Ideal opportunity for all of us to get ready for the real action

Spalding v Boston football, Halley Stewart Field ANL-140715-224007001
Spalding v Boston football, Halley Stewart Field ANL-140715-224007001
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Sports editor Mark Lea takes a closer look at the UCL

These friendlies are often little more than a public training session but it’s always a good chance to see new signings and trialists.

From my point of view, the warm-up games are an ideal opportunity to get around the local grounds, meet a few people and check out the sides who I will be covering throughout next season.

Indeed my return to south Lincolnshire has been well timed rather than coming back in the middle of a campaign.

It was interesting to see Spalding United’s first friendly at Peterborough Sports and last week’s victory over my hometown club Boston United – even though the Pilgrims somehow managed 11 second-half substitutions!

That was the first time I’ve been to the Sir Halley Stewart Field for nearly 20 years and it doesn’t seem to have changed too much.

At the weekend I went to Holbeach United – it was nice to see improvements at Carter’s Park – and next Saturday I’m planning my first-ever trip to Deeping Rangers.

In my first spell with this newspaper, Deeping were in the Peterborough and District League but I saw them play three times last season at Boston Town, Wellingborough Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds with mixed results.

I used to live within walking distance of the Dog & Duck and I’ve been watching United Counties League games since my dad used to officiate at that level.

As long as you don’t expect neat passing and free-flowing football, the UCL can provide plenty of entertainment and value for money.

Hopefully the new season will bring success for all of our clubs. I’m really looking forward to it.