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Sikh Hunters are on a high after winning the West Midlands Regional League Division Two title

By Jamie Brassington | Grassroots | Published:

Sikh Hunters will be 'underdogs' going into Division One despite winning promotion and the league title, boss Matty Lovatt has declared.

Hunters enjoyed an outstanding season, losing only once in League Two, on their way to their first piece of silverware in 30 years.

Their main goal will be to cement their place in the league in what will be Hunters' first time playing at that level.

Lovatt said: "Success this year is without a doubt down to the discipline of my squad.

"Not just on field but off it where they have maintained a high quality at training and put in extra hours where required.

"I also want to mention Shaun my goalkeeping coach who's worked wonders with Ben Holden ensuring we have the tightest defence in league.

"It is the first time in the club's history that it will have played at that level so we'll be huge underdogs amongst some giant local teams.

"I've watched the division a lot this year and it's a good, tough league. We'll be looking to put ourselves in the mix, make a good account of ourselves and consolidate in the league, so we have a better idea of what's needed for a run at it the season after."

Hunters lifted the trophy during their last game of the season on Wednesday where they drew 2-2 away to Gornal Colts.

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But they already sealed the league title on April 28 with two games to go where they beat Ludlow 5-1.

Hunters rounded off the campaign with the best goal difference on 79 and being unbeaten at home.

Their goal difference was helped by big victories - their highest scoring game was 9-0 against AFC Bridgnorth Development.

Lovatt said: "We are very attacking! Fast,dynamic and relentless. I think the term is 'Heavy Metal' football."

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Although Hunters were playing in step 12 of the football pyramid last year, they said their support was fantastic.

"The support we've received this year has been noting less than remarkable, we've really captured the imagination of Sikh Hunters fans of old and new," said Lovatt.

"We've sold out coach trips to away fixtures and averaged between 50 to 100 fans on the now famous 'Hunters Hill'.

"It sounds a cliché but by the fans being vocal, it really does spur my men on.

"I have got to give a shout out to the likes of Bal, Saki, Raushan, Kyran, Arjun, Gav, Rakey, Nath and 'Bracky's mates' who've hardly missed any fixtures this year."

Hunters considers themselves to be one of the oldest in Walsall having been established in 1964.

They like to celebrate their multi-cultural heritage, with their social media officer Aaron Muffett saying: "We have a unique background and everybody comes together to perform and form a great team.

"As you can tell from our name we are quite multi-cultural."

Lovatt said: "Sikh Hunters Football Club have been going for over 50 years now, many people in Walsall know of the club from their achievements in Sunday football. Now we are developing a club for the all the community that is established and accomplished on the non-league stage on Saturdays."

Lovatt was appointed head coach last year during the start of the 2016/17 campaign

It was the first time he made managed a team that plays in a Saturday league, having previously coached Walsall Casuals in a Sunday league.

He has now overseen the first team for two seasons.

Muffett said Lovatt was able to learn 'the good and the bad' in his first season, what worked and what didn't, and take that into the last campaign which earned Hunters their first trophy since 1988.

Lovatt has credited the club's committee for backing changes that he has made.

"Yes, (I have made) quite a few actually, " he said.

"But mainly I would pinpoint how we have travelled to away fixtures. The committee have been fantastically supportive in backing my decision to hire coaches to the longer away fixtures which helps with organisation and focus on the day.

"Again I'd also have to say our discipline and the methods in which we've added to ensure that we keep ourselves in check on the pitch. I suppose it would be unfair not to mention our new signings who joined in the summer also.

"Ben Lawley, Hinesh Patel and Dan Aldred have all played a huge part in an upturn in our results."

Hunters have around 30 players signed up to the first team. But they have a number of teams spanning across age groups going down to under-7s.

Lovatt said Hunters was a community club that provided a platform for local people to play football.

He said: "We are just like any other well run non-league football club. We provide a platform for local lads to play football and we have some good people volunteering at the club which makes for a great family atmosphere at the club.

"Everyone at the club works together to achieve the targets set out which has been affirmed by our success this year."

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Wolves Reporter - @JamieB_Star

Sports reporter, primarily covering Wolves. Call me on 01902319464 or email jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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