering serious injuries and illness mid-season, with five key players lost for long spells.

The management had to sign 13 defenders during the season as injuries piled up but they managed some impressive wins. These included beating Maidenbower in the first round of the Sussex FA Youth Cup 2-0 and beating Eastbourne Town 3-1 in the league.

At Horsham YMCA, they ran out 3-2 winners.

In February they beat Horsham 3-2 with a young side before defeating Horsham YMCA 5-1 on a day when 16-year-olds Harry Perry and Ryan Morey were given full debuts.

Perry scored two well-taken goals and Morey looked dangerous on the left. Both are excellent prospects.

In an exciting last game at Lewes, who were battling for the title, the young Rocks put out their most inexperienced team, but managed to score first before going down 6-3.

The Pebbles finished with 14 points from four wins and two draws, and ten losses. They scored 26 goals and let in 51 in 16 matches.

The Pebbles hope to continue their development next season.

To register for trials email or telephone Mike Wood at mike.wood.brtfcu18@hotmail.co.uk or on 07805 251454 or 01243 267042.

The team also need a new sponsor for next seson. Anyone interested should contact Mike Wood.