Danny Grainger’s second spell as manager gets underway on Thursday when his evolving squad takes to the field at Whitehaven for the annual Shaun Hocking Memorial Trophy fixture (7.30pm).
With the England cricket team in the midst of a test series and Wimbledon yet to get underway, it is the earliest ever start to a pre-season campaign with Reds facing their first competitive run-out after four training sessions.
The Northern Premier League campaign doesn’t start until mid-August, as usual, but the EFL and SPFL start much earlier this season and English non-league clubs have to follow suit to get matches in against higher-ranked opposition.
Reds will take a near full squad to The County Ground (CA28 9DD) for the curtain raiser including their new recruits, a few trialists and members of the Development Squad with all players getting their first minutes of the summer in game conditions.
Several members of the squad are nursing minor injuries but the players on duty will get, at least, forty five minutes against the West Lancashire League Premier Division outfit.
This will be the twelfth time Whitehaven have hosted Reds in the charity match and, although we lost the inaugural fixture in 2011, we have won nine and drawn one of the ten games since. Last year, it finished 5-1 in Workington’s favour with Charlie Bowman (2), Robbie Hebson, Conor Tinnion and Thomas Houghton sharing the goals.
Shaun Hocking was an active member of the Workington Reds Supporters’ Association back in the seventies and later became a popular chairman of the Copeland club. Sadly, Shaun passed away twelve years ago and the annual fixture has been played in his memory since with all proceeds going to British Polio.
The match can be followed on the Live Scoreboard.
A HUGE Whitehaven AFC thanks to @ArmathwaiteSpa for the donation of a voucher worth a whopping £210 which will be the first prize in our raffle for the Shaun Hocking Match vs @WorkingtonAFC this Thursday!!— Whitehaven AFC (@whitehavenafc) June 21, 2022
The voucher is for a Half Day Spa experience for 2 people! pic.twitter.com/OXQBulu2dR