Elphick signing boosts Rooks backline

Lewes have beaten off a number of other clubs to complete the signing of centre back Gary Elphick.

The 28-year-old has penned a contract with the Rooks to become the club’s fourth new signing of the summer. Elphick is the son of Gary Elphick senior, who is a former Lewes player, manager, coach and a life member.

Gary junior began his career with Brighton, making a couple of first team appearances as a teenager and has also played for St Albans, Havant and Waterlooville, Eastbourne Borough, Eastleigh and Tonbridge Angels, where he was last season.

Manager Garry Wilson said: “It is a fantastic signing, one of the biggest signings for Lewes in a while. We are delighted. For me, he is a true pro. Gary is one of the strongest characters I have had in the dressing room and he will bring a lot of values to the club. He will be a big fans’ favourite because of his whole-hearted approach. He scores goals as well and that is something we are looking for more from out defenders. We were lucky to get him. Other clubs were interested in him and Gary is coming into his prime as a centre-half at the age of 28. Hopefully he will be at Lewes for a long time.”

Danny Bloor added: “Gary will bring us so much. He is a leader and is the right character for us. He could have had his choice of clubs but Gary wanted to play for Lewes. His dad has strong connections with the club and Gary (junior) felt Lewes was the right club for him. When we met to sign him, his attitude was so refreshing. He has old fashioned values which we like.”

Elphick himself echoed the words from Garry and Danny “I can’t wait for the start of the season. It really feels like the start of something big here and I’m delighted I’m able to be a part of it. I’ve had a lot of calls from a lot of managers over the summer but I’m a local lad and having worked with Garry before in the end it was an easy decision.” When asked about his Dad’s time at the club he admitted that “My Dad’s as excited as I am! I talk with him all the time and when he knew I might be signing for Lewes he couldn’t speak highly enough about the club and how much he enjoyed his time at the Dripping Pan.”

The club are also happy to announce that Ryan Gayler has joined the Lewes coaching staff.

Gayler moves to the Rooks from Burgess Hill where he was first team coach and under-21s manager. He was well respected at Leylands Park for his work in helping bring young players through.

Lewes boss Garry Wilson said: “Steve Eke has stepped back from first team duties, although he will continue to work with the academy, and Ross Standen who was with us at the end of last season has decided not to continue. It left us with a gap in the coaching team and Ryan fitted the bill perfectly.”


Prestigious all-ticket friendly announced against Brighton & Hove Albion

Almost two years since their previous encounter, Lewes v. Brighton & Hove Albion will be a repeat fixture for the opening friendly game of 2014/15.

The game is scheduled for Saturday 5th July, 3pm KO at the Dripping Pan

Brighton have confirmed that this will be a first team fixture, which is a great honour again for Lewes, and will almost certainly guarantee a full-house.

Ticket details will be announced shortly but will be an all-ticket affair. It is likely that tickets will only be available on-line with self-ticketing.

General Manager, Adrian Howell, commented “We tried self-ticketing for our Mumford & Son tournament last season with great success, as simply scanning tickets at the gate kept queues to a minimum and enjoyment to a maximum”.

Full ticket details for this and our other pre-season fixtures will be announced shortly.

Our full 2014/15 pre-season programme is as follows:

Saturday 5th July – Brighton & Hove Albion (home)
Wednesday 16th July – Hassocks (away)
Saturday 19th July – Hastings United (away)
Saturday 26th July – East Grinstead Town (home)
Tuesday 29th July – Charlton Athletic XI (home)
Saturday 2nd August – Eastbourne Borough (away)

Defensive pair added to Rooks roster

Lewes have completed the double signing of Eastbourne Borough pair Ollie Rowe and Sam Cole.

Both have had previous spells at the Dripping Pan with left-back Cole playing eight games on loan to the Rooks last season while versatile defender Rowe played five games for the club early in the 2010-11 season.

Garry Wilson and Danny Bloor are delighted to secure their signatures for the 2014-15 season, both having previously worked with them.

Bloor said: “They have both played for Garry and I before. They are both local lads and are exactly the type of players we want to be signing for Lewes Football Club. Sam was on loan with us for a month last season from Eastbourne Borough and he did well for us.

Ollie Rowe can play right-back or centre-back and he will really strengthen us in that area. I had Ollie at Eastbourne Town and both of them played for Garry at Borough. They are players who know what Garry and I are about. When it wasn’t to be for them at Eastbourne Borough they were keen to come and join us. They both have a great attitude.”

