Belfast Telegraph

Club focus: Saintfield United

By Keith Bailie

Saintfield United might not have enjoyed a great start to the season, but manager William Hawkes believes they can only improve.

The Co Down club are currently just above the relegation zone at the bottom of NAFL 1B, but all is not lost.

Hawkes said: “I knew it was going to be difficult this year as the the club have had a tough couple of years.

“We're situated near the likes of Kilmore Rec, Killyleagh YC and a number of other teams, so it can be difficult to attract players to the club.

“We don't have a massive catchment area, so we are always working hard to bring in new faces. If any players are reading this and they're thinking about moving clubs, then I'd encourage them to get in touch, as we're always keen to strengthen our squad.

“I'm sure someone from the outside looking in would say we're facing an uphill battle, but I'm confident we can improve as the season goes on.”

Saintfield have suffered a number of heavy defeats this season. Manager Hawkes doesn't believe those results reflect his players quality, but rather their mentality.

“Our problem seems to be that our heads drop once we go behind. We're often in contention for much of the match, but once we go behind, that game gets away from us.

“Against Downshire YM last week, we were only 3-2 down at half time. What we should have done is sit tight for a while and try to sneak an equaliser, but we went gung-ho in the first 10 minutes, and we conceded a couple of early goals and we ended up getting beaten 7-2.

“I think it's a mentality thing. We need to learn from these experiences and do our best to stay in games for as long as possible.”

As we approach December, Saintfield find themselves out of all the major cup competitions. Hawkes believes his side have been a little unlucky.

He said: “If you look at our record in cup competitions, we've held our own. We've been knocked out by teams like Abbey Villa and Downpatrick, but it's fair to say that we have given them a game.

“Our problem isn't when we come up against good teams, it's when we play teams in the bottom six of our league that we struggle. We need to learn how to win the six-pointers, as we've shown we've got the ability in other games. Our other aim is to have a run in the Clarence Cup after Christmas as I think that could everyone a bit of a lift.”

While 2013 has been a tough year for Saintfield, William Hawkes is confident a few new faces will breathe new life into the famous old Amateur League club.

“At the start of the season my aim was to finish in mid-table, but right now if you guarantee that we would avoid relegation, then we'd have to take it.

“We're going to bring in a few new faces and continue to work hard, and I'm confident we will improve and climb up the table.”


Club focus with Saintfield United manager William Hawkes

Name: Saintfield United

League: NAFL 1B

Founded: 1972

Nicknames: The Saints

Ground: Saintfield High

Colours: Red and Black

Gaffer: William Hawkes

Skipper: Declan Sherrard, but he's out until Christmas now

Sharpshooter: David Morrow, but no-one has been prolific

Most Skilful: Ryan Sofley

Hard Man: Ryan Kelly

Club Comedian: Craig Bowman is always doing prank calls

Best Moment: Our win against St Pat’s was memorable

Club Man: Our chairman Andy Bishop never stops working

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