The Strikers’ super start to the season
BY ALEX TIGANI
It is official.
The Singleton Strikers have recorded their most successful start to a season since entering the Northern League One competition in 1992.
What makes their 4-0-1 winning record extraordinary is the fact that their first five clashes have all been away due to the Singleton cricket finals occupying Howe Park.
To put this in perspective, the Strikers only recorded starts of 1-1-1 in 1992 and 2020 when bound for their previous two grand final victories.
Furthermore, the line-up had only recorded more than six wins in a season once between the years of 2012 and 2019. There’s every chance they will reach this figure before the end of autumn, if not latter this month.
A large contingent of the Upper Hunter’s football fraternity travelled to Cessnock in Round 1 to see the Strikers hold off a fast-finishing Hornets’ line-up 2-1.
Goal-keeper Corey Cleaver strung together two clean sheets with hard fought wins against Thornton (2-0) and Kahibah (1-0).
The line-up then returned from the bye to pull off an annihilating 9-1 win against Wallsend at the Gardens.
Though Singleton’s winning streak came to an end on Saturday, suffering a 4-0 defeat to Belmont Swansea in wet conditions, even second year first grade coach Mick Jarvis found a positive.
“When we went into the rooms, there were no players blaming referees or anything, they were all down on themselves and showed great maturity,” Jarvis told The Hunter River Times.
Earlier in the day, a late Will Holz goal was enough for reserve grade to settle for a 1-1 draw against the powerhouse who won grand finals across both grades in 2022.
All roads now lead to Singleton this evening in what will be the club’s first match at Howe Park in 611 days. They will play host to West Wallsend.
The Strikers’ reserve grade line-up will kick off at 5:20pm before a large crowd is expected to see their first grade side secure a home win from 7:20pm.
Captain Hayden Nicol will run out for his 100th club game.