Thursday 01st September 2005
Cray a cut above the rest
Deal Town 1-2 Cray Wanderers
FA Vase First Round
Saturday 18 October 2003 
by Jerry Dowlen

Does Micky Simmons now hold the all-time Cray Wanderers FC record for consecutive appearances? The club historians and statisticians are pondering this one. Simmo had to miss a game in midweek versus Beckenham Town after injuring a toe at his home. But the 40-year old was back between the posts at Deal Town and earned a Man-of-the-Match award for his vital saves that helped Cray to squeeze a 2 - 1 victory in the FA Vase 1st round clash. Simmo's reward? His name was drawn out of the hat for an enforced haircut. This has become a new tradition in the Wands' playing squad this season, and most of the team now have a "short back and sides" or a "number one" as it's called nowadays.

The bumpy pitch, high bouncing ball and strong wind at Deal didn't suit the Wands' game and they won't count it as one of their best performances to say the least. Player-manager Ian Jenkins left his team in no doubt that their first half effort wasn't satisfactory. He called the players back on to the field after they had entered the dressing room at the interval and he kept them on the pitch until the second half resumed. Cray had missed an early penalty-kick and had fallen behind after 25 minutes but had levelled the scores thanks to Ross Lover's thunderous free-kick on 43 minutes. James Taylor, arriving as substitute to inject some missing solidarity in the Wands midfield grabbed the winner in the 88th minute with a far-post header from Adam Heaslewood's corner-kick.

As for that Simmo club record, we'll have to get back to you. John Dorey, the Wands' skipper and centre half in the 1960's is reckoned to hold the record and we're now checking his exact number of consecutive appearances. Simmo can certainly claim a run of 94 games that he accumulated while playing for the whole of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons with Cray. That won't break Dorey's record which was definitely 100-plus but Simmo can actually claim 103 if we add his games for Cray this season after he came out of a short retirement and signed on again to play versus Sporting Bengal in the Wands' fourth fixture of 2003-04. Another question though is whether Simmo is also entitled to add on the games he played when he was ever-present for Cray in the 1997-98 season before he departed to play at Ramsgate for three years! That is why we say that the club historians and statisticians are busy at work! Don't ring us, we'll ring you!

Meanwhile, earlier in the week the Wands climbed to the top of the the top of the Kent League table after beating  Beckenham Town 3 - 1 at Hayes Lane on Wednesday. Jamie Kempster (2) and Danny Evans netted the goals, with Steve Shippey replying for the visitors. Stand-in 'keeper Grant Hall played well for the Wands and made one flying save to tip over a fiercely-flighted free-kick from ex-Wands veteran Sean Cooney.

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