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Hucknall’s loss as young star Ben takes flight

Ben Jones recieves his player of the year award from new skipper Dave Leak.
Ben Jones recieves his player of the year award from new skipper Dave Leak.

Hucknall Town manager Andy Graves admitted the club would miss highly promising young defender Ben Jones next season.

Jones picked up both the first team Players’ Player of the Year and the Supporters’ Player of the Year awards at the club’s annual presentation night, but is now about to embark on a new career with the RAF.

Award winners at Hucknall Town FC's annual presentation night.

Award winners at Hucknall Town FC's annual presentation night.

“Ben has done really well for us,” said Graves. “He started out in our youth team, played U19s and then reserves, breaking into the first team towards the end of the season before last.

“Last season he was then staking a claim for a place at right back or centre half all season and did really well, so he deserves his awards.

“Now we’ll have to wait and see what happens, but he is about to begin his 10 weeks intensive RAF training so will miss all pre-season.

“Then it will just be a case of if and when he gets any weekend leave, which wouldn’t be until the end of September.

Injured Joe Atkinson is given his committee player of the year award by club chairman Bob Scotney.

Injured Joe Atkinson is given his committee player of the year award by club chairman Bob Scotney.

“So it will be a bit awkward as I hope to have our defence established by then. If he is available he is available and we’ll take it from there.

“Our loss is the RAF’s gain and I am sure he will get into their team.”

Of the other awards, first team Manager’s Player of the Year went to Jordan Phillips, Committee Player of the Year to Joe Atkinson, Reserves Players’ Player of the Year was won by Montell Gatland and Reserves Manager’s Player of the Year by Ethan Greenidge.

The Central Midlands League annual meeting on Monday failed to see the South Division sides fully confirmed, which was frustrating for Hucknall.

Graves said it seemed there would be 13 sides joined by Ashland Rovers and Underwood.

But with appeals from clubs possibly set to delay confirmation, it could end up as late as 23rd July when the CML have their pre-season meeting before fixtures could be confirmed.

Graves said: “It is very frustrating and we know appeals could delay things even more. But we will still end up a club light at the moment.”

Graves continues to chase new players and has an experienced centre half, a goalkeeper, a striker and a left back on his shopping list.