NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: ‘Let’s do it for Josh,’ says St Ives Town boss ahead of cup-final climax
PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 28 April 2017
St Ives Town are determined to lift the Southern League Challenge Cup tomorrow (Saturday) for stricken star Josh Dawkin.
The club’s leading scorer suffered a double-break of the right leg in their final Premier Division match of the season, at champions Chippenham, last weekend. He was taken to the Great Western Hospital, in Swindon, and underwent a seven-hour operation the day after the game.
But Dawkin hopes to be present at ProEdge Westwood Road when his team mates will aim to complete a fine season with silverware.
They face Hayes & Yeading, a side relegated from the Premier Division, but who they have failed to beat in two league meetings this term, in the League Challenge Cup showpiece, 3pm.
Boss Ricky Marheineke said: “Josh deserves to be playing in a big occasion like this at the end of a season in which he has been so instrumental for us.
“He is our leading scorer and has come up with some really important goals in this competition. He got two of our three in the quarter-final win at Barton Rovers and scored both when we beat Aylesbury United in the semi-final.
“We all want to win it for Josh, but we know it won’t be easy. Hayes & Yeading might have gone down, but they have shown they can match the best teams in the league on occasions and will believe they can win.
“But we managed to beat our target for the season in the league and a trophy would be the perfect way to end it.”
Dawkin suffered his horrific injury in a 42nd minute challenge with Chippenham skipper Greg Tinkle, which went unpunished by the match referee. Saints already trailed 2-0 by then.
Dawkin was initially treated by Saints physio Liam Peaks, intern Gemma Smith and club secretary Marina Howlett, who is a nurse in the intesive care unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, during a near 50-minute wait for an ambulance to arrive. Team mate Jack Bradshaw comforted Dawkin throughout and their actions earned high praise from Marheineke.
He added: “It was an emotional experience for everyone to see a great lad in such a bad way. Liam, Gemma, Marina and Jack were all absolutely brilliant.
“Josh was cracking jokes by the time he was being loaded into the ambulance - that’s the sort of lad he is - but I have to say the challenge on him was poor.”
Saints finished their debut Premier Division season in 15th place after surpassing their target of 48 points. They finished with 56.
Now they’re out to sign off in style for the second successive campaign. They finished the 2015/16 with Division One (Central) play-off glory by beating AFC Rushden & Diamonds in front of more than 1,500 fans at ProEdge Westwood Road. Another bumper turnout is expected tomorrow when Marheineke will be able to call on the services of experienced defender Lee Chaffey, who has had work commitments over the last couple of weekends.
He will also draft midfielder Eugene Libertucci into his squad following the sudden exit of Jack Higgs the day before the club’s final league game. Libertucci has only made one substitute’s appearance for the club to date.
Admission to the Southern League Challenge Cup final is £10 for adults, £6 for concession and £2 for kids.
St Ives Town have launched a fundraising drive for serious injury victim Josh Dawkin.
The wideman is self-employed and unable to during the lengthy recovery he faces from his broken leg.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/maureen-clarke