Burrfields striker Palmer bags TEN goals in Mid-Solent League spree – but Old Mill have big plans to build a much brighter future
Jack Palmer went goal crazy as The Old Mill’s nightmare start to life in the Mid-Solent League lurched from bad to worse to horrendous.
The Burrfields striker netted TEN goals as his side dished out a 17-2 drubbing to the Division 1 newcomers.
Old Mill had previously lost their opening three MSL matches 7-0 to Meon Milton, 8-2 to Harvest and 8-0 to Wymering.
Rather than being downhearted, though, Tom Fisher - co-owner of Old Mill along with Josh McCarthy - insists the club only formed earlier this year can flourish in time.
The pair set Old Mill up after leaving Hampshire Premier Leaguers Chamberlayne and chose to base themselves in Titchfield in a bid to appeal to players from both ends of the M27.
‘We didn’t just want to start a team, we wanted to start a club,’ said Fisher.
‘We always thought the first season would be difficult, but we’ve had a host of misfortune all at the same time.
‘Two weeks before the season started, the manager we’d lined up pulled out and 12 players went with him.
‘It was a mad scramble then to get players in. Josh and myself weren’t supposed to be playing, but I’m captain and manager this weekend!
‘We thought the package was financially viable - the club’s got some money, I’ve put some in and our main sponsors (Solent Streetworks) have been fantastic.
‘It’s been hard to get players in, people have been letting us down time and time again.
‘We had two coaches leave and they were supposed to be bringing players across.
‘Ten days before the start of the season we only had three players.
‘We’ve fielded 11 players twice, in other games we’ve only had nine or 10.’
The Mid-Solent League, due to an influx of new clubs, are operating a two-division format for the first time in 2021/22. Old Mill, placed in the top flight, are taking on well-established MSL clubs like Burrfields, Wymering and Portchester Rovers as well as the reserve teams of Hampshire Premier Leaguers Harvest and Meon Milton.
‘We played Meon in our first game,’ recalled Fisher. ‘They said ‘why are you here? You should be in Division 2’. We know - we didn’t ask to be put in Division 1.
‘It’s been difficult but we know it will get better.
‘This time next year we want to have four teams - we want a kids side, at under-8s, a second men’s team playing Sunday football and a ladies team.
‘It’s hard keeping the lads motivated; it’s not as if we’re losing by a couple of goals, we’re getting hammered.
‘Players are going into games expecting to lose, but if we’re going to lose we should lose with our heads held high.
‘I’m not giving up. I love what we’ve created so far, and I love the plans for the future. We’re going to build it so we can have more teams.
‘That’s why I’m not getting disheartened.
‘I’m planting trees, but they don’t grow quickly! Rome wasn’t built in a day.’
In addition to Palmer’s treble hat-trick (plus one) haul, Burrfields’ spree was completed with goals from Jordan Shuttleworth (3), Max Bleach (2) and Harvey Herringshaw (2).
‘We were missing six first team players through a variety of reasons,’ said Burrfields boss Brian Kirby.
‘Old Mill did have a full team with two subs but I understand they too were missing some players.
‘They are a new team and no-one likes to see that type of scoreline. I did offer some words of support and encouragement after the game to their manager and hopefully they will stick at it.
‘I did mention that we too suffered some humiliating defeats when I first took over - losing our first three league games 12-1, 14-2 and 4-0.
‘It takes time to adjust to the demands of our competitive league and I wish Old Mill all my very best.’