Their first game of the new current season was only played on 29 July, but, in the ensuing (near) eight weeks, United Counties League Premier North table-toppers, Sherwood Colliery, have already racked up some fourteen outings in all competitions.
Perhaps victims of their own success, Wayne’ Savage’s side enjoying early cup runs as well as remaining unbeaten in the league (six wins and two draws from eight games with a goal difference of +21), Sherwood have found themselves only undone by a slice of misfortune in their recent, FA Cup qualifying round tie, at home to Worcester City.
That result alone is one which still doesn’t sit too kindly with Savage, who’s been at the helm for some seven plus years now, and has seen the side move up through the old Central Midlands League, a season in the East Midlands Counties (pre-covid) and a season in the Northern Counties East (post-covid), ahead of a seventh place finish last time around, in the United Counties.
“Yes, seven years at the helm, and we’ve had some good sides here, but also some bad luck as well,” began Wayne Savage, he looking back on recent times at the club.
“We’d put together a 27-game unbeaten run in the league (2017-18) and lost one, the last game of the season, to Eastwood, who went up as champions by virtue of that result.
“It was a strange one really; then, we’d just about wrapped up the UCL when covid hit, and last season, we had a great start and a great finish to the season, but finished in seventh.
“There was also a point where I had to put myself on the bench due to player suspensions; however, we did replace a few players over the summer.
“There’s always been a relatively young squad here though, and, bringing in a couple of experienced heads (prior to this season) has helped and they’ve not let the younger players have a minute.”
This season, a two-point advantage at this early stage, and a game or two in hand on a couple of sides beneath them in the table, has meant the cup runs have not come at a cost; overall they’ve racked up eleven wins and three draws from their fifteen outings, scoring 42 goals along the way.
Success has been witnessed in all cup competitions entered and are still in that of the FA Vase, the Nottinghamshire FA Senior Cup, and the UCL Cup, with upcoming games featuring matches in two of those.
There’s been victories over several, fellow Nottinghamshire clubs already with Hucknall Town (4-1; Jamie York, Bradley Wells, Kieran Knight, Craig Westcarr) and Eastwood CFC (5-1; Craig Westcarr 2, Jobe Shaw 2, Ethan Wiesztort) in the league, Rainworth Miners Welfare (5-1; Jacob Pearce 2, Marley Grant, Craig Westcarr, Jobe Shaw) in the League Cup, and a stunning, 4-0 win over Retford in the Notts Senior Cup where Wiesztort hit a cracking, four-goal salvo, all in the first half.
The FA Cup exit, which rankles with Savage, he continued in saying: “We’d have loved to have still been in the FA Cup, and could easily have had another couple of matches.
“The loss to Worcester though, that was a tough one to take really with one goal being a foul and the other a handball.
“Everyone though, they love and want a good cup run, and we’ve had five games in it this year, and still three away from that elusive, first round.
“The aim though, as it has been, is to gain promotion, that’ what it has to be for us; we’ve got a goal-difference of +21 already, from eight league games, but we know that there’s a lot of goals in this league.
“We had a good lad scoring goals for us last season (Luis Rose, 18 goals in 20 games) who’s moved up and still scoring, so it was a case of bringing others in this season.”
There’s already been a dozen players netted this time around, and plenty of game-time for others to join in on the party as well; Craig Westcarr is already into double-figures, Ethan Wiesztort isn’t far behind either, whilst the likes of Marly Grant, Kieran Knight, Ewan Robson, Bradley Wells et al, are also among the goals.
Even at the other end, goals conceded is at a minimum, with only five being shipped in the league (fourteen overall), and five clean sheets already in the bag making this season’s side already looking a tough nut to crack.
Having been away in their last outing, a goalless draw at Newark & Sherwood, the Colliery outfit find themselves on the road in each of their next three outings also, the first being that of GNG Oadby Town (9th in the UCL Premier South) in the FA Vase 2QR, followed by Wisbech Town (League) and Asfordby (League Cup).
“Granted the league is the top of bottom of it, we know that Oadby are going to be a tricky side,” added Savage.
“We played them in pre-season but don’t really know anything about their squad and it could easily be a different side we face on Saturday.
“We’ve had some highlights already this season, beating Retford was nice as they’re a good side and we caught them on a bad day.
“But for me, the stand-out so far has to the recent 5-1 win over Eastwood.
“They just couldn’t handle our attacking game on the day.”
Next up for Sherwood Colliery in what has been an enjoyable start to the 2023-24 season, game number sixteen away to GNG Oadby Town in the FA Vase 2QR this Saturday (23 September), followed by two more games on the road as we head into October.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @SCFC_08 Sherwood celebrate during a recent win over Eastwood.