Percy Main and North Shields set for annual pre-season trophy game

Before the game are, from left, Percy Main captain James Leggett with the Northern Alliance first division trophy, assistant referee Keith Scoffham, referee Stu Kyle with the Gary Hull Memorial Trophy, assistant referee Barry Sweeney, and North Shields captain Kevin Hughes with the FA Vase.
Before the game are, from left, Percy Main captain James Leggett with the Northern Alliance first division trophy, assistant referee Keith Scoffham, referee Stu Kyle with the Gary Hull Memorial Trophy, assistant referee Barry Sweeney, and North Shields captain Kevin Hughes with the FA Vase.

Percy Main Amateurs will face NE29 neighbours North Shields in the annual Gary Hull Memorial Trophy on Friday night.

Played out each pre-season in memory of the popular Villagers’ former treasurer and committee member who died in 2003, kick-off at Purvis Park is 7pm.

A year ago, both the FA Vase and Northern Alliance first division trophies won at the end of the 2014 -15 campaign by the Robins and Main respectively, were paraded proudly by the sides prior to kick-off.

Once the action got under way, it was the Robins who went on to lift the trophy thanks to a solitary Ryan Carr goal in front of an attendance of 402, the competition’s best to date.

The match was noted for an emotional 17th minute tribute of applause for John Alder, Liam Sweeney and the others who perished in the MH-17 disaster not long after its first anniversary.

London-based referee Stuart Kyle will be officiating in the competition for the ninth successive year and will be ably assisted by Keith Scoffham and Barry Sweeney, themselves no strangers to the local football scene in North Shields.

The trophy and medals will be presented pitch side at the end of the match by Gary’s parents and family.

The 2016 event is the 14th and will be the first time it has been held on a Friday evening.

Both teams are well into the swing of their preparations for the coming season, North Shields have played four friendlies to date and have won them all having accounted for Willington, Blyth Town, West Allotment Celtic and Easington CW in some style, while Main, with eight new signings in the squad, have been training three times a week since June 25 and have figured in warm-up games against Ponteland United Res and Silksworth CW, having won one and lost one.

Among the new boys at Percy Main are goalkeeper Shaun Backhouse, a former long servant of Heaton Stannington in both the Northern Alliance and Northern League, defender Kieran Tubman and striker Nicky Whitelaw, who have both represented Wallsend Boys Club with distinction, Chris Sword, who hit 51 goals in 64 appearances for Longbenton, and Chris Glass, who has returned to the club having gained valuable Northern league experience at Ashington.

Admission is £2 for adults and £1 concessions, while there will be a souvenir programme on sale at £1 and a new supply of Percy Main AFC pin badges, kindly sponsored once again by Tim Grimshaw, at £3 each.

Parking is limited, so the club respectfully ask that people park considerately or use local transport if at all possible and arrive at Purvis Park in good time.