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Tribute to a hero

This Saturday The Bloods entertain Welsh Premier League side Airbus UK and the two sides will be competing for the Tony Downes Memorial Trophy.

Droylsden has never forgotten his sacrifice for his country and now in its twelfth year it continues to  honour his memory.

Neil ‘Tony’ Downes was killed in 2007 when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by an explosion when on a patrol with the Afghan National Army (ANA) close to the town of Sangin in Helmand Province.

The Grenadier Guards and the ANA had been taking part in an operation to help widen and deepen irrigation ditches for locals in the area. 

Tony was twenty years old, from Droylsden, he had joined the Army in 2004 and had already completed one tour in Iraq with the Grenadier Guards in 2006.

He lived with his parents Sheryl and Ronnie at the King’s Head pub on Market Street just a stone’s throw from the Butcher’s Arms.

Company Commander The Inkerman Company, Major Marcus JG Elliot-Square, said of him:

“Guardsman Downes was without doubt one of the most remarkable Guardsmen that I have had the pleasure to serve with. He was a man of huge intellect. In possession of sixteen GCSEs he was always going to be the Company’s choice as intelligence rep. This was a responsibility that he fully embraced always willing to give informed briefs at a moments notice. “He had developed such a depth of understanding about the areas that we worked in that the Company was always well prepared. Consummately professional in everything he did, he never stopped gathering vital intelligence whilst on patrol in areas such as Sangin, Gereshk and Babaji. He was completely dedicated to his job and to the men around him, making him both a pleasure and an honour to command. Guardsman Downes loved soldiering and so died doing something he loved and believed in totally. He added so much to the Company and asked for very little in return. He was a real asset and his loss will be felt keenly within The Inkerman Company and The Grenadier Guards as a whole.”

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Ashton United 4-2 Droylsden

A third workout in seven days ended in defeat for the Bloods but manager Dave Pace will have learnt much from this outing.

Two down after seventeen minutes thanks to an unmarked Hunt heading in from an early corner and a brilliant strike from Connor Hughes, Bloods fought back to level just before half time.

Before that Chris Thompson had saved a penalty for the second weekend running correctly guessing Crowther’s weak spot kick.

Rhys Clooney pulled one back dispossessing a Robins defender and the home team’s defence switched off failing to clear to allow Liam Caddick to equalise.

On the stroke of half time, a brilliant individual goal from Rowley saw the striker finish in style chipping Thompson.

Ashton made it four earlier in the second half,Callum Dolan’s shot deflected in off Rigby after Thompson’s save.

It was all change for both clubs with several substitutes for both sides as the game meandered to its conclusion.

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FA Cup and FA Trophy Draws

The Bloods will travel to the winners of the Abbey Hey or Liversage extra Preliminary Game in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup on the 24th August.

The campaign gets underway on Saturday 10 August when the extra preliminary round kicks-off across the country.

With a total number of 736 clubs entered into the FA Cup this season, 368 of them are preparing to start their Cup campaign at its earliest stage with 184 ties scheduled.

Those winners will progress into the preliminary round, where they will be joined by 136 clubs who enter the competition at this stage on Saturday 24 August, with a further 160 ties scheduled.

The prize fund for this term’s competition has also been released, with both winning and losing clubs at the earliest stage receiving payment as those who progress from the extra preliminary round pick up £2250 and the losing teams get £750.

And that theme of losing clubs receiving prize money continues until the competition reaches the first round proper in November.

There are 50 new entries to this season’s competition from the 2018-19 campaign, of which 23 of them will be FA Cup debutants.

Meanwhile the Bloods will entertain fellow league side Workington in the FA Trophy Preliminary Round on Saturday 10th October.

The scheduled game at the Butcher’s Arms against City of Liverpool on the 28th of September has been postponed because of our opponents involvement in the Extra Preliminary Round of the competition

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St Helens Town 0-7 Droylsden

A first run out for pre season saw a mixture of new and familiar faces easily defeat the club two leagues below them.

St Helens could have taken the lead on the quarter hour mark when Steve Rigby gave away a penalty but keeper Chris Thompson saved Neil Weaver’s spot kick.

The Bloods created all the chances and their exciting attacking play paid dividends just before half time when a header from a Trialist came back off the bar and was put into his own net by a St Helens defender.The Bloods doubled their lead just before the interval when a Trialist finished well latching onto the long ball to hit the top corner from outside the area.

The second half saw a few changes in personnel, Liam Caddick scoring a third three minutes in.

Skipper Michael Brewster made it four ten minutes later from the penalty after the midfielder  surged into the area only to be brought down.

Dom Smith tapped in to make it five on sixty eight minutes while Liam Caddick completed a hat trick with goals in the 84th minute and on the stroke of full time.

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New sponsor for the Northern Premier League

The National League System’s ‘big three’ feeder leagues are celebrating a new two-year sponsorship deal with leading online gambling company BetVictor, starting from season 2019/20.

It’s the first time that a single brand takes on the title sponsorship of every Step 3 and 4 competition. Like many contemporary sports sponsorships, BetVictor’s focus is on digital and social media, with each league’s website being refreshed and new content added.

The new BetVictor sponsorship will bring a remarkable level of new investment into each competition, underpinning BetVictor’s commitment to supporting the game and to strengthen its digital presence through unique collaborations and campaigns.

In a joint statement, Nick Robinson – Isthmian Football League Chairman, Mark Harris – Northern Premier League Chairman and Terry Barratt – Southern League Chair, said:

“We are delighted to be working with BetVictor, such a high-profile sponsor. It is a major coup for the leagues at the Steps 3 and 4 of the National Leagues System. By working collectively, we become a much more attractive commercial and media proposition. We are all striving to professionalise our competitions and this sponsorship takes things to a new level.”

Commenting on the partnership, BetVictor’s Director of Brand and Creative, Matt Parkes stated:

“We’re very excited about this partnership and we’re confident it will be a successful one for all three leagues and for BetVictor. The growing popularity of the leagues amongst the football community in the UK gives us the opportunity to amplify our brand’s digital presence and engagement, and to get closer to the leagues’ football fans.”

The players’ shirt sleeves at 228 clubs part of all three leagues will also carry the BetVictor logo.