FREE soccer sessions for girls

FA Level 1Lewes FC has received funds from the FA to run a series of football coaching sessions for 13-16 year old girls.
The sessions will run:
Lewes (Convent Field), every Thursday 6-8pm from 29th May.
Seaford and Uckfield dates will be confirmed very soon
Sessions are FREE but to book a space you must contact  Adrian@LewesFC.com
Thanks to the ‘Be Inspired’ grant, the Rooks will be running these courses in Lewes, Seaford and Uckfield aimed particularly at girls between 13 and 16 years old who want to either try football out or build on existing skills. The sessions are completely free. According to the most recent Sport England surveys, participation levels in girls football are falling and the FA are keen to reverse this trend.
Lewes FC is seen as being in the vanguard of developing the women’s game with a very successful ladies team in the FA Womens Premier League and an all-conquering Girls U16 team. The club intends to use the free sessions to generally increase interest from young girls in playing football but also to identify players who can form new teams at U14 and U16 levels.
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Lewes Ladies are also recruiting for their new U18s and U23s teams and anyone interested should also contact the club.

Banksy commits between the sticks

Goalkeeper Rikki Banks is the latest player to commit to Lewes for next season.

The 26 year old stopper has followed Luke Blewden, Nathan Crabb, Jack Dixon, Fraser Logan and Sam Crabb in agreeing to stay for the 2014-15 campaign.

The former Crystal Palace trainee missed only four league games last season after rejoining the club from Wealdstone a year ago and also passed 150 Lewes career appearances in January of this year.

Danny Bloor was pleased the 6’ 4” ‘keeper was staying at the Pan “Rikki is a popular player at the club and fans will be pleased to hear he has re-signed. He did well for last season and is part of our plans as we look to push on. Garry and I are pleased all these players have agreed to stay. It is important to what we are trying to do here.”

Agnew Leaves Rookettes In Fine Fettle

Cardiff City harboured hopes of a smash and grab to extend their title hopes into the final weekend but were swept away at an emotional Dripping Pan. Mathematically still in the hunt (as Gillingham were going down to Coventry) the visitors from Wales met a Lewes team in mean mood.

Their last six results – WWWDWW – put the Rookettes firmly on top of the form guide. With an eight point gap between themselves and Brighton, Lewes also bagged the bragging rights as the top team in Sussex.

1Cardiff didn’t stand a chance. Having announced days earlier that, after twelve remarkable years at the helm, she was to move up to oversee girl’s and women’s development at the club, manager Jacqui Agnew called on her team to focus on the job in hand. After some cagey early exchanges Lewes took a firm grip on the game, Katie ‘Freddie’ Baker commanding the midfield, allowing skipper Kelly Newton to link up with the marauding Bennett and ever-nimble Trafford. On 25 minutes Cardiff got in behind. Kirstie Spice, on the left of an attacking three but covering every blade, timed her challenge to perfection. From Cardiff corner Payne found Trafford who attacked Townsend to win a corner for Lewes. Cardiff struggled to clear as the ball ricocheted around the six yard box before Spice stepped in to hammer past Dando. 1-0.

Lewes upped the anti. Trafford played a delightful overhead into the path of the rampaging Spice, Cousins diving in to clear off her toes. On 35 minutes Baker, picking Cardiff pockets at will, slipped a pinpoint pass to Spice who met it with a cushioned volley over Dando and off the top of the crossbar. Cardiff fashioned a chance but found the ever-reliable Beazley equal to the shot, Green’s follow-up skewed well wide. Just before the break Lewes produced the best move of the match, stringing sharp first-time passes through the Cardiff defence. Nikki Payne raced in to finish but saw her shot flash just the wrong side of the post. HT 1-0.

Cardiff started better in part two, Green wasting a good chance before Beazley dropped like a hawk onto Cousins’ sharp drive. Vicky Elcome tackled back to concede a corner that bounced off the near post and into Beazley’s grateful arms.  Agnew called for ‘a little bit more’ and her players responded. Skipper Kelly Newton put in a typically robust challenge, fed Trafford whose clever lay-off set Payne clear, thwarted by another desperate challenge. There was no stopping Charlotte Bennett’s perfect lob moments later, the crowd rising to acclaim the finish. As the ball hit the back of the net she raced thirty yards to embrace her manager. It was the perfect moment for the occasion, one to break Cardiff hearts and melt those in the stands.

Lewes stood firm as the visitors pressed in the last ten minutes. An injury time consolation goal couldn’t dampen the spirits, the home players rushing to the bench at the final whistle. FT 2-1. Agnew gave a typically professional summary in her final post-match before thanking the players for a ‘best ever’ season. Following a Lucozade shower and a Champagne rinse, the Lewes manager left the field under a guard of honour, applause ringing in her ears, smile a mile wide. She left as she arrived twelve years ago, a born winner.
There is now a rather large pair of boots to fill at Lewes Ladies FC.

Lewes: Beazley, McIntyre, Wells, Palmer, Elcome, Newton, Bennett (Carter 85), Baker, Trafford Jones 90), Payne, Spice (Heather 75)
Sub not used: Dawson

Cardiff: Dando, Cousins, Townsend, Daley (S. Williams 64), Hutton, K. Green, Aldridge, M. Green, Lloyd (Atkins 75), C. Williams, Clipston (Mills 84)
Subs not used: Atkins, Pritchard