The children are the future

The swelling ranks of Denaby Juniors, who will form six teams for the new football season.
The swelling ranks of Denaby Juniors, who will form six teams for the new football season.

THE return of a team bearing the name Denaby United has offered a boost to football in the village.

But the renaissance of the sport in Denaby Main truly began in 2009 with the formation of Denaby Juniors.

In less than two years the club has formed six separate teams and began redevelopment work of the Tickhill Square ground.

And the growth of the young club shows no sign of slowing, suggesting a very bright footballing future in a village that took a long time to recover from losing its main team.

Next season the club will expand its number from five to six teams as well as beginning a development school for under sixes to ensure a stream of talent is ready to make the step up to competitive football.

The U8s side plying its trade in the Barnsley Millennium League won their division last season and will be looking for more success as they make the step up to U9s.

The rest of the club is based in the Doncaster and District Junior League, ranging from U7s-U10s next term.

Despite turning a growing group of youngsters into six teams inside two years, officials at the club are not easing their ambitions just yet.

Steve Phillips said: “Our main aim is to have teams right through from under 7s to a senior side.

“That might be a natural progression with the kids we’ve already got which would take a while but that doesn’t concern us.

“And now we’re setting up the development school we’ll have kids almost from toddler age.

“Dave Hamshaw is our main coach and he’s done a wonderful job in developing these teams.

“We’d like to have a girls team sooner rather than later as well.”

The redevelopment of Tickhill Square took a major step forward this week when construction of a new stand began.

The old facilities at Denaby United’s former home were demolished several years ago after falling into disrepair.

But work to restore the ground to its former glory has been on-going since Denaby Juniors became the main users.

Changing and kitchen facilities have been added but the major step was taken when construction of a stand began.

Phillips said: “I’ve always wanted to see a proper stand back up there, it just didn’t seem right without one.

“We’d had a quote which was way out of our price range but a local company came forward and offered us a great deal.

“On the field progress has been brilliant and we’re matching it off the field as well.”

The success over the past two years has seen the club awarded with the Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award.

Phillips said: “We’re absolutely over the moon with it because it’s recognition for all the hard work that’s been put in.

“It has been a community effort because parents have really got on board and so have sponsors from local companies.

“It’s really nice we’ve been recognised.”

Recognition has also been achieved by a number of individual players at the club who have been scouted by several professional clubs.

Kian Oakley and Thomas Mahan were invited for trials by Rotherham United while Taylor Bingham, AJ Nota, Cameron Till and Liam Ely all took part in sessions with Leeds United.

And Denaby Juniors Under 9s star Deacon Mee has already been snapped up by Barnsley.

Denaby lad Mee was spotted by scouts from professional clubs while turning out for Denaby Juniors at a summer tournament at Balby Carr Sports College last year.

He was invited by four clubs to take part in trials and certainly impressed Barnsley who offered him a deal to capture his services.

Phillips said: “We’re absolutely delighted for Deacon because he’s a cracking lad and a great footballer.

“Hopefully he’s just the beginning of what we can do here.

“He’s wished us all the best for next season and we send the same good wishes to him.

Phillips is hoping to develop a primary schools football tournament for the Denaby, Conisbrough and Mexborough area, similar to the Totty Cup.

He said: “We’d like to call it the Miners’ Cup to recognise the history of the area.

“A lot of our kids are spread around the schools so it would be interesting to see them coming up against each other.”

Anyone interested in playing for, or helping, the club should contact coach Dave Hamshaw.