HARD work, determination and good club spirit are among the ingredients which have seen Estover Park start from scratch just four years ago to become perhaps the largest club in March.
With two adult teams and half-a-dozen boys and girls teams, Estover Park is now a force to be reckoned with.
And it’s been an eventful and successful run for the two men who started it all off back in 2007 – the chairman Alex Neal and the secretary-treasurer Steve Jackson who is also the first team manager.
Based at the Estover Road playing field, the senior side already has two promotions under its belt and a third could be on the way this season.
Jackson said: “When we started there was myself and Alex. We had both played for various local clubs ourselves and basically we got a bit fed up with the way some of them were run and at the time we thought we could make a better job of it ourselves.
“We got into the Cambs League starting off in the Division 5B, got some players on board and it just took off from there.
“In that very first season it couldn’t have been better as we won the league and got to a couple of cup semi-finals.
“For the start of the next season we had a much-depleted squad which meant we had to re-build again, but we still managed to finish second – and gain promotion for the second year running.
“Last year it wasn’t so good as I lost a lot of players during the off-season and we found it difficult to compete. We finished third from bottom, just avoiding relegation, and although it was a great effort from the lads it wasn’t very nice for us after those two years of success.
“For the start of this season I completely re-built the squad, with only two or three players from last year, and touch wood we are doing really well so far.”
In fact Estover are currently second in Cambs League BIS 3B with only one defeat in eight games – but that was to big rivals Isleham who beat them 4-1 earlier this month.
Isleham went top by a couple of points, but Estover still have a game in hand so it is still in their own hands.
Jackson added: “After that defeat we really did want to play on Saturday to get that result out of our system, but the weather put paid to it.
“Looking back I think the lads were on Christmas mode in that game. There’s no getting away from it Isleham are a good passing team, but we were just not at the races.
“But I’m confident we can go to their place and get a result – and I feel the same with the other clubs around us. There’s no team that really bothers us.
“We’ve done really well up to now, but I’m not looking too far ahead and a top four or top five finish, as that would be a big improvement on last year. We’re also still in two cup competitions with quarter-finals to play in the New Year.
“I’ve got a good reliable squad of about 15 lads, half of them from the March area and the rest from around Wisbech. Providing we can keep them all fit then we should have another good season.”
Estover also run a reserve side which is mid-table in the Cambs League BIS 5 D.
And a flourishing youth set-up has been developed with three boys teams and three girls teams at age groups from Under 10s to Under 16s.
“It’s been quite remarkable,” said Jackson. “In such a short space of time the club has really grown and now I reckon we must be one of the biggest clubs in March – if not the biggest – and here’s to more progress as we go into a new year.”
He also acknowledges the generous sponsorship that has come from Cassanos in March: “They took a bit of a gamble with us in our first season and they’ve stuck with us with some brilliant backing. I couldn’t be any more grateful to them. Technical Electrical Services from Wisbech have also come on board which is great as well.”