Preview: St Blazey vs Penzance

Manager Ryan Fice says his St Blazey side are in a ‘really good place’ on the eve of their eagerly-anticipated curtain-raising tie against Penzance, writes Tom Howe.

The former Callington Town assistant is gearing up for his first season in charge of the Green and Blacks, with previous incumbent Phil Lafferty having moved into a new role as head of football.

A former striker, Fice represented the likes of Exeter City, Ivybridge Town and Falmouth with distinction during his playing days. Now in the dugout, he promises an attack minded style, setting up his teams to play on the front foot with boundless pace and energy.

Their first test of the 2022-23 South West Peninsula Premier West campaign comes in the shape of a Penzance side who, on the back of a challenging season, go into a new one with fresh impetus under the joint-management of John McCallum and Adrian Ferrell.

“We are in a happy place,” said Fice, who will incidentally miss Saturday’s clash due to a three-game suspension carried over from last season. “The squad is good despite a couple of injuries. The football club is in a really good place in terms of infrastructure, too.

“We are really excited, really optimistic and really looking forward to the season ahead. We want to create a good vibe and a good place for people to come, a real good family environment. [Our opposition] will be in a better place this year than they were last year. They are going through a rebuild and have this link with Helston Athletic now.

“They are a bit of an unknown quantity but, if I’m honest, I am just worried about ourselves and making sure we do the right things, turning up with the right attitude and application. That is all you can affect. You can only affect yourselves. I am hoping that if we turn up in the right frame of mind and with the right attitude, that we can get the win we really want.

“I am hoping that everything is fine and that Brad and Andrew [Richardson and Moon – assistants] can get the job done. Let’s get the season going and hopefully have a good one. On Tuesday night the league kicked off with Callington against Liskeard. I was watching Twitter and you could feel the different energy. It’s a different ball game when it is proper league football.”

Former Plymouth Argyle, Tiverton Town, Truro City and Plymouth Parkway midfielder River Allen tops a strong list of incomings during the off-season, one that also includes striker Luke Cloke, midfielders Gino Garside and Sam Carter, central defender Lewis Russell and goalkeeper Brodie Cole.

Adding further depth to the squad is left-back Kai Foster, 17, who signed on the dotted line this week after impressing for Moon’s Ivybridge Town Development side last term.

“We have brought in Kai who is a young lad that is learning his trade,” continued Fice, in an exclusive interview with Cornwall Sports Media. “He gives the squad a bit of depth while we carry a couple of injuries and have a few lads unavailable. He is a good addition, somebody who is young and willing to learn.”

There could be some good news on the way for one of the players not currently at Fice’s disposal, with influential attacking midfielder Kyle Marks recovering nicely from a knee ligament injury that was expected to sideline him for ‘six to eight weeks’.

“I have spoken to Kyle and he is feeling better so we may be ahead of schedule with him which would be good news. I don’t want to get too carried away but hopefully that is a good sign.”

A large crowd is expected to watch St Blazey, last season’s fifth place finishers, meet a new-look Penzance on Saturday, August 6 (3.00 pm kick-off). Admission is £6 for adults, £3 for seniors, £1 for those aged 13 to 18 and free for under-13s.

Featured image: Matt Friday / Cornwall Sports Media