Thursday 17th July 2003

Garrett, Valli and Hatcher return for Tunbridge Wells
A ferocious shot from Ashford Town's Adrian Stone early in the second half undid some determined Tunbridge Wells resistance on a very warm Monday evening at Culverden Stadium, writes Matt Harris.

Within two minutes an unidentified trialist had doubled the visitors advantage to complete the scoring, when he found himself with acres of space and time to place a low shot into the far corner of the net.

The match was the first pre-season friendly for Tunbridge Wells and saw the return to action after lengthy lay offs for Andy Garrett, Garry Valli and Adrian Hatcher. 

As expected of a side from a higher league, Ashford Town were full of movement and their strikers posed some problems for the Wells defence.

However, in the first half goalkeeper Matt Bronby was only called into serious action once when he reacted smartly to stun a low drive to his right.

Wells were full of endeavour but were not rewarded for their efforts.  Dave Burren in particular ran hard all match and Shane Hickmott looked lively when he entered the action in the second half. 

Ashford's defence appeared competent and chances were severely restricted.

As the match progressed both sides made full use of their respective substitutes benches.  In the case of Wells, three goalkeepers were used during the course of the evening with Neil French and Phil Hawkins also featuring. 

Most of last season's squad have returned to Culverden Stadium for pre-season training.  Manager Steve Clark is continuing to look at possible new additions as he seeks to improve on last season's disappointing league showing, and take advantage of a kind draw in the FA Vase when they meet Chessington United and then Whitchurch United at home in the earlier rounds.

Pre-season continues on Saturday, 19 July, (3pm) at home to Dr Martens League Eastern Division neighbours Tonbridge Angels.

Ringmer will be visiting Culverden Stadium on Tuesday 22 July (7.45pm) and then Dr Martens League Eastern Division side Hastings United visit on Saturday 26 July (3.00pm).  The final scheduled friendly is against Eastbourne Town on
Tuesday 29 July at Culverden Stadium (7.45pm).

The games against the three Dr Martens League clubs are very valuable to the first team squad as they will sharpen fitness and skills ahead of the Go Travel Kent League season.  The two Sussex County League teams will be an excellent
gauge of what the Wells can expect when they travel to Chichester City United for an FA Cup tie on Saturday 23 August (3.00pm).