MATCH PREVIEW: Yate Town vs Chippenham Town | Pre-Season Friendly, Monday 10th July 2023
Simon Lawrence previews our first pre-season friendly game away to Yate Town.
Football returns on Monday Night as Chippenham begin their pre-season schedule with a short trip down the M4 to Lodge Road, home of the Bluebells, Yate Town FC.
This should be a good season opener for Gary Horgan and his men, after a close season with a lot of changes in personnel, Chippenham Town will be hoping to use these next couple of weeks to gel a very promising squad into a competitive side once more in what many are regarding the hardest National League South division there has ever been!
For the Bluebirds of course, there will be a lot of familiar fixtures at the club no longer decked out in the blue and white with Spencer Hamilton, Joe Hanks, Joe Parker, Aaron Simpson, Alefe Santos, Tom Mehew, Luke Russe all departing for fresh challenges and we thank them all for their contribution during their time at Chippenham Town FC. However, for the supporters, Monday will provide a first chance to look at the lads that the management have brought in this season and what an exciting group of players it is!
Luke Haines returns to the club from Hereford, joined by his former teammate and former CTFC loanee, Tom Owen-Evans! Tyreke Johnson, Freddie Grant, Jake Evans and Luke Spokes, have joined us from Woking, Farnborough, Hungerford and Bath respectively and of course, this will be the time of the season where spectators get to ask “Who is that! He looks handy” with trialists expected to make a return to the team sheet as Gary finalises his squad over the coming weeks.
Our opponents, Yate Town, will need no introduction to the long term supporters of Chippenham Town. A regular opponent back in the days of the Southern League and Western League and a good relationship between the two clubs both on and off the pitch.
Last season, Yate dropped out of the Southern Premier League following relegation after only picking up 9 wins all season. This of course was not ideal for the Bluebells and have since gone about their recruitment to try and bounce back into the Southern Premier League at the first attempt so will no doubt be hungry and keen to prove themselves against their higher league opponents.
Yate and Chippenham are not too short of their links either with former Bluebirds Tom Mehew, Will Puddy and Grant Horton all spending time with Yate as well. Chippenham Town new boy Luke Spokes passed through Yate on his way to Chippenham scoring 5 in 18 games for the Bluebells who will no doubt remember him fondly and could be in line to make his Chippenham debut on familiar turf, a good few may remember Matt Rawlins, the superstar strike partner of Steve Tweddle during the rise to the cusp of the Conference. Upon his departure from Chippenham, he joined Yate in what is still their record fee paid for a player, £2,000. But, of course the biggest link, the biggest name and indeed the biggest bloke on that list has to be current England International and Aston Villa defender, Tyrone Mings.
The story is famous and has been churned out multiple times by both sides but of course, Tyrone started his journey in the non-League game with Yate Town playing a handful of games for them before being picked up by his fathers former club and his Dad’s good mate, Nathan Rudge at Chippenham. Ty would go on to make 10 appearances for the club in the Southern League before the unthinkable happened and was picked up by Mick McCarthy at Ipswich for £10,000 and a pre-season friendly at the TS Stadium. He then of course went to Bournemouth and eventually Aston Villa where his defensive prowess earned him a call up for England where I am sure Chippenham and Yate fans were joined in watching him at the European Championships with a little sense of pride as England made it all the way to the final before agonisingly losing out to Italy on penalty kicks.
So, the stage is set, the players are ready and all that is left now is to head over the white line and kick off the season. It’s only a half hour trip from the TS Stadium to Lodge Road so we hope to see as many of you as possible come over and support the lads, welcome the new guys and drive this group forward from the terraces as they truly deserve it!
We will endeavour as a media team to bring you all the updates, as and when they happen from Lodge Road if you can’t make it but if you can, see you Monday and as always..COME ON YOU BLUEBIRDS