League leaders aiming to make step up

Hollington United celebrate winning the Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division title at the end of last season.

Hollington United Football Club is aiming to continue its current momentum by stepping up a level next season.

The Macron East Sussex Football League leaders - and reigning champions - intend to move up to the Macron Store Southern Combination Football League for the 2018/19 campaign.

Hollington have already registered their interest with the Southern Combination League and are hopeful of being accepted, subject to finishing this season in a high enough position and complying with ground grading criteria.

The club has been told its pitch meets the size requirements for the next level up and intends to carry out a few other necessary bits of ground work, such as installing dug-outs.

Hollington manager Scott Price said: “Hopefully we will go to the next stage. The clubhouse and changing rooms are decent, we’ve got our own pitch and it’s an attractive place. Hollington should’ve been playing in the county league years ago.”

In Price and his number two Andy Thomson, Hollington possess a managerial duo with bags of higher level experience.

Price achieved considerable success over several seasons in charge of the now defunct Rye United, including reaching the FA Vase quarter-finals in 2010/11.

Thomson, who Price says is a massive help to him, managed the old St Leonards club in what was then known as the Dr Martens League in the early 2000s.

There’s also no shortage of higher level experience on the pitch, with former Hastings United favourites Sean Ray and Ade Olorunda among the playing squad.

Hollington in the end won the East Sussex League fairly comfortably last season, and Price believes they’re even stronger this term following the arrival of players like leading scorer Doni Dovla, Grant Payne, Curtis Beale, Ross Southwood and goalkeeper Elliott Stokes.

Ashley Kidman is now playing regularly, while Shaun Loft, Bailo Camara and Anthony Storey are dual registered with Southern Combination League Premier Division team AFC Uckfield Town - and all three played in the win over Bexhill Town a fortnight ago.

Another forward step for the club has been the creation of a youth section. Hollington are fielding under-21, under-18 and under-16 teams this season, and there are plans to start sides in younger age groups next term.

Price says that three or four of the under-21s are easily good enough to play in the first team and the club is looking at fielding an adult third team next season.

Off the field, a few more people have joined the club’s committee and a lot of sponsors are getting involved.

“Everything’s going in the right direction and it’s good for the town as well,” added Price, who was keen to give a special mention to Les and Wendy Hustwayte, as well as Dave Grass, saying ‘if it wasn’t for them, the club wouldn’t be here now’.

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