Following on from our tribute to Uncle Ken, this article includes what may have been one of Ken’s final football appearances with the supporters team.
SOBS In Traction
A Wivenhoe SOBS team face the camera in this rather battered photo that was passed to us. Picture are (L-R) Steve Blyth, Mark Anderson, Maz Brook, Mike Boyle, Roger Riley and Uncle Ken Ballard.
The SOBS team appeared under various guises over the course of the years and the exploits of this particular line up was featured in issue 30 of the Wivenhoe Fanzine “Look For Floodlights”, reproduced below.
Trophy won by Steve Dowman’s first team
Credit Mark Anderson for this article
The Dragons reserve side, managed by Malcolm Price and Nick Allston reached the inaugural Eastern Counties League Reserve Cup Final in 2005-06. They had disposed of Halstead Town (3-0) in the semi-final, having beaten Walsham-le-Willows 4-0 in the previous round. In the initial group stages of the competition they had finished as runners-up to Tiptree United. The Final attracted an attendance of 148, of which the vast majority were Wivenhoe supporters. An entertaining game saw Harwich defeated by 2-1, with goals from Jamie Clarke and a superb half volley from the edge of the penalty box from Jerome Boyce. In a superb all round team performance Wayne Woods was unlucky not to add to his 27 goals that season and Andreas Proske was always a threat down the left wing.
The Wivenhoe squad was :- Darren Moore, Craig Hallas, Martin Reames, Jack Sibbons, Robbie Campbell, Danny Draper, Jon Peat Jerome Boyce, Jamie Clark, Wayne Woods, Andreas Proske, Ian Newman, Johnny Murrells, James Fisher, Josh Dalziel, Danny Allston, Danny Price & Adam Bethell.
Members of Wivenhoe Town’s 1978/79 Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division Championship winning side photographed at Broad Lane in February 1999. Pictured above (left to right) are Neil Milburn (who made 386 First Team appearances for the Dragons and scored 30 goals), goalkeeper Russell Milburn (122 appearances), Ian Meadows (105 app, 38 goals), Doug Mac Donald (71 app, 23 goals), Steve Sharman (164 app, 61 goals), and Chris Dines (455 app, 77 goals). All six will be featured in the ongoing A to Z of Essex Senior League Dragons series elsewhere on this site.
With 536 appearances and 102 goals to his credit “Bainer” was a massive crowd favourite during his three spells with the Dragons. As a 16 year old he had a brief flirtation with a Professional club by playing a handful of matches for Colchester United’s Youth Team under Brian Garvey. Work commitments put paid to regular Saturday football and it was only after a change of job that Keith was able to play for Lawford Lads in the Colchester & East Essex League and for Prettygate on Sunday mornings.
It was as an 18 year old that Wivenhoe first signed him when they were competing in the Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division and he made his first team debut on 30th October 1976 in an away fixture at West End United. He went on to become an ever present in the Dragons line up for the next twelve months, scoring his first goal on 20th November 1976 in a 5-1 victory over Shalford Rovers. His best goalscoring feat in a Wivenhoe shirt came on 4th February 1978 when he netted four times in a 5-1 win over Parkeston Railway. That match also marked the beginning of his longest unbroken run in the first team as he made a total of 94 consecutive appearances between that date and 17th May 1981. During that time he gained an Essex & Suffolk Border League Premier Division Championship medal in 1978/79, and then helped the Dragons to the Runners-up spot in the Essex Senior League the following season. “Bainer” also had the honour of scoring Wivenhoe’s first goal as a Senior club in August 1979 in a 2-0 victory over Brentwood at Broad Lane.
Blessed with electric pace Keith played on both wings, in midfield and as a centre forward before his first spell with the club came to an end in 1983 when he left to link up with Tiptree United. A back injury put him out of the game for two and a half years and it was not until the summer of 1986 that he started training again with former Dragons team mate Neil Partner over at Stanway. It was in November 1986 that he was re-signed by Manager Mick Loughton and he continued to operate in a familiar midfield role until being moved to the right back position for the 1987/88 campaign by Boss Geoff Bennett. “Bainer” adapted and was outstanding in our Isthmian League Division Two North Championship and Essex Senior Trophy “Double” winning side and was voted “Player Of The Year” by the supporters and Club Officials alike. Returning once again to a wide midfield role, his surging runs down the right resulted in some spectacular solo goals before departing for a season over at Sudbury Town in 1991/92.
Returning again in July 1992 “Bainer” made 56 appearances during the course of the 1992/93 campaign and played in his last ever game for the club in a tension filled 0-0 draw at Yeading which ensured the Dragons escaped relegation from the Isthmian League Premier Division on the very last day of the season. Leaving Broad Lane at the age of 35 in May 1993 Keith went on to have a successful time with Heybridge Swifts, eventually becoming captain and ending his career playing at centre half.
Chairman Dave Whymark presents Keith Bain with an Award to mark his 400th appearance.
Welcome to ‘Memories of a Dragon’, an independent site set up by two dragons followers dedicated to exploring the history of Wivenhoe Town Football Club, through viewing historical articles to hearing the memorable and humorous thoughts of current and former followers, committee members and playing staff.
The Club is steeped in history with a host of well recognised names involved over the years, be it on and off the field of play. On top of this we have had many volunteers whom have given their all to help ensure this club has not only survived but provided a place for the community to visit and use over the years. It is these folk who gave their all that do not often get recognised, so we wish to not only look at the famous faces, but the influential lesser known ones and pay tribute to them as well.
Do you have memories of a visit to the Dragons home or a game that stands out in your mind?
Are you a supporter of an opposition who has memories of facing the Dragons?
Are you an ex-player or manager who would like to lend your thoughts of your time at the ‘hoe’?
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Do you have fond memories of a individual involved that you would like to pay tribute too?
Please feel free to contact us if you would like to submit an article or donate any photographs or press articles that you may have and are willing to share with us. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with all donations to the site gratefully received.
Please explore the site and feel free to make a comment to any of the posts you read (please note we reserve the right to edit or remove comments). We will aim to update the site with a new article every two weeks or so. All contributions will be welcome.