Saints and the Blues to play at Top Field in next week

PUBLISHED: 11:13 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:28 06 May 2010

HITCHIN Town are hosting two big rivals in pre-season friendlies in the next week. New Conference outfit St Albans City visit Top Field on Saturday (3pm ko) and the Canaries also host Arlesey Town on Tuesday night (7.30pm ko). * Hitchin will make their lo

HITCHIN Town are hosting two big rivals in pre-season friendlies in the next week.

New Conference outfit St Albans City visit Top Field on Saturday (3pm ko) and the Canaries also host Arlesey Town on Tuesday night (7.30pm ko).

* Hitchin will make their longest trip of the 2006-7 season on the opening day.

The Canaries travel to Tiverton on Saturday, August 19, for their first Southern League fixture of the campaign.

Hitchin have a tough first month of the season.

After meeting Tiverton, they face King's Lynn (August 22) and Chippenham (August 26) at home, both of whom will be considered among the favourites for promotion.

The Bank Holiday Monday game is a trip to Banbury United.

Christmas and Easter crowds may not reach the levels of past clashes with Bedford this time around. Hitchin are at home to Hemel Hempstead on Boxing Day and Northwood on Easter Monday.

* Mark Bridge has rejoined Hitchin after a spell away from Top Field.

The popular Bridge, who won many friends at the club for his unselfish running and commitment, spent half a season away with Aylesbury United.

The diminutive striker is pleased to be returning.

"I am ecstatic to be back," he said. "I have always really enjoyed playing for Hitchin and I am looking forward to being part of things again."

Assistant manager Ken Gillard welcomed Bridge back to the club and said: "Mark never gives less than 100 per cent and he never lets us down when he's been called upon. He's a good man to have on board."

* Arlesey Town drew 1-1 with Conference side Dagenham and Redbridge at the Raj Villa Stadium on Tuesday night.

Their first pre-season friendly saw the Blues keep the visitors down to only a couple of clear-cut chances.

Jack Rashid was formidable in goal, James Gray and Michael Cox held the defence together and there was plenty of running up front.

Arlesey took the lead on 19 minutes when Gray went up for a free-kick and put the ball in the net to score on his debut.

Daggers equalised in the 75th minute when Danny Morgan's deceptive lob gave the goalkeeper no chance.

* Arlesey Town Ladies returned from their annual pilgrimage to the Clacton seven-a-side as winners of the plate competition.

The tournament attracts teams from as far away as Wales and this year there were around 40 sides.

This year, Arlesey entered two squads into the tournament.

One team went all the way after beating Garston in the semis thanks to a first-half strike from the prolific Sarah Tayler.

The final against Merton went to extra time and penalties. And unlike England, the ladies made no mistake to win 3-2 with goalkeeper Michelle Gee performing heroics.

The winning Arlesey side was Michelle Gee, Melissa Tyler, Sarah Tayler, Nikki Fitt, Emma Rennie, Karen Walker, Kayleigh Saunders, Zara Chamberlain and Emma Chamberlain.

Arlesey will be fielding two teams this season - the firsts will play in the Eastern Region Division One West and the seconds in the Herts and Beds County Women's League.

Training starts tonight (Thursday) and will run every week throughout the season.

All players, no experience necessary, are welcome. Call club secretary Maria on 07981 432798 for more details.

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