FOOTBALL: Sudbury scupper Spalding’s Spriggs swoop

CLOSE...BUT NO CIGAR: Spalding missed out on a swoop for Stephen Spriggs this week. Photo by TIM SMITH
CLOSE...BUT NO CIGAR: Spalding missed out on a swoop for Stephen Spriggs this week. Photo by TIM SMITH

Ambitious Spalding United have just missed out on an audacious move to bring ex-King’s Lynn Town winger Stephen Spriggs to the club.

Spriggs, who won back-to-back promotions with the Linnets under Gary Setchell, was a free agent after quitting The Walks last week.

Spalding held talks to bring the former Boston United ace to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field – and boss Pat Rayment was hopeful of sealing the switch earlier this week.

But he’s instead plumped for a move to AFC Sudbury, who play a level higher than the Tulips in Ryman League Division One and are crucially closer to his home.

Although disappointed to miss out on Spriggs, Rayment told the Guardian that he understood the player’s choice.

“He’s decided to go to Sudbury and I wish him the best of luck,” said the Spalding supremo. “We spoke to him and hoped that a deal was in the offing.

“But he texted me on Tuesday morning to tell me that he’d decided to go elsewhere.

“We’re always in the market for players that would improve the squad and Stephen met that criteria.

“I think location played a big role in his choice, we are just too far away for him.”

One player that has agreed terms with the UCL Premier Division leaders is defender Alex Lowery.

The ex-Cogenhoe United centre-back, who is a team-mate of Tulip Nathan Stainfield at University, could make his debut at basement boys Harborough Town on Saturday (3pm) with Jamie Stevens serving the second match of his three-game ban.

A massive 35 points separate the duo in the table, with Harborough having won just one of their 12 matches so far.

In contrast, Spalding have won all of their 13 league games this season as they bid to set a new UCL record for successive wins on the trot.

It is now believed that Wisbech Town’s title-winning team from 1947/48 set that benchmark with a huge 19 victories on the bounce.

Rayment added: “We’ll treat them no differently to any other team. I’ve not seen an ounce of complacency from any of the lads this season.”

The Spalding chief also took the time to cool his war of words with rivals Boston Town, having blamed their players for the recent departure of bosses Ian Dunn and Matt Hocking in Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of feedback following my remarks on Boston – and most of it was positive, actually.

“I genuinely want them to improve and I hope they don’t get relegated.

“The same goes for Holbeach, I wouldn’t want to see any local sides going down.

“We’ve lost Bourne and Blackstones from the Premier Division in recent years and we can’t afford any more.

“It’s bad for local football.”