HURST Farm United’s first season as a club can be counted as a resounding success, whatever happens on the pitch during the remainder of the season.
That’s the view of player/manager Craig Cantrill, who says he and the club’s fellow founders have been ‘gobsmacked’ by the level of support received from members of the community on Matlock’s Hurst Farm estate.
Hurst Farm United formed last summer are currently playing in the Manor Pharmacy Matlock and District League’s Solar Press League Two.
They sit in the top five with a number of games in hand still to play and are also in the quarter finals of the Matlock Junior Cup.
Craig Cantrill told the Mercury: “We’re not doing too bad in our first season. We are in the quarter finals of the cup too.
“We’ve got a lot of games in hand. I think we’ve got the most games still to play in the top half so we’ll be pushing for second place and if we don’t get up this season, we’ll be giving it a good go next season.”
Craig went on to explain how the club’s formation came about.
“It was formed in the summer of 2011. I was involved with the Harvey’s Bar team but a few lads went to join other sides so it folded.
“I spoke to one or two lads about the possibility of sorting out a Hurst Farm side and they were really positive. So then we spoke to Derbyshire Dales District Council about reinstating the pitch on the estate because we reckoned it had not been used for about 12 years, maybe 15.
“They were up for it so once that was done we put some fliers in one or two shops on the estate and Hurst Farm Social Club. We had about 40 people turn up for the first get-together.
“There were young lads, lads from other clubs, but mostly people off Hurst Farm and we were just gobsmacked by the response, so from expecting about 16, we suddenly had to look at thinning that number down to make it a bit more manageable.
“I have lived in Matlock all my life and all the lads are from Hurst Farm, in fact all of them except me still live there, so there is a really strong community feeling, of people getting behind the lads, who are all friends.”
The first pre-season friendly was a memorable one for the team.
“We played fire service in our first-ever match, and about 200 people turned up, which completely blew us away.
“That level of support is great. It’s settled down now to around 50-60 for home games but we have had more, sometimes up to 100.
“There’s just been a really positive response. Money has been raised to buy us a minibus for away games. The social club has got a sign up now advertising our next home game, things like that have really helped.
“Ultimately, we’d like to look at running another team next season – although it’s early days yet – because we have 20 players who turn up for a game and there’s six or seven who aren’t even getting a shirt, which is a tough situation, but it shows the level of commitment.
“I know one or two teams in the league have had to fold this season so it’s positive that we are getting that level of support from local lads.”
Hurst Farm United sported their brand new kit, sponsored by Absolute Landscapes, for the first time at the match at AFC Lea Holloway on January 28 and their other sponsor is Hurst Farm Social Club.
“Both of those sponsors have been great but because of running costs and things like that, you can never have enough sponsors so any other interested parties can get in touch with us.”
Craig concluded: “All in all, it’s been a really positive first season and we will look to build on that support off the field with a strong run to end the season.
“We’ve had five attempts to play Tansley FC in our cup quarter final but the weather has kept beating us so hopefully it’ll be sixth time lucky this weekend.
Potential sponsors can call Craig Cantrill for further details on 07568 076258.