Heacham FC are champions of the Thurlow Nunn Division One
A bumper crowd of over 300 people turned out to cheer on The Magpies as they attempted an historic promotion to the Eastern Counties Premier Division.
Heacham knew a win would secure the title, whilst a draw or loss meant a reliance on results elsewhere. As it turned out, a convincing 9-1 victory was enough to calm all nerves. A first half hat-trick by Man of the Match, Fletcher Toll, meant the match was all but over as a competitive spectacle by half time. Second half goals by Luke Gray (3) and Charlie Royal (2) plus a fourth from top goalscorer Toll, turned this display into an exhibition match. A depleted Haverhill team, with a browbeaten team manager in goal, did manage a late consolation goal.
Fletcher Toll's goal number three
Charlie Royle's wonder hit
It seemed a distant memory since an opening day home defeat to Framlingham Town in September who, as it turned out, proved to be Heacham’s main foes throughout the early part of the season. Framlingham wilted, but along came Downham FC who posed a real threat towards the tail end of the season. Heacham held their nerve.
The coolness and shrewdness of manager Dave Griggs, along with coaches Sean McQuaid, Jordan Courtney Jenner and the returning Ross McNeil, should not go unrecognised, nor the support of the back room staff and the loyalty of the fans. However, it was all about the players delivering on the pitch. And deliver they did this season. Consistent, reliable, ruthless. Able to field a constant team reaps dividends through familiarity and confidence in each other’s play, key requisites in Heacham’s success this season.
The subs on the day. (from left) Luke Gray, Ben Coe, Paulius Falco, George Rawlings and Sam Lammiman
Hopefully, the progress of Ingoldisthorpe FC and Dersingham Rovers FC will offer launching pads for local talent to this level whilst the success of Heacham Minors bodes well for the future of local football.
Chairman, Dave Page, was ecstatic, “if you had told me 8 years ago we would be in the Eastern Counties Premier Division I would have laughed. I simply cannot believe it and thank everyone involved with the club who have made this monumental achievement possible. We are checking to see if eight consecutive promotions is a Guinness book record!”
Heacham's management team (from left) Jordan Courtney Jenner, David Griggs, Ross McNeil and Sean McQuaid.
Next season will prove a different challenge altogether, competing in one of the toughest divisions at this level across the country. Whilst they can look forward to local derbies against Sheringham and Fakenham, as well as mouth-watering visits from the likes of Ely City, Newmarket Town and Lakenheath, this promotion will involve considerably more mileage on their travels. For the moment, however, Heacham FC can continue to enjoy their incredible journey.
Images: Ian Burt
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