Saturday sees Percy Main Amateurs and Cullercoats meet at Purvis Park to contest the Gary Hull Memorial Trophy in memory of the Villagers’ former treasurer and committee member.
The annual event, now in its 11th year, has become an important and much anticipated part of the North Tyneside football calendar for players, supporters and officials alike, and will see the Northern Alliance sides meet for only the second time in the competition, following the Main’s win at the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
The cup and medals will be presented pitchside following the game by Gary’s parents, John and Joan Hull, and his brothers John, David and Paul, while it is hoped that new club president Ronnie Robinson will also be in attendance.
Kick-off is 2.30pm, admission is £2 for adults and £1 concessions and a souvenir programme is to be produced – all proceeds raised on the day will go towards staging the game for future years.
Supporters will see a vast improvement to the interior of the club’s pavilion thanks to many hours spent during the summer recess by players and committee alike.
And they will also see a few new faces in the Percy Main side as team manager Shaun Galbraith has been busy on the playing front, having brought in a host of new players as the Main look to make an impression on what is likely to be a highly competitive Alliance premier league season.
Among the newcomers are ex-Blyth Town players Ross Berkley and Chris Laidlaw, who have impressed during the team’s recent pre-season games.
Laidlaw in particular caught the eye with a four-goal salvo against Gateshead Redheugh a fortnight ago.
Shaun Smith, a midfielder formerly with Cullercoats, has made the transition to Purvis Park, while Darren Walsh, an exciting teenage prospect who burst onto the scene with Killingworth last season, will provide some much needed energy and firepower up front.
Full backs Antonie Ridley and Jonathon Scott were welcomed to the club along with winger Liam Bainbridge, who marked his first start in Main colours with a first half goal against Boldon CA, while most of last season’s talented young squad have again put pen to paper.
One who has returned to the fold and needs no introduction to Villagers supporters is Joe Betts, a versatile player, but most commonly known as an out and out forward having Northern League experience with Washington and Bedlington Terriers, who starred at Percy Main as a youngster between 2008 and 2010 scoring goals aplenty.
Despite last Saturday’s 3-1 reverse against Prudhoe Town when Galbraith was forced to play a few out of position due to injury and unavailability, pre-season has gone well as the side have drawn 2-2 at Northern League side Washington, while beating Boldon CA (3-1) and Gateshead Redheugh (5-3), all on away soil.
The Northern Alliance league season starts on Saturday, August 10, when Percy Main travel to newly promoted Wallington, with Red House Farm visiting Purvis Park for a midweek game four days later.