Peaks happy as Diamonds return

Nathan Hicks was one of the star performers in AFC Rushden & Diamonds debut season at Step 3 and he is staying on for another campaign
Nathan Hicks was one of the star performers in AFC Rushden & Diamonds debut season at Step 3 and he is staying on for another campaign

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks declared himself happy with the club’s early moves this summer after the vast majority of last season’s squad committed themselves to another campaign at Hayden Road.

The club had already confirmed that captain Liam Dolman and fellow defenders Zack Reynolds and Alex Collard had signed contracts for the forthcoming Southern League Premier Division Central campaign.

And now, following the squad’s return to pre-season training this week, they have revealed that even more have now signed up.

The club’s all-team leading goalscorer Tom Lorraine and leading appearance holder Sam Brown lead the list of those being retained while they will be joined by the likes of Nathan Hicks, Jack Ashton, Ben Heath, Sam Johnson, Ben Acquaye, Ben Farrell, Declan Rogers, Jack Bowen, Joe Curtis and John Dean.

It means Jack Westbrook, who has rejoined Banbury United, and Ben Diamond, who is spending the next nine months abroad, are the only members of last season’s squad who have not agreed to stay on.

“It’s pleasing to get all of those lads back on board,” Peaks said.

“I think there was a bit of uncertainty how many would stay on but we have got the majority of them to stay and that’s good because they all performed pretty well last season.

“We need to make some additions, particularly in the attacking area and that’s something we will work on.

“But it was good to see the players back on Tuesday. The pre-seasons seem to get shorter but the lads have kept themselves fit and they looked sharp.

“It will be quite intense for the first couple of weeks and then it will settle down once we get into the bulk of the friendlies.”

Diamonds begin their pre-season campaign when they face Rushden & Higham United in the annual Chris Ruff Memorial Cup at Hayden Road a week on Friday (July 12).

AFC Rushden & Diamonds Walking Football are holding their annual tournament on Sunday, July 14.

The host club will be entering two teams into the tournament at Islip Sports Ground in Toll Bar Road, Islip and will be joined by sides from Moulton, Kettering, Stamford, Oundle, Oakham, Northampton, Huntingdon, Corby, Deeping, Wisbech, Cove and Loughborough. The action will get under way at 11am.

Entry for spectators is free but donations would be welcomed for the nominated charity - Cancer Research UK.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds Walking Football are always seeking new players and anyone interested are welcome to attend their sessions at The Ferrers School on Monday evenings from 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start.

For further information, email Alan Wookey at alan.wookey@ntlworld.com