President Leeke has a foot in both camps for big clash
IN the battle of the bragging rights tomorrow, Brian Leeke cannot lose.
Apperley host Charlton Kings in the Gloucestershire Division – and it just so happens that Leeke is president of both clubs.
An Apperley man at heart, Leeke helped Whitefriars cricket club get off the ground, and has maintained involvement through the entire metamorphosis from Ryeworth, to Whitefriars and Charlton Kings, and now to the simple moniker of Charlton Kings.
Charlton Kings triumphed in both league clashes two seasons ago, the last time the closely-linked sides faced each other in competitive action.
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An annual friendly fixture sustains close ties between the clubs, but tomorrow the importance of league points will make for an exciting contest.
Explaining his dual role, Leeke said: "Obviously Apperley is my number one team, there's no doubt about that.
"I would love them to win at the weekend, but I won't be crying too hard into my beer if it's Charlton Kings that win.
"It's a great occasion usually and it's really pleasing to see two clubs that are thriving and going from strength to strength.
"When Whitefriars Catholic school set up a side for old boys, I helped them with coaching and structure, and things just moved on from there.
"It became Ryeworth Cricket Club, then Whitefriars and Charlton Kings, and now Charlton Kings.
"And I've just always helped them out really, and it's been fantastic to see them develop into a very strong club."
Charlton Kings captain Neal Mitchell hopes his charges can hang on to that long-standing superiority against a team that is almost a sister side.
John Wilkinson steps up from the second XI, while Seb Gibson replaces Steve Brackley in the seam attack.
Mitchell hopes Charlton Kings can establish themselves as far more than a side simply battling to avoid relegation this term.
After last week's clash with Bourton Vale fell foul of the weather, Mitchell is hoping for better luck this time around.
He said: "The first aim is to avoid relegation again, that's clear.
"But we spoke at the start of the season about ensuring we firstly win more games than we did last season, and then aim to win more games than we lose in this campaign as a whole.
"If we can achieve both of those goals then we will do a little bit more than just avoid relegation, and that would be a good starting point.
"We'll have to fight hard to make that happen, but we're up for that challenge.
"It's always great taking on Apperley, there's a lot of players from both teams that talk regularly so we know a lot about them as a side.
"We know that we'll have to be on our game in order to be competitive.
"Brian's first club is Apperley, but he's been a massive help to Charlton Kings over a sustained period of time, and he's been integral in helping us to where we are now."