Wednesday 10th August 2005

Ward relishing "Battle of Thanet"

Ramsgate can add their third trophy of the season if they beat local rivals Margate at Southwood Stadium on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

In what is, unofficially "The Battle of Thanet", both sides are contesting silverware, which is being sponsored by the Kent Messenger, with Rams boss Jim Ward aiming for the treble, already.

Last weekend the Rams defeated Herne Bay 3-1 to land the Kentish Observer League Challenge Shield and the club also won a trophy for the best sporting float at the Ramsgate Carnival.

Ramsgate, however, will be without experienced midfielder, Mark Munday (holiday) but the former Folkestone Invicta and Margate star is expected to be back in their squad for their opening Ryman League division one game of the season at Burgess Hill Town on Saturday, 20th August.

But Ward has been boosted by the return of the Schulz brothers, Ollie and Warren and striker, Steffan Ball (dead leg) following injuries sustained during pre-season matches.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk, Ward said: "We are back on track again.  I feel the biggest thing missing is sharpness.  Physically we are all fit, it's just that bit to get us ready for the start of the season."

Ward is delighted the club has left Kent League football with another trophy in the cabinet - but come Saturday week, it's down to business for real.

"It's nice to leave the Kent League with another trophy," the Scot said.

"I'm pleased for the lads but now the really interesting stuff starts."

After their trip to Burgess Hill, Tooting & Mitcham United are their first visitors to Southwood Stadium on Tuesday, 19th August.

"All we can do, and we have to do, is beat the teams in front of us," said Ward.

"We've moved up a level now, so we'll find out what this group of players are capable off.

"We've got a fantastic changing room, it's so lively, and yes, they're looking forward to it."

Ward has waited a long time to manage at Ryman League level and is relishing the chance to make up for lost time.

"I am very excited," he admitted.  "I've got myself in this position a lot of times.  I think 5 or 6 times over the last ten years and never been able to get promoted for one reason or another at Ramsgate and Maidstone United.

"I've won the Kent League three times - but every managers ambition is to take their club up to the next level."

The club have taken huge strides off the pitch too.  Improvements have been made at their Southwood Stadium and the club have improved their infrastructure.

Ward added: "We all knew from the chairman down to Sarah the tea lady, that we have to be more professional, and that's what we have been putting in line all summer."

Ramsgate v Margate
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 13th August 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate